With the internet at our fingertips and on our phones, we are force-fed information so Information that we don’t want or isn’t useful is worthless, making information you NEED valuable.
How do you make your information valuable? Here are 7 things that are better than free.
Trust : Trust must be earned, over time. You can’t buy it, download it or fake it. If everything else is equal, you’ll always prefer to deal with someone you can trust.
Immediacy: Eventually you can probably find a free copy somewhere on the internet. But you can’t always wait for “eventually.” There is a reason you can have something overnighted to your office … and when you need it there immediately you are more than happy to pay the extra fee to get exactly what you want exactly when you want it.
Personalization: Custom vs. Generic … the generic version might be free but a personalized version is tailored specifically to your needs. Personalization takes time and can’t be mass produced (obviously it is customized to you). A lot of websites will let you customize and host your site for fee with THEIR domain (i.e.wordpress.yourname.com) but you can purchase a customized your domain name (yourname.com).
Interpretation: Ever wonder how companies like Red Hat make any money by offering free software? They offer paid support for the free software. Often times it isn’t the knowledge or the product that you are buying but someone’s knowledge on how to effectively USE the product that is so valuable.
Authenticity: Every customer wants to know, is it the real deal? Am I getting what I paid for? Whether it is a piece of art, a trusted website (no one likes viruses) or your business … people want to know if something is who or what it is declared to be.
Accessibility: Sure you can get it free, but how easy is it to use? I use aCRM to manage my contacts online so I can access it from my phone or laptop, where-ever, when-ever. Sure I could manage it myself for free if I had time to organize it, back it up, keep adding to it, etc but that doesn’t sounds very appealing when there is a service I could buy that does it for me.
Findability: No matter how great your product, it doesn’t help if people don’t know about you. Unfound masterpieces are worthless. With so many companies trying to get your attention – and most of it free — being found is very valuable.
For more information, check out Kevin Kelly’sthoughts about the internet being one big copy machine and his thoughts about what adds to value to your product.