The Value of Free in Building an Online Presence

When starting out as a designer, the best way to increase your market exposure and accumulate clients is to build an online identity. You can use this identity to connect with other designers, find clients and increase profits, among other things. However, while you may recognize the importance of building an online identity, the manner in which you do so can be a little tricky. Building an online presence requires commitment and dedication while remaining true to your business mission.

One great way to gain traction in the online environment is to offer free content and services. These freebies can attract visitors to your online outlets and increase your credibility. The following are the main benefits of freebies and how to use them effectively.

Increase word of mouth

As a designer, building an online presence is crucial to the success of your business. Many client/designer relationships are built primarily through online outlets and, if you don’t have an online presence, you’re missing out on valuable projects and sales.

To begin gaining traction in the competitive online environment, you can offer free information and place it at the feet of those who are most interested in the information and services you offer. When an online visitor finds the free content you’ve provided valuable, they’ll be more likely to share the details with others. This can result in increased word of mouth regarding your design business and an influx of website or blog visitors.

Build a Reputation

In an online world full of spam with many attempting to make quick cash off unsuspecting visitors, online audiences are leerier of new websites than at any previous point in online history. Since spammers have so greatly diminished the reputation of online information, it now takes more work to build an online reputation and earn the trust of future visitors who will purchase your design services.

Providing free content, products, and services can be a great method of building trust in your online audiences. These free items can be as basic as high quality blog posts or can include samples of the best design services you produce. By showing audiences your credibility with the free content, you can build their trust and lead them towards purchasing your designs in the future.

Using Free Effectively

The online world is inundated with useless free content. Many bloggers and website creators assume that, by offering low quality free content and useless giveaways, they’ll drive traffic and increase sales. Unfortunately, you can give content away until you have nothing left to give but, if that content doesn’t provide value to your visitors, any success you achieve will be short lived.

If you plan to give away free content or products, you must create them at the high quality level you’d use when producing design services for paid clients. Only by providing valuable freebies, will you earn true and lasting online success.

Here are a few tips for using free effectively:

  • Provide value– Online audiences are becoming increasingly wary of spam and false claims to free. Never post valueless content simply to drive more traffic to your website. This will anger visitors and will almost surely lead to negative word of mouth.
  • Make it relevant– If you operate a design-related blog but host a grilling kit giveaway, the only thing you’ll succeed in doing is confusing visitors. You must know your target audience and center all free content and products on the interests of those audience members to earn their trust.
  • Provide sharing function– When a website visitor discovers a valuable free offer, they’ll want to share it with everyone they know. To avoid missing out on the increased website traffic this word of mouth will provide, offer an easy way for visitors to post links to your content on their favorite social networks.

Offering free content and valuable giveaways is a great way to build an online presence for your design business. With high quality free content, you can build website traffic and spread word of mouth regarding the value you provide to your clients. Have you experienced the value of providing free content or do you have additional suggestions for effectively providing freebies?

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