In today’s highly saturated market for just about anything, it’s important to ensure that you stand out amongst the noise. The best way to do this is to offer free value. And no, this doesn’t mean that you’re necessarily giving your product or your service for FREE to stand out amongst competitors. Rather, you’re establishing yourself as the go-to expert in the minds of your target market before you launch a product. Inevitably, this nearly guarantees more success when it is time to sell something (if, of course, the value you offer for free is value that people need and are looking for).
Commonly referred to as “content marketing,” there’s also a misconception that this form of free value needs to be carefully thought out as the top of a sales funnel – which is probably why so many think that it’s easier to just create the product, take it to market, and figure it out with ads to make it work. It doesn’t necessarily have to be as complicated as this. Case in point: Colin Yurcisin, the “Credit King” and founder of Credit Class, offered free value on his Instagram story as he was learning about how to leverage credit on his own… and that’s actually how his business even got started.
Find Your Area of Expertise
First, niche down. What are you offering that your audience can’t get elsewhere, too? Sure, there’s going to be some general overlap. Yurcisin, for example, is not the first to offer free value about how to leverage credit scores. It was how he did it that helped his free content stand out.
“I was studying everything there is to know about credit scores, credit repair, and leveraging credit,” said Yurcisin. “And everytime something I was learning was validated, or I applied rewards and got a free hotel upgrade to a luxury villa, I would post about it.”
Specifically, Yurcisin helps people use credit to build businesses, travel the world, and tap into freedom – which is why he got into credit in the first place. This angle: traveling the world and leveraging other people’s money to start your business – happened to be exactly what his target market was looking for. Other experts in credit may solely teach how to repair your credit for a home mortgage, or how to pay off your credit card every month and allocate a certain portion of your income into your Roth IRA.
Yurcisin ‘accidentally’ stumbled into his area of expertise – but it worked because it was genuine. He was learning on his own, and simply wanted to share what he was learning. And people paid attention.
Over time, when someone shares enough epic value, people begin to view them as ‘thought leaders’ or experts in a certain industry. As Seth Godin said, “Leadership is the art of giving people a platform for spreading ideas that work.” When the ideas work enough over time, this gives even more trust to the leader who is initiating the ideas in the first place.
For Yurcisin, this came in the form of requests. “People began to ask me if they could buy my course, which I didn’t actually have at the time,” he shared. “So, I quickly put an outline together based on my existing wealth of knowledge.”
Here’s a critical benchmark: do you think anyone would have asked Yurcisin for his course if he hadn’t been sharing free value? No. People have to see how they can benefit from your content and how implementing it is changing their lives before they invest in it. In Yurcisin’s case, the free value he was sharing was helping people to tap into freedom… and they wanted more.
Pay Attention to Questions and Requests
Yurcisin didn’t plan to start a course in the long run when he began offering free content. Quite the contrary. “I was really learning about credit to finance my own businesses and travel the world with ease,” he reflected. “It was born out of my own desire to travel, experience freedom, and live an unconventional lifestyle.”
Here’s the other benefit of sharing free value: you understand what others need – and not just ‘need,’ but desperately need and have to have. In this case, it was a Credit Class. Yurcisin was able to turn those questions and requests into a product that solved other’s problems.
Many founders have stories like this — they finally invented something because everyone was asking for it. You have to give people a chance to ask, first. Show them what you can do, show them what your area of expertise is, and build that trust with them over time. Then, your product will launch to an audience that’s already ready to buy.