The Profiting Publisher

TPP #015: Here's How Free Digital Products Make More Than Just Money

TPP #015: Here's How Free Digital Products Make More Than Just Money
Photo by BP Miller / Unsplash
Table of Contents
In: The Profiting Publisher
Read time: 3 minutes.

Here we go again.

A wild promising headline that makes (literally) no sense.

You MUST be asking yourself:

"How in the world does a free product make money, and how could it possibly do anything more?"

Like, what? Again, makes no sense.

But I'll gladly let you in on this profitable opportunity.

💰 How do they earn money?

You might not believe it.

But feast your eyes!

Do you see what I see?

See that sale for $2? That's my (free) digital product.

When you list a product for sale on Gumroad (a marketplace for digital products), you can set what's called a "minimum price."

It basically just allows people to pay what they want.

Now, why in the world would anyone pay for something that's free?

It's a logical question.

But I think you'd be surprised. I once knew of a creator that posted iOS icon packs for free on Gumroad. He earned $150 and had an email list of 1,800+ from all of the downloads (and it's still growing to this day).

I was stunned the instant I found out about this! Slow-motion scenes of raining dollar bills bombarded my brain. I thought I'd get rich!

But that's also when I realized:

Emails are worth more than money!

📧 Emails > Dollars

Let's be honest.

Emails aren't actually worth more than dollars, are they?

In reality, no. But they do turn into an earnings accelerator. I'll explain:

The email address of a potential customer gives us the opportunity to earn more than we would've if they just paid us in the first place. Think about it.

You know what, don't.

I'll do the thinking and spell this one out for you. Let's say someone buys your ebook. It costs $20 (just like mine).

They take your product and run (never to return).

But. What if we gave them a free summary?

I think that accomplishes more than a just purchase because we:

  1. Earned their email address from the original file download.
  2. Can upsell them to the paid product since they showed clear interest.
  3. Have the opportunity to create a valuable relationship for future monetization.

That sounds (to me) like a win-win-win.

A whole lot better than the initial hit and run for 20 bucks, right?

📈 Boost your following

Free products can also boost your social status.

But not like the cool kids in school. I'm talking about social media status.

The right marketing strategy could attract a lot of eyes.

People love free stuff. They just LOVE it.

And if you present your priceless product with some solid copywriting skills, you can get a lot more reach.

The means:

  • More likes
  • More emails
  • More money
  • More followers
  • More comments
  • More emails
  • More money

Did I say more emails and more money?

I'll even show you how to do it (with an example).

Here's the gist:

Post the thumbnail you used for Gumroad on Twitter, with some clever copy behind it. All you gotta do is get them interested. From one line to the next.

Tell them if they retweet the Tweet, follow your account, and comment, you'll DM them a free copy of the product.

It works like magic.


Because once someone retweets, their whole audience can see.
And they love free stuff too! So they retweet it.
Then THEIR audience retweets.
You get the point.

The more people comment and engage with the post, the algorithm pushes you to infinity and beyond.

Peace at last.


Next thing you know, ya got 500 new followers and a tweet with over 1,000 engagements. You've just secured a way to amplify your reach and eventually monetize the new attention.

Boom! Mission accomplished → Free stuff is worth more than money!

Check out this example from my friend Walt:

He did a great job here. Congrats on the success, Walt!

I'm very impressed...

🧠 Final thoughts

Now, this isn't foolproof.

And it's not guaranteed, but it sure is worth a try. When you give, give, and give, soon enough, people will start to take.


What's the worst that could happen from giving away free stuff?

We do it every day on Twitter with our content.

There's no guilt. There's no cost. There's no bad that could come of it.

Only good.

So think of something you do that's valuable to others, and make a digital product out of it. Then give it away for free and allow people to pay what they please.

You just might make some money,

Or even better, you'll get the opportunity to make a lot more money.

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Written by
Joseph Seifert
Solopreneur → Writing my basket of businesses. Teaching the art of Thought Monetization.
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