Firms outside of the Internet have been giving away free samples of products or selling some products for less than cost (lost leader) for years. There's nothing particularly new about this idea. And it is also the right formula for your website.
People are Sceptical
People may not know about your firm or your products. So naturally people are sceptical. This is even truer on the Internet.
One way to overcome their scepticism is to give something away for free.
If it is free, there is no transaction. This is a benefit to your site’s visitor not only in cost, but sometimes more importantly, no information or credit card needs to be given. In reality, the visitor may be willing to pay; but is reluctant to supply information or go through a transaction: too much risk and work.
Since a free offer is simple, the offer is more often accepted.
Ideally, you are giving away something that has no incremental cost: a piece of software, a report, or something that can be downloaded from your site.
Give Away and Sell Upgrades
In the software business, an easy way to gain market share is to give your software away for free. Now there is no income from this process, but the overall distribution costs tend to be low: the software is just downloaded.
To make money, you offer these customers upgrades to the software. Large numbers of customers are now using your free product. They are more comfortable with your firm. And some percentage of this user base will want to upgrade; and here comes your revenue.
The formula may work for you. If you just sell product, your customer base will likely stay small. Give away a useful program and your customer base will grow. People will notice your company and all sorts of opportunities may now be available.
Another way to overcome the scepticism visitor is to gradually engage them with your website. The site is designed as a process: a number of steps. Each step requires minimal effort from the visitor. But eventually, all the necessary information is collected.