You’re not going mad – there was a ‘free sample’ offer on SmyWord. But I canned it.
I wanted people to be able to try before they buy – to sample the difference strategic thinking about content can make up front. Give me something to work on for an hour, and I’ll do it for free.
And we had some fun. I met Pitchup, champions of the staycation, who are merrily tearing up the camping and caravanning industry. SweetBar won an award for having a ‘clear, easy to read website’ after I had made (a small part of it) clear and easy to read. Picture Mix also got in touch – an exciting startup with potential to change the way that we think in a profoundly helpful way.
When I think about it, all three of these connections also involved mutual friends.
Most other enquirers just wanted a freebie. Many of their projects were interesting (only two were slightly unethical) but they were never going to buy. Like eating the free cheese sample in the supermarket, not because there’s a remote chance you’ll purchase Cornish yarg, but because you forgot to have breakfast. Really, I can haz another cube?
And that’s fair enough. I was glad to be able to help even in a small way. But one hour’s work is not going to help a project succeed in the longer term – for that, businesses need to grasp the nettle and invest some time and money and their best thinking into content strategy.
It’s not that the free hour offer didn’t lead to more work. 47% of free samples led to, or were part of, further projects. But these were mostly one-offs, ranging in size from tiny to small. I suspect most of these clients would have approached me anyway –the free hour was a handy way to discount the job.
So I’ve learned, unsurprisingly, that ‘free’ appeals to people with little money to spend, and that the best new work often comes via mutual connections.
That’s why the offer has gone. But let me make a new one: if you are serious about getting your web project to succeed and want to find out more about how improving your content over time will make that happen, let’s talk about it. Completely free.