Why consider giving your work away for free

Today we're launching the first in a series of new tools we've been developing for our clients and prospects to use for free. The tools themselves are pretty cool but what we want to focus on is the value that giving away your work for free can bring to your business.

Right now we're sitting on a pile of code that we can be selling to other developers and our clients for a decent side income but instead we're just going to give them all away. That might seem crazy but we believe that when you help others succeed everyone wins. When you have tools that are valuable within your own organization it's likely that they can be useful to your customers or other companies in your industry. The deciding factor for us when it comes to either releasing them as open source projects, hosting them for others to use free, or charging for them is whether or not the tool is core to our business model.

The first new tool we're offering is a domain name search tool. We're not in the domain reseller business so instead of charging a fee we'll let anyone who wants to use it. The next tool we're releasing is an SEO scoring tool that crawls websites and gives them an SEO score based on some basic ranking signals. That's a more useful tool but we want to help others improve their SEO, not sell them the tools to score it. By releasing these for our clients to use freely we're helping them to get involved and take an active role in the success of their online marketing strategies which, hopefully, will get them more excited if they end up working with us.

These sorts of tools are what we think of as the equivalent of a digital business card. In the real world we hand out business cards, brochures, pens, mouse pads, and all sorts of promotional items to people we meet for free with no expectation that they'll spend money with us. The idea is that your name is out there and when someone you've given that mouse pad to months ago ends up needing your services they'll end up looking down at that mouse pad call you. They're useful tools that are suppose to give your brand some personality and be functional at the same time. Except pens and mugs and mouse pads are incredibly generic. A cool little digital tool on the other hand can be more than a piece of plastic with your logo slapped on it. It can serve any purpose unique to your business.

So the next time you have a byproduct of your usual work lying around put it to good use. If it's not core to your business model you may want to give it away or you might want to sell it to a new set of potential customers. And don't forget to check out our new SEO scoring tool and domain name search.

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