Does freebie marketing work or does it just devalue your products and services? (Image credit: Flickr)
For years retailers have successfully used this strategy of “try for free before you buy” very successfully. Here is why is works.
There are 5 stages that you want to move your target audience through in order to get them to buy from you. Once you have their trust there is much higher likelihood that they will buy from you. Here are the stages:
- You are unknown – they know little or nothing about you or our brand
- They get to know you. This is where giving away something for free helps
- They like you the more they experience you or your brand
- They trust you
- They buy from you and become a customer
How to create a freebie marketing strategy
Something to bear in mind if considering starting a freebie marketing business is what you can give of yourself, or that you have, that will be of value to others, in return for something of value to you?
It’s been shown that freebie marketing does work, but ultimately it’s you that needs to make it work.
That’s what you need to decide, first up. Can you make it work for you?
The first thing to think about is how to make a freebie marketing offer without lessening your services or your products.
What to keep in mind when creating a strong freebie marketing strategy?
- Make the freebie strategy a part of your overall marketing plan. Your freebie strategy shouldn’t be an isolated campaign or single siloed initiative. It should have a certain consistency and should be smoothly incorporated into the whole marketing strategy. Most importantly it should speak to a specific issue or problem that your audience can relate to and speed up the result or in solving the problem. When they experience a win, they are more likely to like and trust you.
- Know your objectives. In creating an intelligent freebie strategy you want to ask yourself questions to guide your thinking and process. Questions like – Why do you want to offer these free stuff? Is there a greater likihood that it will help your business, and it will make it grow?
- Get to know your target audience. If you do not know who you are targeting, you will not know the best way to speak in a relevant way to those prospects. You can do a lot of useful research online, and listen into conversations on social media networks. Find where your target customers hang out and discover more about them and what issues are of relevance to them.
- Create an interesting and desirable freebie. Don’t offer the customers something they won’t like and will eventually throw away. Instead, give them something they will use and gain benefits from this. Something like a discount coupon might raise their attention. Target is a great example of this, being known in the industry for their strategy of linking a guest survey with a sweepstake that allows customers to win a gift card.
- Attach the freebie to another complementary product. For example, you can offer your clients a free logo design. However a logo alone isn’t necessarily of much use, so they are likely to order business cards, website design, branded promotional items, etc., to make use of the logo.
- Reach out to influencers. Instead of just targeting potential customers, you can target those who already have the trust of your customers and the potential to influence them. After finding these people, you can politely ask them to try your freebies (if it has potential value to their audience) and share their experience with their audience.
- Ask for feedback. After offering your target market a freebie in exchange for permission to get in touch, you can send them a simple and quick questionnaire asking for their feedback. The feedback in turn will help refine your freebie strategy.
Here are a couple of ideas of what you could use?
- Your services for free – to build goodwill and new connections.
- Your products for free – to advertise yourself and what you can provide other businesses.
- Your time for free – to consult and build new connections.
What could you get in return?
- Networking connections.
- Website traffic.
- Possible market leadership by doing something quite different from other companies and organizations.
- An opening into a different market.
Something to bear in mind – it must work for both parties. Having said that, consumers these days are literally bombarded with freebie marketing offers both online and offline. While freebies work to build trust and to entice consumers to take a low risk chance on something new, they are not always used appropriately.
In acquiring new customers smart marketing strategists recognize the power of “freebies” and often pair a new product up with a “tried and true” product to gain an opportunity to prove the value. For example Colgate sold bundled packs of toothpaste and their mouthwash when they launched their new mouthwash range some years ago for just the price of the toothpaste.
5 freebie marketing strategies that may change your mind
Freebie marketing however needs to capture the interest of your target audience and not just pass under their radar due to them being time poor. So just how does one make freebie marketing work and is it really worth it? Kaya Singer shares some points to help you see why it’s worth the effort and what you can do to raise the bar.
1. Make your freebies an integral part of your whole marketing plan. Many of my clients want to quickly create something and send it out because they figure that scads of people will read it and they will get tons of business immediately. In a good marketing plan the free offer is connected to a bigger strategy that might takes months or years to turn into actual business.
2. Know your strategy and why you are offering this freebie. You might be thinking, “Duh, of course I want more sales!” However, freebies don’t always link immediately to sales. Your freebies can give you:
- A platform to build your expertise and show your specialty. Even if they don’t sign-up they are more likely to remember you as an expert in a particular area.
- Wider reach. People might hear about your freebie via a Tweet, Pin or a Facebook post and then end up following you on Twitter, “liking” your Facebook page or repining your pinterest pin.
- A larger list of the right people who you can build a relationship with. Ideally you want people to attend or read your freebie, but more importantly you may just want someone to sign-up to get it. If people sign-up you know they have self-selected and shown their interest. You can stay in touch with them and they may become a paying customer later.
- It will drive people to your website which is ultimately what you want. When there, they might look at your whole site, read blog posts or download other stuff.
3. Understand how it works. A small percentage of the people who sign-up for freebies actually follow-through, but even that small percentage can make a big difference in your business as they are more likely to convert to paying customers sooner. There are people have attended one of my free monthly tele-classes, liked it and then attended again the next month. Eventually they sign-up for a paid seminar.
4. Focus on excellence. Internet marketing began with long screaming sales pages devoid of graphics and poor quality. They worked. Some people say they still work but the trend is to make things calmer now. People are over-stimulated and they are also much more sophisticated when it comes to quality.
Here’s an example:
I signed up for a free video series this week on a subject I really wanted to learn about. My time is precious but I watched the first couple videos yesterday and they were poorly done. The sound was awful and the graphics were hard to read.
This would have been okay a few years ago when videos online were new, but now we are all so much more sophisticated. I make my own videos so I know how hard it is. However I saw how the poor quality affected me and made me wonder about the expertise of the presenter. This is prompting me to work on the quality of my own videos.
If you have an e-book as a freebie, hire a professional to make a hot cover. The cover is what people will see before they sign up to get it. Those people who don’t actually sign-up will still see the cover!
Edit your freebie to reduce errors. Even with professional editing, some mistakes get missed but the extra effort is important.
5. Make sure you know your niche group really well and offer freebies that speak directly to their problem or issue and offer benefits. Those are the people who you want to attract. Although the content needs to be good quality, the name of your offer is extremely important. It needs to clearly state the benefits your niche clients want.
Has freebie marketing worked for your business? If so tell us about it in the comments below. Which of the above 5 points are you implementing in your business?