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In Information Marketing, is FREE really FREE?

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Any and everyone in the field of information marketing makes free offers. The VAST majority of these offers ask people to give up their email address in order to get that “free” material. As someone who sells information products, I’ve been re-examining my approach.

I have not yet come down conclusively on one or the other side of this issue. BUT, I’m heavily leaning in one direction. Follow my argument here.

When we give out our email address in exchange for some FREE digital information we are saying (by our actions) that our email is NOT worth anything. MY email is valuable. I would NOT assign it a ZERO value.

This being the case, the person who markets and sells info products, needs to rethink this issue. IF you agree with my thesis that one’s email address is NOT valueless, then you MUST rethink how you make “FREE” offers.

It would then follow that IF you agree with my premise that one’s email address is not free, you need to make changes to your FREE offers.

Here is WHY my email is NOT free. WHEN I give out my email to you in exchange for any FREE offer you make me, I will then have to spend additional time reading the new emails that you send me from now on. My time has value. So does yours.

Ergo, the FREE offer you are making me is NOT free IF it requires me to give you my email address in exchange.

IF you AGREE with my argument, then you/we have choices. We can continue to make offers which require people to give you their email address. My logical argument would lead me to rename the offer. The word FREE should probably not be used.

Another option would be to continue to make FREE OFFERS. BUT, make them “truly” free. What I’m about to suggest is scary to anyone in the field of information marketing. I’m about to suggest that IF you want to make FREE offers, then you’ll have to forgo asking people to give you their email address in exchange for the digital bonuses.


This means that you must be prepared to give out your FREE materials without acquiring a name and adding someone to your email list – the HOLY GRAIL of info marketers. At least until this point!

I think we are at a turning point. I’m about to change my business model. I’m starting to give out my FREE offers in a truly FREE manner. WITHOUT asking people for their email address.

Have I lost my mind? (Don’t answer that!)

Here is my logic. IF you have GREAT free material, give it away. Don’t ask people for anything. Not their email address, not their physical address, not anything. Nada!

What will happen?

I THINK that people will review your truly FREE information. If they think it’s worth a damn, they’ll come back to you for more help/information. They will BUY products that you have. They will attend seminars and bootcamps that you hold.

They will TRUST you.

MY obsession with getting people to give me their email address is hereby ended. As much as I have “preached” the idea of building a big list, I have had to change my approach. YES, you need a BIG LIST. It does NOT have to be a list that sits on your computer. It’s a different kind of list.

It’s a list that exists in the minds of your “followers.” They don’t have to be on a “real” list. They are on your list if they like and think your material is valuable. They are on a VIRTUAL list.

Why this change? Why now?

Because I’ve seen a HUGE decrease in the responsiveness of my list. I’ve seen the same with my coaching clients, joint venture partners and proteges. EVERYONE is having the same “problem.” Response rates have declined.

I’ve done a few things to combat that problem. One of them is to start connecting better with my clients/prospects. Video email is helping. Another thing I’m doing is trusting the digital world and my VIRTUAL list.

Will you fight this trend or follow my lead?

Information Marketing

2 Responses to “In Information Marketing, is FREE really FREE?”

  1. Robert Blackman on July 27th, 2010 1:37 pm


    I started asking people for their full address 3 years ago and mailing them a self-mailer to them. The mailer was the exact same copy on my site. I have a 25% conversion rate, but only get about 100 optins a month.

    I am intrigued with your approach and will test it on a separate site myself to “see” if this has any different value for me or my customers.

    Everyone hates cleaning their inbox, yet the golden rule is the fortune is in the follow up.

    I think maybe a combination?

    “Fill out this form to be get my updates. Fill out this form to get my CD mailed to you. Or, just click here now to get this 23-page report immediately”.

    This needs some stats to bring it from the mind into reality…but thank you for sharing this…

    Robert Blackman

  2. Fred Gleeck on July 28th, 2010 6:47 am

    Robert, savvy info marketers should always be ZIGGING when others are ZAGGING. I believe the logic is sound.

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