How Your “Free Products” Are Driving Away Customers

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Hello. My name is Clay Collins and welcome to today’s episode of The Marketing Show. I have something super important lined up for you and something that is going to clarify some questions that you’ve been having for a very long time. So, I want to talk about the two problems that people have when giving stuff away. The two major problems and the two major issues that come up when you just hand something to someone else who might be a customer.

And the two problems are the false positive and the false negative. So, a false positive happens when you give a free product away to a prospective customer and the act of giving that product away makes the prospective customer believe falsely that they can accomplish what they need to accomplish with your free product alone. So, in this case of the false positive, you give something away, the person receiving it says, “I don’t need to buy your entire product because your free product is enough to get me where I want to go.”

And that is a false assumption, right? The other thing that can occur is that you can have a false negative, right? So, you give something away and the person who receives that free product incorrectly believes that you because you have cluttered up your free product with so much information, they start throwing up their hands and they say, “I can never get this done. I can’t even get through the free product that they gave me.” Right?

So, if you’re giving… if you sell a course on cooking and you give away a free product on how to cook a specialty kind of appetizer and they go through and they’re like, “I don’t have a crème brûlée torch and I don’t have this ingredient, that ingredient.” You create a false negative because the person who receives the product believes that they can’t actually do what they want to do. And so, if your free thing is so confusing, why would they ever buy the full course, because the full course is also going to be similarly difficult.

So, the solution with false positives is really to never ever, ever, ever, ever give steps to the final destination because, if you give steps to the final destination, even if they are summary level steps, even if those steps lack the necessary detail to actually getting someone to that final destination, the reader will usually believe that they can get there by knowing the steps. But knowing the steps alone does not get you to your destination.

For example, if I was telling someone how to build an online business, I would say, first, get a website then put up an offer then get traffic and then get a conversion mechanism and then buy more traffic, right? So, it could be some version of that. But if someone is very new to online business, they might say, “Okay, okay, okay. All right, I see what all the steps are. I don’t need your product anymore because you just gave me the steps.” But the truth is, if you just have those steps, you will very likely fail. Same with whatever you’re selling.

If you give steps, newbies will often infer that they can get to the destination with those steps alone when there’s a lot more to it than just knowing the steps. So, don’t give steps. Also, tell them that your product is incomplete… that the free thing you’re giving away will not by itself get them to their destination, right? So, if you have a course again on cooking, you might show someone how to easily and simply cook a gourmet appetizer but you’re not showing them how to make an entire gourmet meal. You’re just showing them how to do the appetizer.

And you might want to say something in that free product that goes like this: “I know that you might be excited by going through this material and seeing that you, too, can make gourmet appetizer. But I don’t want you to be misled. Some people might read this and think that they can take an entire meal with this information but I feel like it’s my moral obligation to tell you that, if you go and use this information, try and make a gourmet meal, you could embarrass yourself. You could waste a lot of money on ingredients and incorrectly prepare them because you need a lot more than this free thing that I’ve given you to make the entire meal, right?”

So, let them know that it’s incomplete. Finally, you want to give an in-depth solution to only part of the problem. You never want to tackle the entire problem in a free report or any kind of free information. So, now that I’ve talked about how to overcome the problem of the false…

…positive, let’s talk about how to overcome the false negative. Well, one solution to overcome the false negative which is, again, situations where people get the free material, and it’s so damn complicated and you give them so much to do and you give them so much to read that they decide that they don’t even want to buy the full thing because the free thing is already too complicated and it’s already going to take them months to get through.

So, you want to simplify the solution and you want to give them an easy and elegant solution to only part of the problem. Finally, in overcoming the problem of the false negative, you want to demonstrate that the difficult task that they are looking to accomplish and they probably believe that they really can’t accomplish– whether it’s losing weight, making more money, having improved health, having better relationships or whatever product you sell and whatever solution you are selling.

You want to demonstrate that whatever they believed was difficult can be simplified in a manner that will ultimately make it easier to achieve. Anyway, my name is Clay Collins. I am so grateful that you watch The Marketing Show and I’ll see you tomorrow.

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  • I love your vidoes man. In the email, you should just say something like “dude, here’s the link, I’ll see you there” because it’s THAT good. 

    You’ve got so much enthusiasm and practical knowledge about how to make this stuff work. 

    Keep up the great work.

  • You’ve got a great formula here Clay. Nicely done. I understand the need to balance expectations and how that attracts customers. What I don’t yet understand is how to know whether the product will even have a market. What is the difference between a dud that you should dump and a product that just lacks exposure?

    • You’re in The Marketing Program, right?  I’d really encourage you to call during this week’s mentorship call so we can talk about that as it applies to your marketing.  There’s just not enough room here :-).

  • Excellent stuff Clay! I never really thought about the free report/whitepaper strategy, but this approach makes a lot of sense! Thanks for sharing it!

  • Marcos

    Thanks for that video!  I am creating a products today, so I’ll integrate that into my product creation.

    By the way, doing une Crème brulée is one of the easiest thing to cook.  Pretty close to the jello level.  I am always amazed why it is so expensive at restaurants.

  • Another great video Clay. I see some clear ways to improve what I’m doing.

    BTW, what’s the score in the Gary V challenge.

  • Mona

    Great stuff Clay. Its really generous of you to share all of this information for free! Look forward to reading watching more of these insights.