How NOT to create a freebie for people who have never heard of you

Cathy Simmons

Ok, now this is a bit embarrassing.

I was talking recently to one of my clients and we were discussing creating freebies for her potential clients.

Of course, there’s nothing new in the concept, right?
We want our potential clients to understand more about the value you can give them, and to give them a chance to get to know you a little before taking things further with you.

So, you create something free – something that gives them amazing value, and begins the relationship, through an exchange for an email address, which you can nurture and respect.

But over the last couple of years things have changed. None of us have much of an attention span any more. There is just so much ‘stuff’ out there to consume.
We want to consume things quickly and we want fast results, so the challenge of the ‘freebie’ is how to create a specific solution for a specific person facing a specific challenge, and to have them experience that result very quickly.

It’s all about giving real value – and fast, especially if we are talking about people who know nothing about you yet.

So, here’s the embarrassing bit.

I did a bit of a review of my guides for therapists and came up with this one. Oh, wow – there are so many lessons here in what not to do!

Free Workbook for Therapists

The 5 Steps to a Flourishing Therapy Business

So – let’s go over all the things that are wrong with it.

The Title: ‘The 5 Steps to a Flourishing Therapy Business’

Well, it really isn’t very clear what it offers, is it?
It doesn’t immediately tell you what sort of therapist it will help, and what it will help them with.
The ‘promise’ is just too vague. It’s just lukewarm and a little dated to be honest.
What exactly is a ‘Flourishing Therapy Business’, anyway? What does that mean?
There is no clear promise.
Why would anyone want to download this?

Your free thing needs to be offering a SPECIFIC solution to a SPECIFIC problem faced by a SPECIFIC person.

The Description: Again – far too vague.

Here are the 3 bullet points on the opt-in page.

  • Shows you the 3 essential elements of practice marketing
  • Tools to discover your uniqueness
  • Builds a marketing strategy that works for you AND your clients


Of course, I know what all that means,  but does it jump out to the therapists I love working with? I think not.
It isn’t promising one solution to a specific problem, instead it’s covering all these different areas.

What else?

OK, there is a better description here, if you scroll down the page and it says:

“This is a comprehensive workbook that takes you through how you can work out what your own unique offering is, and HOW you get this out to the people who need your help most.
It is nothing like the normal, ‘free thing’ that people send out with very little content or value.
This is a workbook that builds your strategy step-by-step. Follow through the steps and you will be filled with a new excitement about sharing what you have to offer.
Please let me know what you design – I would love to see it.”

OK, that’s a bit better, but you have to scroll down to see it. Even I had forgotten it was there – D’oh!

What problem does it solve?

From the title and the description, it’s really not clear, is it?
Look at some of the challenges that therapists really face in their business.

  • Some are looking for more clients.
  • Some are looking for fewer clients – feeling burnt out but not earning enough.
  • Some want to know how to package and price their services
  • Some want to find their mojo again
  • Some are looking for help with visibility,
  • and some are already visible, but don’t know how to turn that into a business that gets them up jumping out of bed in the morning.
  • Some are looking to move online and don’t know how, or are challenged by the technology
  • Some are looking to find their speciality – a chance to make a massive difference in the world

There are a whole range of challenges, so the freebie should be speaking to just one of these, so the person reading it can say – “Oh yes – that’s me!”

Who does it speak to?

In my own business I help, guide and support therapists who are emerging experts, who have some real ‘gold’ inside them and want to get that out to the people who need them most, and I help them to bottle that uniqueness, package it up and sell it.

These are therapists who have been in practice long enough to have a clear idea of who they love working with, who they don’t want to work with (Oh, yes!), and yet are scared of the ‘niche’ word, in case they lose their client base, but therapists who have got the stage of really wanting to play bigger in the world, to make a much bigger impact in a field that really matters to them.

These are Emerging Experts, the change-makers who are raising the level of excellence in therapy.

So, given my own perfect clients, can you see the disconnect with the freebie?

It’s not speaking to the therapist that I love to help, and for whom I can make the biggest difference.  In fact it is speaking more to those who are just starting out.

Create a specific solution for a specific person facing a specific challenge, and have them experience that result very quickly

The Content: 

Now here’s the really nuts thing.  The freebie contains some of my best stuff.

  • It was crafted with love and a genuine desire to help the therapists in my community.
  • It gives an overview of the framework I teach to build a unique and tailored marketing strategy
  • It contains questions that enable you get real clarity on your marketing message
  • It contains a guide that can help you towards discovering your own uniqueness, to allow your inner expert to emerge.
  • It contains ideas as to how you can grow in your business and avoid the overwhelm AND
  • It contains questions and crib sheets that you can use to design your own marketing strategy that fits with you and your clients

That’s a shed load of great stuff – so what could possibly be wrong with that?

These days, I believe this is just far too much information for a single freebie, especially for someone who may not even have heard of you before.
As something free, people may not even value it, and if it seems like it will take more than a couple of minutes to read, may put it aside to ‘read later’, and can you blame them?
Why on earth would someone invest the time, if they don’t already know it will be valuable?
Having said that, if I kept this freebie only for people who already know me, then they are going to be investing more time in reading it – they are already wanting more detail.

So, what are the main lessons here?

Of course, give great value all the way along the journey the client takes with you, but it maybe best to avoid cramming all your good stuff into a single free thing for people who don’t yet know you very well.

Instead, create something that will solve a specific challenge for a specific person, so they can see results fast and want to know more, and give it a title and description that really speak directly to the person you are able to help the most, so that they know they want to say ‘Yes’.

P.S.  Now I’ve exposed it, I’ll have to take this down pretty soon!!!

Last chance to download it before I take it down!