How much knowledge should a business give away (and why)

How much knowledge should a business give away? (and why)

  • By Jeff Molander

How much knowledge should a business give away

Time to read: 3 minutes. How much knowledge should a business give away online? All of it. Giving customers your best advice can only grow your business. Holding back knowledge can hurt you. Need proof? Meet MaAnna Stephenson, a small business owner who suffered the consequences and bounced right back! Let’s learn from her. Let’s discover exactly how much knowledge you should give away … to generate leads and grow.

Sales dropped like a rock

how much knowledge should a business give away

“In three months I watched other folks publicly post what I had hidden away,” says MaAnna Stephenson of “Now they are the go-to people on that topic and have built authority on it with Google. Hiding my content behind a pay wall cost me.”

“I once had a marketing coach tell me to charge at least double for the content that was hidden away. Sales dropped like a rock,” says MaAnna who sells WordPress training to bloggers.

“She said I had ‘shocked’ my audience and they would come around. For 3 months they did not. I went back to giving away the good stuff and sales started pouring in again.”

How much knowledge should a business give away? All of it.

The do-it-yourself customer myth

“Giving prospects my best advice for free will help them to do it without me.”

Not really. Here’s why. Be careful to not confuse customers qualifying you with what YOU perceive as their purchase intent.

The act of seeking out knowledge online does NOT always translate to customers’ wanting to do what you do (for a living) themselves. Even in cases where it does “signal” a customer’s desire to do it themselves what customers want often changes.

You want to be there when it changes.

Who will be there when customers change their mind? Who will they turn to when switching from, “Oh, heck, I can do that” to “oh my, that didn’t work quite like I expected” or “Oh my. I had no idea it was that complicated.”

In the words of MaAnna Stephenson, “what the client often sees (in your free advice) is why they need to hire someone to help them.”

“I’m now in the process of releasing even more of that hidden information,” MaAnna says.

3 Steps to success (here is what to do)

Be bold. Be strong. Embrace the idea that good content marketing filters out bad leads (the DIY’ers) from the good ones—those who see your value AND will invest in it.

Want to get started on the process in this month’s Make My Blog Sell for Me training? Mention this article and get a free copy of my book. Otherwise do it yourself below!

Here are the 3 guiding principles that power today’s biggest content marketing success stories. Apply them to create content that converts for you.

Online content that converts does three things. It creates …

1. Action: customers cannot resist DOING stuff with it—not just sharing, signing up to become a lead
2. Results: it doesn’t just impart knowledge; it increases the success rate of prospects (for free)
3. Confidence: buyers ultimately convert based on trust created by positive results

I discuss these principles in more detail here. Or if you’d like to get started on the process in a free video tutorial I’ll be glad to get you started!

You’ve been warned!

Please avoid doing what MaAnna and I did for the longest time! Don’t confuse customers qualifying you with what YOU perceive as their purchase intent. Also, be careful to not fall into the trap.

Don’t be quick to assume customers want to do (themselves) what you want to be paid for. They can easily change their minds.

Structure your advice to foster that change.

Content that convinces customers to choose and invest in YOU relies on your blog articles, videos and ebooks having material effect on the reader/viewer. Success is not about how much knowledge should a business give away. Your success will be based on the material effect of your words, advice and knowledge.

Being seen as an expert is NOT a strategy (it’s the reward)

Winning business by handing out the best advice available (anywhere) depends on your ability to teach, advise and guide in ways that increase customers’ success rate.

In my business I try to remind myself daily: Few people are willing to pay for my knowledge …  MANY are willing to pay for what my knowledge will DO for them.

“The world does not pay men for that which they know. It pays them for what they do, or induce others to do.”

~Napoleon Hill

How much knowledge should a business give away online? All of it. What do you think?

Photo credit: Tellatic

About Jeff Molander

Jeff Molander is the authority on starting conversations with busy people. As founder of Communications Edge Inc. he teaches a proven, effective communications technique to spark buyers curiosity in sales outreach & marketing messages. He's a sought-after sales communications trainer to individual reps, teams of sellers and small businesses owners across the globe. He's an accomplished entrepreneur, having co-founded the Google Affiliate Network and what is today the Performics division of Publicis Groupe. Jeff served as adjunct digital marketing faculty at Loyola University’s school of business. His book, Off The Hook Marketing: How to Make Social Media Sell for You, is first to offer businesses a clear, practical way to create leads and sales with technology platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and blogs.

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