Well, let’s not be silly. Of course you have to make money to build a business, but it doesn’t mean you have to charge everyone. Some people have large followings and when they speak thousands listen to what they have to say. These people are known as influencers.
By helping out influencers for free they will tell thousands of people about you and your company. Not only is this good for sales, but it is great for branding.
For example, when I had my Internet marketing agency I was trying to figure out how I could get more clients. One thing that came to my mind was that everyone wants more traffic and if I could claim that big companies or powerful people were using my services, my business would explode. I didn’t know how I could get these companies or people to pay me, so I thought I would try helping a few out for free.
I noticed that your blog is being read by thousands of people and it has been growing at a rapid rate according to Alexa. But you know what… it isn’t growing as fast as it should be. You can be getting a lot more traffic if you do 2 things:
- Make your code more search engine friendly. Modifying things like your meta tags and your URL structure can help increase the amount of traffic you get from search engines.
- You write awesome content, but you aren’t really leveraging the social web. Sites like Digg, Twitter and Delicious can drive you thousands of visitors in a single day.
If you don’t know how to do these 2 things, don’t worry, I can help you for free. I know that you are probably thinking “what’s the catch”Â, because there is no such thing as a free lunch.
Well after I increase the popularity of your blog I want you to tell all of your friends and colleagues what I did for you by blogging about the traffic increase you received from my services.
As you probably already guessed, this benefits me because it will increase my credibility and help me get more clients. But if I don’t increase your traffic, you won’t be obligated to write a blog post.
Now that you know you have nothing to lose, what do you think about me helping you out?
Now granted a lot of the bloggers I emailed didn’t care to respond to me, but a small percentage did. And by helping out a handful of influencers for free I was able to increase my credibility and grow my business.
When you are offering influencers free work, there are a few things you need to know:
- Only make the offer once – if you keep on sending emails or pestering people, it can hurt you more than it will help you. If someone doesn’t respond to your offer, it is his or her loss. The last thing you want to do is look desperate and make someone so angry that they bash you.
- Don’t ask for a lot – if you ask for a lot, no one is going to take your free work because at that point it isn’t free.
- Be upfront – if you aren’t upfront you won’t be able to get influencers to respond. An influencer gets hit up by thousands of people, so if you are up front they’ll at least respect you.
Once you get a few influencers to accept your offer there are a few more things you need to know:
- Don’t bug them – once you have helped someone out you don’t want to bug them. They are already busy, so keep your contact with them at a minimum.
- Keep on giving – never stop helping influencers. If you continue to help them and give them free work when they need it, it will go a very long way. If you stop helping them, they may forget who you are.
- Don’t call in all of your favors – if you keep on asking for favors, you will start running out of them. If you give them more than you are getting back, you’ll always be able to call in a favor when you really need it. Remember it is always better to give than to ask.
Working for free can help grow your business in the long run, but it won’t help in the short run. Don’t expect to get a return on your investment anytime soon. You have to be patient because it can take months if not years before your free work pays off.
Don’t worry about calculating a return on your free work; over time things will work out. You just have to make sure you are helping out influencers for free and not random people.