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To charge or not to charge. That is the question.

As I write this, small and large businesses across the world are coming to terms and adapting to the challenge that is Covid-19.  Here in the UK, we’ve just gone into lock-down and has affected a good 80-90% of my own clients businesses.

Many are working out ways to move their business online, change the way they do business and how to evolve their business model for both the immediate future and as part of their longer term plans.

SO MUCH FREE STUFF ABOUT

It’s been wonderful to see so many generously giving away time, giving away their resources and giving away their expertise.  With schools closed we’ve got an abundance of free resources. With gyms and fitness classes coming to a halt there’s so many free options…all aiming to help us all keep mentally and emotionally fit during these challenging times.

Which, I get.  But I’m currently having conversations with my clients about how hard it’s making it to turn their in-person business into a profitable online business.

So what do you do?  Give in and give everything for free or hold on and charge what people tell you’re worth?

There’s no right or wrong and of course you go with your own personal and business values. I give little away for free as I truly believe people value and take action with help, resources and content that they pay for but even I offer 14 days free to my membership during this period, as a way of offering help.

So I wanted to share a few different perspectives.  Especially if you’re wondering what to do, and if you’ve come across keyboard warriors who are ‘shocked that people are charging in business’.  Try asking those same people how they feel about working for free and await their answer!  (You don’t need to try this….I’ve done the hard work for you and the response wasn’t pretty!).

So here are my questions to get you thinking?

How does going online fit into your long term strategy?

Have you been meaning to evolve how you work and working online was always part of the plan?  If so, take time to understand your ideal client, what they need, what you’ll charge and how you’ll get them coming back for more.  If it’s part of a longer term plan, knee-jerk reactions and offering everything free will mean that potentially the audience you’re attracting are not ‘keepers’.  Of course some will stick around and upgrade, but beware that you’re not attracting the ones who jump from free stuff to free stuff.

Or is it a measure to keep you and your clients ticking over until things return to normal? If you’re serving your existing clients who already pay I’m pretty confident they’ll want to pay you.  They know how amazing it is to work with you, the transformation they receive and that they value your time and effort.

If you go for free, how will you maximise your generous free offering?

If you’re going to give for free, maybe because you want to test the tech, test your own ability (I’m sure you don’t need to, but I get some people need this in their process), then 100% make sure you’re capturing data.  Details of who’s accessing your free stuff.  Not just people who are in your groups – but proper data that you own.  Like email data.  So you can carry on having conversations away from social media.

Be realistic about converting free clients to paying clients.

Factor in if you’re going for mass volume of a free audience, a bit like social media, beware of vanity numbers.  The conversion rates could well be low when you start to ask people to put their hands in their pockets.  Really low. Quite often this comes down to what you ask them to upgrade to which of course you can plan for. But it’s worth bearing this in mind.

I hope that this helps.  Do remember, we live in a world with so much choice.  Yes, there is so much free stuff out there.  Especially in the current environment – but realise that people want to support small business owners. Support small business owners that they know (like and trust,..that’s you!) and some people are switched on that free stuff isn’t always the best quality (sorry, truthbomb alert!).  How many times have you been promised free training / free webinars / free downloads and realised there’s a reason it’s free.

Now some stuff that’s free is great – and the great stuff is part of a wider marketing strategy.  It’s been well thought out and planned.  Take time to consider how it fits in…rather than joining in on the bandwagon and regretting it later.

Finally, if you’re reading this, it’s likely you’ve already been debating what to do. Know your worth, have confidence and know that offering everything for free isn’t the only option right now. I promise!

I hope that has helped.  Whilst I’m predominately looking after my 4 & 7 year old boys right now, I do have limited availability for 1:1 work so drop me an email if I can help hello@thrivewithsam.com or otherwise come and join my Membership where I’m around more frequently helping members adapt and evolve with their businesses.

I’m Sam Dixon, founder of Thrive With Sam Dixon, a Marketing Consultant to ambitious businesswomen who want to launch, grow and scale their business with flexible marketing support. 

For a free 30 minute discovery call get in touch by email hello@thrivewithsam.com or come join Thrive Collective, my monthly membership community. JOIN HERE.