FREE CONTENT VS PAID CONTENT AND HOW TO SELL TO AN AUDIENCEMay 06, 2018
One of the most practical things you can do is move to a model where you are selling some type of exclusive content or product, but many people are challenged by this because they don't know how to justify it.
Before we cover that here are some resources that will help you if you decide to move forward with selling directly to your audience. These are affiliate links that help support the blog and some of them offer a discounted rate.
RESOURCES FOR SELLING ONLINE:
- Setting Up a Coaching or Coaching Business- KAJABI
- Email Marketing - CONVERT KIT
- Setting Up Landing Pages and Lead Magnets - LEADPAGES
- Selling Online Courses - TEACHABLE
- Fan Funding From Your Audience - PATREON
- Building Your Own Website - BLUEHOST
For many entrepreneurs and coaches or even influencers, there is a constant struggle when it comes to putting content behind a paywall. While building your audience and influence, being accessible and creating no barriers between you and the community you are building is important, but in the long term, you may need to monetize your audience or at least a portion of your audience directly.
This is difficult to navigate because of the abundance of free content on the internet, and how saturated things like online courses have become over the years. Or in the case of entertainment, with so much high-quality content available for free, how do you justify a payment to the end consumer?
HOW TO DIFFERENTIATE VALUE
What you have to understand is there are some people who simply want to pay you for your work... I know this is a strange concept but hear me out. When you make something of quality, those who can afford it without sacrifice want to invest in your success because of the value you've given them.
There are also those who would be willing to pay just to have more access to you and feel special and like they are part of the story or part of an elite club. They are paying for that feeling more than what they actually are being delivered at the end of the day. We pay for the feeling of belonging or status all the time, by associating ourselves with what phone we buy, the car we drive, or what watch we wear or what purse we carry.
Your brand is no different. There are people who want to be on your team. Let them.
The important thing is to create some differentiating factor between paid and free content. Let's use 1 on 1 Coaching as a simple example.
Why hire a coach when you can learn for free on the internet?
- Nobody is explaining it a way that is easy for me to follow, I don't get it
- The information is too broad and general and doesn't apply to my specific use case
- There are questions I want to ask and get a real answer on
- Because I don't want people taking my ideas I'm afraid to comment publicly on this
- What I really need is a sounding board for what I'm considering
- Even with the information, I want to hear directly from someone who has done it
- Learning on my own just doesn't make me feel confident I understand the material
These are just some of the reasons people hire coaches or go to workshops or join mastermind groups. There is a vulnerability in doing everything by yourself in isolation.
WHAT ABOUT FOR ENTERTAINMENt INSTEAD OF EDUCATION
For entertainers access, and exclusivity or even scarcity are what will trigger people to accept a paywall. The good news is people are used to paying for entertainment at some level. Entertainment is about the experience, so as long as you make the experience different enough, people may be willing to engage if only out of curiosity.
A practical example is behind the scenes, or being part of an exclusive live stream even or an in-person event. These experiences for some people are enough to pay for.
THERE WILL JUST BE PEOPLE WHO ONLY WANT FREE STUFF
There are going to be those who insist on never paying for anything ever, and that is okay. They have their reasons. Whether it is a defiant stance on their part or just that they are financially unable, that is okay. Those people just won't have access to what you are offering in exchange for payment, and they will have to accept that, and so will you.
Part of the reason it is important to grow your audience and build a relationship with them is that you can only reasonably expect 1-4% of those people to ever convert to a transaction, even a modest one.
My thesis regarding this has always been the raw baseline number of 1,000. If you can get in the span of a year or so, 1,000 people to do a transaction with you even once, you have the foundation of minimal viable audience.
Imagine that you get 1,000 people who are willing to do $100 in business with you over the course of a year. That is certainly worthwhile and depending on how you go about it you may find it's not that challenging, you may have to build up that group over a longer period of time, but as long as they have bought from you at some point, they are more likely to buy from you again, than someone who has never done business with you.
YOU'RE WORRIED ABOUT THE WRONG THINGS
The reason you may be hesitating to sell is you don't want to be called a sellout and you're worried nobody will buy from you and you wasted your time. Creating something to sell means the possibility to sell exist. If you don't create the opportunity that possibility isn't there at all. As for worrying about being called a sellout, you will face this anyway, you may as well make money.
Instead, shift your focus to making sure that the thing you deliver on is satisfying to your audience and that they feel good about spending money with you.