Freeloaders are common in most businesses. They are the ones who collect all the freebie samples you give out, but yet never return to buy the full product. They are the ones who go into bookstores and spend all day reading without buying. They attend free seminars but never purchase anything there either. They consume all the content you provide them, but never upgrade to a paid membership. They download free apps, but never upgrade to the full ones.
What can you do about this?
We live in a society of free. Why pay for things when there is so much available for free already? News can be read online for free. Blogs can be read for free. Podcasts can be downloaded for free. Wikipedia can be read for free. So many apps are free. Can you blame people for wanting things from you for free?
The trick is to change your business model to embrace freeloaders. What can you do to benefit from them? By emphasizing the following aspects of your business, you can actually get them to increase your business revenue.
1. Social Media
Encourage your users to share your links on twitter, like you on Facebook and join your fan page. These are all activities that don’t cost anything, but end up promoting your product to other potential paying members.
2. Ratings and Reviews
Ratings and reviews of your products can be crucial for generating future sales. From time to time, I’ve put apps on sale for free to get more downloads, which lead to more ratings and reviews. Obviously this strategy can backfire if your product isn’t worthy of a good review.
3. Recommend to a Friend
Make it easy for users to recommend your products to other friends of theirs. This could be through social media links, or through email templates with your product link already in them.
4. Provide feedback
If you are receiving negative reviews on your product, it is in your interest to find out why. Respond to support emails promptly. Even after solving any issues you may have, maintain your relationship with the user. If they took the time to point out an issue to you, they may be willing to provide feedback on other aspects of your product. I’ve used this strategy several times with my mobile apps.
Even though you may not directly benefit from freeloaders monetarily, it is in your interest to continue publishing free content to them through freemium type models. Their engagement in your product is what will introduce it to the real paying customers who will be following behind.