Recently, Envato Market Author Crivion decided to offer one of his files up as part of our “Free Files” package. Here’s what he learned from the experience.
After four years on Codecanyon, I decided to suggest a few of my items to the “Free Files” team. They didn’t take me up on the offer the first time, but I kept persisting, suggesting one of the best items I had, which had sold more than 290 times with a 4+ rating.
Then one morning after I did the regular email check, grabbed my coffee and was browsing the Author Dashboard to check for new support requests, sales enquiries and more, I came across a big surprise. A new badge…
It was a Freebie Badge!
But as that day-long feeling of joy came to an end, the pressure began to kick in to keep up with what was about to come. More people downloading your item means more people needing support, more comments to cope with and altogether more expectations to manage.
It’s a great problem to have, of course, and in the end you’ll have a better product that better fits your audience’s needs and will potentially lead to more sales.
Why Free Files are a positive thing for Authors
I know what some of you are probably thinking: “Why in the world would you give something away for free?” right? I mean, this is a premium and paid market where your main goal is to generate revenue. How does this help you with that?
Well, giving back a little to others in this way will bring you benefits that will usually more than make up for the loss in sales you may have to deal with by giving your item away for free.
Firstly, everyone likes getting a shiny new badge don’t they? And, successfully submitting a Free File gets you a “Freebie Badge”.
Secondly, by having your file featured as a freebie, you increase that item’s exposure and thus your own which can result in an increase to your follower count.
Thirdly and finally, people appreciate it! It reflects well on you that you’re willing to give a file away for free, and customers will appreciate this and view you and your profile in a positive way.
It also does great things for you psychologically, providing you with a refreshing feeling of pride and positivity in that you trust the quality of your product and the ecosystem enough to give something away for nothing.
The numbers back it up
Here’s the item I submitted as a free file.
PHP Watch Movies Script by Crivion
Before it was offered for free it had 291 sales. It’s currently at 293 sales which shows that even though it’s a free item there will usually be people wanting support and updates, so they’ll buy it.
“…even though it’s a free item there will usually be people wanting support and updates, so they’ll buy it.”
Before it was offered for free it had 229 comments and by the end it had 257 which means you can expect a lot of free bug detection and suggestions from the increased audience.
Average traffic to the item page before the product was offered for free was 100 a day, and was 3,000 a day at the end.
Traffic to my other items increased around 25% per item page.
Sales of my those other items increased 10%.
And, my follower count increased to 90 from 85.
In conclusion, offering something back to the community proved to be both mentally and financially rewarding in the long run.
As always, there are some that will recognize your effort and be willing to pay for the item, and others who will simply want the free file and that’s the end of it. But, if you’re successful you can cope with both types of customer and be the winner in the end.
It’s also imperative that you’re aware that there will be a tonne of feedback, so find a way to take it all on board and use it as a chance to test your product for bugs.
Overall popularity of your item and profile will be increased for the duration it’s offered as a free file, and you’ll have the chance to convert those free downloads into paid leads by providing support and future updates that anyone who might have downloaded the file.