A while back I wrote an article posing the question: If I Give Value For Free, Does That Mean I’m Cheap?

Recently, another wedding vendor responded to it with some concern and asked another provocative question…

“Would you provide the same information you provide to your paying clients as you do to your prospects who just want information?”

Yes, absolutely, YES! I would and I do. Not the same quantity of information, but certainly the same quality.

Here’s why…

When a bride is considering hiring you, she has NO IDEA about the quality of service you’re going to deliver, unless she has already worked with you. It’s like there is a wall around your business, and because she can’t see through it, she doesn’t know what will be on the other side once she’s a paying customer. Normally, she has to go by referrals, recommendations and her own best guess to figure that out.

If the free information or help you provide is not particularly valuable, she’s going to judge your paid services based on that experience as well. What else does she have to go on?

On the other hand, if you give her a high-value, excellent free experience, she’s going to say, “Wow! If she gives this away free, I wonder what her PAID help is like?”

The most powerful proof of your value is a first hand experience. Sharing your best strategy, tip or resource for FREE before you book the wedding wins over more brides with less effort.

The bride doesn’t trust our word about how good our services are. If we have excellent reviews from other couples out there, that will help. But the most powerful proof of our value we can provide is a first hand taste of our very best service.

What About DIY Brides Who Take Our Free Information and Run?

There are some brides who will call you up or meet with you, pick your brain for your hard-earned tips, and never hire you.

This experience can be incredibly painful, especially for wedding planners who spend their time and money in order to make a living primarily by sharing those resources and planning expertise. Or if you’re a wedding photographer who shares your secret location for a photo shoots with a bride, only to find out the couple hired someone cheaper to shoot in “your” spot. Ouch.

When I suggest giving away your best information for free, I don’t mean giving them ALL your resources, knowledge and expertise. Give them just a taste of something really good, enough to make them want more. Enough to prove your value and make them want to hire you.

I don’t suggest that you should give away hours of your unpaid time. Your time is valuable, and your information is, too.

An easy way to deliver that valuable free experience without sacrificing your time is to transform your information into a PDF report, video or audio recording. Take your best strategy, record it or write it down, and share it.

This way you can deliver an experience of your value to numerous brides again and again without wasting your time. You’ll also win over more brides more convincingly than you could do otherwise.

Here Just a Few Ways FREE Can Make You Money:

  • A free contest or giveaway. The cost you take on by giving away your service can be far outweighed by the website visitors you attract, the promotion and excitement you generate for your business and leads you get as a result.
  • A free “sample” for prospective clients. Giving brides a small taste of what it’s like to work with you proves your value and makes them hungry for more.
  • Offering a free bonus packaged with another wedding vendor’s service. This builds powerful networking partnerships and attracts more leads.

Check out the excellent books, Free: The Future of a Radical Price by Chris Anderson and What Would Google Do? by Jeff Jarvis for more ideas about how you can use free to make money.

What do you think about giving away free information to get more business?

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Stephanie Padovani

Stephanie is a Hudson Valley wedding insider, blogger, writer, and wedding business coach. Want to book more weddings at higher prices? Quit dealing with price shoppers? Transform your wedding business so that it supports the life you really want? Look her up! They don't call her the Wedding Business Cheerleader for nothing. :)

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5 thoughts on “How FREE Can Make Money for Your Wedding Business”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Oddly enough, in theory at least, giving away anything at all should boost people’s willingness to listen to your message. In psychology they term this ‘reciprocity’ which is just a fancy way of saying if someone gives you something you feel like you owe them something. That being said you should still aim for quality giveaways as customers will feel that they owe you more and then you can use them to cement your place in their minds as an expert.
    Hmmm, reading that back it all sounds a tad dark and manipulative.

    1. [quote name=”Wedding Photos NZ”]Absolutely.
      Oddly enough, in theory at least, giving away anything at all should boost people’s willingness to listen to your message. In psychology they term this ‘reciprocity’ which is just a fancy way of saying if someone gives you something you feel like you owe them something…
      Hmmm, reading that back it all sounds a tad dark and manipulative.[/quote]

      Manipulative? YES. Dark? Not if your intentions are good.

      Reciprocity does work. Although if the bride realizes that we’re just giving her something free with the sole intention of making her feel obligated to give us business, it’s possible to override the urge. (See Dr. Robert Chialdini’s book, [i]Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion[/i] for detailed studies.)

      But you bring up a good question: [b]is it ethical to use these psychological triggers to unconsciously influence people to buy?[/b]

      We’re walking a fine line. My take: as long as you know your product or service is valuable and that you can provide what the customer needs, you’re in the clear.

      It may be manipulative, but it’s permissible as long as it’s in the customer’s best interest.

      Getting someone to part with their hard-earned cash is one of the hardest things you’ll ever try to do. As long as we deliver on our promises and it’s a Win-Win for both of us, it makes sense to use all the ethical resources we have.

      What do you think?

      1. Anonymous says:

        I suppose whether or not its ethical is down to the reason behind supplying the information or resource. If you would provide the resource even in cases where you knew it wouldn’t make any difference then you’re probably in the clear.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I worked with another vendor, a higher priced retail store that caters to teenagers, but also young mothers. I printed a brochure that gave anyone who booked a photo session with me a 15% discount at the clothing store and a free mini purse album of their images from me. That has been the best return on investment I’ve ever done.

    1. Thanks for sharing your success!

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