If you’re reading this blog post chances are you may also be on my free 10 day newsletter and on several other free newsletters as well from other bloggers where each person (myself included) are competing for your attention.
Unfortunately I’ve observed that statistically with free information your chances of reading that information (let alone taking action) are much lower. Let me explain…
Why You Are More Likely To Do Nothing When Learning For “Free”:
On my blog I’ve showed you some of the top tips that allowed me to make tens of thousands of dollars with Amazon’s affiliate program, a real life example of a website I sold in a deal worth six figures, I created a paid information product teaching people how to get better at Halo and earned several thousand dollars doing it (just to prove you can make money selling information about anything), I documented a website I bought for $4,000 that I paid off and earned an extra $3,000 in profit with in under 12 months all without being responsible for it’s content creation. There are plenty of other ways I’ve made money (some shared on this blog and others not). However, even after sharing all of that information I know that the vast majority of people that sign up for the free newsletter on this blog will do absolutely nothing with the information I’ve provided. Sure there are more successful people out there (and I know there always will be), but for a single person business I generate a healthy six figures so I know it’s not the usefulness of the content that prevents people from taking action.
I believe there are several contributing factors. For starters, because the information I provide is free people don’t see it as valuable. (Back in the early 90’s domain names were free to register so many people didn’t see their value either). I believe another more primary reason for inaction is that it’s too easy to quit. There’s no real commitment and any money that is invested in an internet business at the start is generally under a few hundred dollars so the cost to quit is so low. Whereas with a “real business” you might be laying out thousands or tens of thousands of dollars in franchise fees, equipment costs, leasing space etc. and you can’t afford to just give up.
Less than 25% of the people who take my free 10 day course stop reading by day 5:
As you can see from my numbers that by Day 5 (message 5) only half of my subscribers are opening my emails and roughly half of those that open the email actually click the link to view the lesson. After seeing this fall off it’s not that much of a stretch to assume that the sub section of people that actually do click to view the lesson will not all completely read the entire lesson or watch the accompanying video either. (I also see this engagement drop off in my other email follow up sequences in other niches as well – so it’s not just the subject matter or me)
One of the challenges in having a 10 day free course is that it’s asking a lot from readers to commit to opening their email every day, reading a lesson and sometimes watching an accompanying video. I wish people that were serious about making money from websites would go through all of the lessons I created because frankly I failed a ton when I got started and in my free course I teach based on my real life failures and successes. Sure I could reduce the number of lessons I provide, shorten the length or do one of many other things, but again the barrier to sign up for the free newsletter is very low (it’s free after all). Perhaps the solution might be to simply charge for the information?
Here’s What A Multi Million Dollar Personal Finance Business Says About Why They Charge For Information
A real life example of a huge business based on information marketing and teaching is Dave Ramsey. If you haven’t heard of him, he’s basically a personal finance guru that says cut up your credit cards and pay with cash or debit because people naturally spend more money while using credit cards. Not saying I agree or disagree with his position, but he also has some premium products that he sells and his focus is on all about paying down debt yada yada yada. Here’s what he says about why he charges for information (emphasis added by me):
Why Do You Charge?
First, our products are an investment that is going to positively impact you and your family for years to come. Think of it this way: achieving financial peace is like starting a new business. In the beginning, an investment is required (like a subscription to the TMMO website, purchasing a Financial Peace University course, or paying for counseling). You have to make an investment up front, but the returns will be immeasurable!
We also feel that our products and services are valuable. If we offer them for free, it diminishes their value and people will be less apt to stick with the programs and principles. However, if it is something people have invested in, they usually feel more ownership of it and will be less likely to drop out of the financial plans they outlined.
Secondly, our company is a for-profit balance of business and ministry with many employees to support. We could not survive in our goal to change lives if we did not charge for our services.
Thirdly, we believe in our products, in Dave and his philosophies, and our company. Therefore, as a business, as with any business, we have to charge for our services so we can continue running a business that we and millions of others believe in.
The point that leaps out to me is this one:
“If we offer them for free, it diminishes their value and people will be less apt to stick with the programs and principles.”
Now the other obvious point is that he’s running a business and businesses like to make money by having products that they can sell, but wouldn’t you agree that by offering something for free it diminishes it’s value?
How many unopened free PDF’s from random marketing blogs do you have stored on your computer? I have dozens.
Another Example: A while ago Steam was offering the game Portal for free. I loved Portal 2 on the Xbox, so I created my Steam account and downloaded the game Portal for free and to this day I haven’t even installed it. (We all do this)
Perhaps I can even coin the term to describe this natural behavior. I shall call it Free Fatigue.
We all suffer from free fatigue.
Is Charging For Information Really The Solution?
Instead of doing a free class through my blog’s newsletter I could shift my focus towards something paid instead. Sure less people will be reached, but the people that do buy are much more likely to take some action (well at least Dave Ramsey thinks so).
I remember reading a blogger years ago (back before I had any measurable success) that was making several thousand dollars per month from websites and he recognized that the information he learned from years of trial and error was worth far more than simply publishing it for free so he shut down his blog and opened a paid membership site instead. Now his information reaches less people because he’s charging for access, but now there is an attached dollar value to access that information and as such the people that join up are more likely to do something with that information.
But again I ask – is that really the solution?
People have busy lives, priorities and tons of other distractions going on. If using another example – people are paying $60 for a video game to play just for fun (no “work” involved) and roughly half of them are not even completing it then I certainly can’t expect that more than half of the people subscribed to my newsletter will read the free lessons I’ve created let alone take action with them. Knowing that it’s human nature to give up or get distracted with something else is disappointing, but it does allow me to just focus my attention on the people that do take action, sending me emails about the first few dollars they’ve made or that they’ve started making several thousand dollars per month from what I’ve shared with them.
I’ll Keep Sharing Actionable Tips – You Can Decide What To Do With Them
When I first set out to write this article I thought about how it was frustrating that people wouldn’t read (or more importantly – employ) information I’ve shared via my newsletter or on my blog. But over the course of writing this for several hours and stepping away for days at a time to think about it, my attitude has shifted and this how I feel now:
“No one can force you to build a business – it’s up to you to decide how you spend your free time.” Click To Tweet This
My hope is that you’ll find the information I share on my blog useful in your quest to build your own job replacing income stream online, but I can’t force you to do anything.
See you in the comments