Build my Business by Offering Free Stuff? Why?

    May 21, 2003

Do you want a Web site that generates more business?That’s what most of us want. Once I decided to create and manage my own Web site, I began studying how to build a site that would reach out and touch potential clients.

As I immersed myself in cyber-information, one phrase kept popping up: “give free stuff.” At first, this turned me off. Giving something free sounded like a gimmick. Then I realized that the information I used to learn HTML, Web architecture, and marketing techniques was almost all free: tutorials, graphics, site analyzers, graphics crunchers, message boards, etc.

Having time but no money, I began searching for a give-away…something for my visitors. Finally, I invented Webgrammar, a woman willing to encourage people with problems in grammar, spelling, punctuation, capitalization, and usage. Further, she would provide links to sites and articles helpful to Web designers, students, educators, and writers.

My Internet business began taking off once I created Webgrammar’s Place. But I had more to learn. I kept hearing from respected Internet leaders that being part of a vibrant Internet community is as important as offering something free. Networking. This is a valuable marketing tool that far too many people unknowingly dismiss.

And there’s even more: if you offer a quality product or service, prove it. Reveal that yours is a businesssite, especially the first page first screen. Clearly explain your business. Describe how you can help potential clients with their problems…their challenges. Let them know you understand their perspectives. I know, I know…it’s not easy!

Tie in your free offerings as partof your product or service. Please don’t plaster free offering boxes and phrases all over that important piece of real estate while inserting a weak little sentence that says, “…by the way, just in case you’re interested, I’m a marketing coach.”

Take free stuff, networking, and clear definition and blend them with patience, hard work, and a sense of humor.You may be pleasantly surprised.

Writer, copyeditor, and web developer Judy Vorfeld offers website makeovers;
small business consulting; along with website, document, and book copyediting.
She publishes two ezines, offers a grammar and writing resource section on
her site, and also offers a free text-only ezine template.
Vorfeld, who started her business over ten years ago, lives in the Phoenix,
Arizona area. Her companion site is Webgrammar: