Let’s face it; the web is filled with entitlement issues. For a few dollars a month we gain access to the world via an Internet connection. We want sports scores and we don’t want to wait for the sports networks on television to scroll their list, so we log on and get the score. We missed a portion of a television show we like so we log on and often find the program available to watch on demand.
We gain free access to online encyclopedias and dictionaries.
We play along with game shows and sit at the computer to find the answers before the contestant does.
We want to know more about the weather and a few clicks later we know.
We want the ratings on a car we’re thinking about buying and we find it online.
There is often one underlying prerequisite to our online perusal. We do not want to have to pay to get the information. This information is typically thought to come at no cost when we pay to log onto the Internet.
The entitlement issues have largely been managed by websites competing with other forms of media for your attention. If a site is brokering knowledge they will typically offset the expense by infusing Google AdSense Ads or other PPC or banner ads into the site thus allowing the visitor to have access to the information without the concern of payment.
Even fee-based sites generally have a free tier of service for anyone. A perk-filled membership is generally available at a modest price. If a visitor gains significant value from the free tier they may be inclined to purchase a membership if they feel the extended value is worth it.
Interestingly many sites that are entirely fee-based may struggle more than those with at least a most basic free tier of service.
Whether the mentality is correct or not the Internet has accommodated those who may have a feeling that the world owes them something. Obviously businesses online can’t give product away, but they can and are infusing their sites with information and free downloads that add incredible value at no cost to consumers. This strategy has become a primary component to improving trust between online business and potential consumer.
Websites are filled with free podcasts, video streams, game downloads, teaching materials, recipes, home improvement tips, garden development plans and information on virtually any subject you can think of.
To online businesses it may seem unfair to have to find alternative ways to fund free information and advice, especially when you may be used to being paid for the information you can provide.
In most cases the information provided is designed to work as part of a marketing strategy pointing visitors to products and services you make available. The knowledge-based content provides information that coincides with something you can offer the customer.
Since face-to-face connections are not easily managed online this strategy not only tackles the entitlement issue, but it is useful in developing a trusting relationship with those who do not easily pass on their trust.