Why Free is a Killer Marketing Strategy: Part 1

by | Sep 30, 2015 | Book Marketing Basics

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From a business standpoint, giving something away for free to get a sale may seem counterintuitive. How can giving something away for free help you make money in the long run? Think of offering those freebies as a marketing expense: the cost of exposure. Free promotions are a great way to get you exposure in front of your target audience. This exposure can help expand your following, and eventually this will lead to sales down the line. The key is to know how to take advantage of free. Why Free Is Your Friend AME Blog Post

Let me give you an example: one author I worked with held a freebie that lead to 37,000 downloads of her eBook. The following day when the promotion was over, she sold 1,300 eBooks. While 37,000 seems like a lot of lost sales, it’s actually a conversion number. You can’t get all of the 37,000 downloaders to become fans, but within that group are your fans and readers, perhaps around 1,000 or so. They are the ones who take the time to read the book, and who may even write a review. You’ll gain enough of a following to start building a fan base, and you’ll continue to market to these people in order to keep the connection strong. Don’t worry about the freeloaders, instead, focus on those downloaders who will take the time to read your book, and become a fan.

How can you make this work for your book? Below are the first few benefits of free, and how to use free promotions effectively to get more fans and sales:

  1. Make your title attractive: Being discovered by readers is a real challenge for authors these days; there are an estimated 350,000 books published each year, which means readers are inundated choices. By making your title free, you make your title attractive, and make it easy for readers to choose your book over another author’s book. Freebies are a way to introduce readers to you in a risk-free way, and there’s a good chance that they’ll want more. By offering a risk-free introduction to you and your books, you have gained a fan who will pay for your books in the future.
  2. Promotion: As mentioned above, offering something for free now can turn into a potential sale in the future. To make the most of this free promotion, and to make sure you reach the most potential readers, spread the word about your promotion – share it with your email list, in your newsletter, social media fans, etc. For instance, take advantage of Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing program, which allows you to offer your book for free through KDP Select. You will have to sell your book on Amazon exclusively during this period, but it can be one of the most effective ways to get your book seen by a large number of readers at once. There are other free giveaway opportunities available on sites like Library Thing and Goodreads. Both these sites allow members to give away copies of their books, but again, for these freebies to work you do need to promote your giveaway, both on the site you use and to your own network.
  3. Price competitively: So how should you price your book once your free promotion is over? As mentioned above, readers are inundated with choices, and pricing can make a huge difference in which books readers will choose. If you want to build a fan base, you’ve got to price your book competitively within your genre or niche. How do you determine pricing? Look at books in your market and find the average price. Amazon is a good place to do this research, but keep in mind you may see a lot of eBooks listed for free as part of a promotion or the Kindle Lending Library; look at regularly priced books

Watch for Part 2 next week where we talk additional benefits, in case you’re not already convinced!



  1. Why Free is a Killer Marketing Strategy: Part 2 - Author Marketing Experts, Inc. - […] can you make this work for your book? We covered some benefits last week and if you missed them…

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