You have probably heard a lot about offering free content, and how it is a great idea, builds trust and even leads to business. Social media experts recommend the ‘give away valuable content’ strategy and Chris Anderson talks about it in his book Free (funny enough).
Well, how much trust could you build by giving away real, tangible books in print? Good quality ones, with special effects like gold foil on the covers? I thought it was worth doing, and that it could be a Win/Win situation in many ways. This past weekend, I gave away a lot of books and here’s what happened:
I had a table at a personal development conference. There were 200 people signed up to attend, so I took along 200 copies of my book 24 Carat Bold. But not the plain one. I took the special edition with the cream cover and gold foil letters for the title. The kind of cover that you just have to stroke.
Win/Win – 5 Ways in which Free Pays Off
When giving a book to each delegate at a conference, some people put the books on the chairs or in goody bags. I have done that in the past but this time I thought we could get a better result by handing out the books personally. Everybody who wanted a book still got one, and they stopped to have a brief chat with us (Win #1) and sign up for our inspirational tips ( Win #2).
We had some great conversations with people, which never would have happened had their books been left on their chairs. Before they left our table, we asked them to commit to 3 things:
Read the book! (Win #3 – guess what, most people won’t read books they receive for free)
Review it on Amazon, LinkedIn and elsewhere (Win #4), and
Blog/tweet about it (Win #5)
All in all, we had 123 great conversations and there has already been some activity in terms of enquiries, book reviews and even sales! Social media, email and the phone are all busy with people we met this weekend. Was it worth it? Yes! I wanted to contribute my books as a donation to the event anyway. And now everybody wins.
Sometimes, my author clients get a little stingy when considering how many books to get, how many books to give away and how much to charge people. I always ask them to think about the potential return on that investment. Don’t give books to people who won’t value them or read them. DO give books away to anyone you’d like to build a trusted relationship with. Ebooks don’t count, since they can’t be handed to people. And I don’t think people value them in the same way as a good quality book in print.
What do you think? Do you agree? Do you give your books away freely and does it pay off for you?