Is Giving Away Free Information a Marketing Tactic?

August 4, 2010

The story of the non-handyman, the broken dryer, and the power of Google

If you’re reading this blog post, then you can see that we at Insivia aren’t bashful about giving away information about our business or our services. While there may be some bits of information that we hold close to the vest, it’s our belief that providing useful information in the right context to a receptive audience for free will earn us more business in the long run than keeping everything a secret. The joy of the Internet is that whatever information you’re trying to protect is probably already out there, and if that’s true, would you rather the customer hear it from you or your competitor?

Our hope is that you’ll learn something when you visit our site, come to an event at our office, or hear one of us speak in the community. Even if you aren’t ever going to buy from us personally, we hope that you’ll remember you learned something useful from us when a friend asks for a reference and we’ll pop into your mind. Even if that doesn’t happen, we hope you’ll find our post again when you’re facing a problem in the future that you remember reading something about it on our site.

As an example of what I’m talking about, let me tell you the story of the broken dryer.

I just bought a home in Ohio City with newer appliances and I was shocked when the heat in my dryer stopped working this past weekend. At the crossroads of DIY and call the repair shop, I realized I didn’t know anything about fixing the heat on a dryer. I am not handy by nature and have never once seen the mechanical guts of a dryer. Trying to overcome my knowledge gap and save some money, I did what everyone else in my generation does – I Googled it.

I was very happy when the first three results for the term dryer not heating all proved to be useful resources that were a good starting point for learning how a dryer heats up and what parts might be broken. Thanks to the kindness of, a blogger named Dave Donovan at, and a very knowledgeable repair man named Angel Acevendo, who posted an article on, I learned the dryer’s temperature control switch was bad and replaced it for $30. Considering the average service call runs around $400 plus parts, the free resources out there saved me a considerable amount of cash.

What was in it for these sites to tell me how to fix my dryer? They each had different motives: wanted to teach me how to do it so they could sell me the part I needed (which they did); Dave was a hobbyist who enjoyed teaching others as a stress relief (which earned him a big thank you note for his effort), and Angel wanted to prove he was an expert so I would utilize his services if I couldn’t do it myself after all (who also got a note – next time Angel, I’m still not very handy).

Whatever their motive, these three sites benefited me and likewise stood to benefit from my direct business or my referrals in return. They willingly offered up information that would have been closely guarded in the pre-Internet era but now is utilized as a way to provide expertise and earn business over time.

The marketing advice that we give away might not be as self-explanatory as instructions on fixing a dryer, but we’ll continue to provide it as frequently as we can in hopes that some one will call to learn more or refer us to someone else looking for a marketing partner.

So give away what you can – it’ll come back to you in the end.

About Insivia

We're a SaaS Growth Agency scaling SaaS & technology companies through brand positioning, integrated marketing, web design, sales and retention.