To Boost Information Technology Marketing, Should You Work for Free?
It’s a common question in Information Technology marketing, with no easy answers either way.
Here are some viewpoints of both “Yes” and “No” partisans—plus another position that might also pay dividends.
No, Never Work for Free
Popular arguments from the “Not on Your Life” community include the following:
Your Information Technology marketing itself costs you time and money, and now you want to give your services away for free as well? How will you pay the rent?
Customers know that they get what they pay for, so if it’s free, it won’t be valued.
Working for free is like giving a price reduction: even if it’s exceptional, it opens the door to the wrong kind of expectations in the future.
Yes, Sometimes Work for Free
Here’s the other Information Technology marketing point of view, from the “Speculate to Accumulate” group:
Over-delivering to make a good impression and secure further business is in part working for free. It’s a return on marketing investment.
To get a foothold or initial customer reference, you may want to do a (small) project for free.
If there is a sincere disagreement with a customer, fixing things for free within reasonable limits can save your reputation and boost positive word of mouth.
Let the Customer Decide
Can’t get a prospective customer to sign up for your offering?
Another tactic is to agree to let the customer pay what he or she thinks it’s worth.
If the customer wants to use your company’s services again, you’re likely to be paid properly. Just check your bank balance beforehand to make sure you can pay your bills, whatever this customer decides.
Editor’s Note: Because of the high value of social proof, in the form of client references, testimonials, and case studies, if you’re a new IT consultant just starting out, consider doing some very limited-scope related IT volunteering for a non-profit organization that you feel particularly fond of. Just be clear with the director that (a) the scope is limited, (b) a testimonial on satisfactory completion is expected, and (c) introductions to a few members who need IT services would also be greatly appreciated.
Have you ever worked for free for a customer? What was the overall impact on your business? Let us know in the Comments section.
And to follow-through on the tips introduced in this short article, be sure to download your free copy of the special report on the Top 10 IT Marketing Strategies For Consistently Attracting New Business Clients to Your Small IT Business.
Creative Commons Image Source: flickr olishaw