One would think it is difficult to succeed as a business if they give out freebies. It seems counterproductive. How exactly do you make money by spending money? Although I am inclined to go the Biblical route using the 'give and you shall receive' principle in Luke 6: 38, it has also been proven in the business world that freebies actually grow your business. Here's how to do it.
1. Free Samples & Trials
Most people hesitate to try new businesses, but free samples or trials eliminate the fear, after all, the customer has nothing to lose. It also gets you free testimonials which you need to grow your business. Free samples and trials are a versatile marketing tool and you can use them as part of your branding, as a customer bonus, a kick-start for a new business or even sponsorship of an event.
What can you offer as a free sample?
Well it all depends on what your company is selling. If it's a product, you could offer a comparable item that costs cheaper so the customer can try out your product first before committing. If it is a service, you can offer a free trial version or even a free 30-minute consulting for say, client consultations or visual merchandising. If you make clothes, perhaps free sewing services if a client brings their fabric, if you have a clothing line or even a free dress.
The first time I can recall was a freebie for the very first course we had on the e-learning portal. It was the Complete Guide to Dart Manipulation and it was free for a limited period of time. Now I knew even if we had charged for it, people would have paid because of our reputation. We had done lots of paid courses in the past, even an online Fashion Entrepreneurship Course on Facebook then and had even used the e-learning portal for our in-house courses but this was the first time I was opening it up to the public. I needed to test the portal, get feedback on what I could do better and also test how people were open to learning online.
It was more a learning process for me. And during the learning process, I felt it was unfair to let people part with their money so I threw it out there for free. And got almost 500 registrations! Way more than I could have imagined! This alos confirmed one of my assumptions.
Then I got free testimonials which validated the product and spread the word about Martwayne and the course even further. These validations and testimonials made it easier for more people to register for the paid course. Now in comparison to those who eventually paid for the other course, it was wayyyyyy less but it set the pace for more online courses because I had the testimonials to show for it. Now our Complete Guide to Dart Manipulation is a paid product available on Udemy or available for free with the purchase of another online course such as the:
The only thing advice I will give about offering freebies is to ensure you have have clearcut objectives you want to achieve and offer it to the right audience that will either become customers or can provide you the customers through word of mouth referrals.
2. Give free gifts as a purchase bonus
You can offer your customers a small but valuable gift to increase repeat purchases, add brand value, upsell and increase brand loyalty. It can be a surprise bonus or a free bonus with the purchase of another product. Let me give you another example.
When we launched the the Creative Patternmaking & Origami Online Course, we offered 2 Bonus Courses and a discounted rate for Black Friday sales:
- Complete Guide to Dart Manipulation course; and
We wanted to create a huge buzz around the Course and get enough people to register before the start date. 3 courses for the price of 1 and a discounted price was a great deal for the participants and even though it resulted in a loss for us, yet again, we weighed the benefits against the losses.
The testimonials and word of mouth referrals will eventually net off the cost of offering the bonuses, which will eventually spur others to register for it. Offering both courses for free, after weighing the costs and benefits, seemed a small price to pay and would give us the opportunity to share even more of our knowledge and leave the learners extremely happy.
And we were right! The testimonials went a long way in promoting our course and we got more registrations after the bonus was over.
Both courses are now paid Udemy Courses, which of course Udemy offers at a discount.
They are, however still for free if you register for these courses:
My advice though, which applies to all freebies, is:
1. Always do a cost-benefit analysis before adopting this method; and
2. Be careful. What you lose on the bonus gift ideally should not be equal to or higher than the product on sale even though the value can appear the same.
3. Host Giveaways
Giveaways are a brilliant marketing strategy when done right because you get the customer to do all the work.
So what is a giveaway?
“A promotional drawing where a prize is given away to a participant chosen from a pool of entries at random.
Artistically speaking, a giveaway is a fun way to grow your audience while giving back to your fans.”
To put it in context, think about all those Instagram posts that ask you to share or tag someone you know and "get this top for free". Those are giveaways. By giving away a product or service, you encourage people to pass the word on, spread your brand, merchandise and website through social media without paying a penny for it. The objective of the giveaway must be clear and giveaways can help you capture leads at every point in the sales funnel. I'll talk about sales funnel at a much later date. As an entrepreneur, it is amazing the stuff you have to know and understand in order to make informed decisions about your business.
You can use giveaways to create or increase leads and eventually the leads become sales. Shortstack in its article "30 Promotional Giveaway Ideas that will Help Your Brand Cut Through the Noise" lists different objectives you might want to consider and which giveaway works for that objective.
Although freebies are an important marketing tactic, it is important not to giveaway too much and only run freebie campaigns from time to time. There is a difference between a sales-driven company and a profit-driven company and if you do not understand the difference and are consumed only by making sales, you will literally run your company to the ground.
Do you currently use freebie marketing? Do you think it's a great idea? Let's discuss in the comments.
Start or Run a Stronger Fashion Business
What is a Giveaway? - Rafflegator
The Psychology of Free and the Power of the Giveaway
The Psychology of Free: Does Giving Free Samples Increase Sales?
4 Creative Ways to Use Free Samples to Grow Your Business
The Science of Free Samples: How Freebies Can Keep Customers Coming Back For More
What is a Giveaway - EasyAcc
15 Steps for Creating a Successful Social Media Giveaway Contest
What is the Difference between a Competition and a Giveaway? (Or the Difference Between a Contest and a Sweepstake)
How to Do an Instagram Giveaway: Ideas and Tips
30 Promotional Giveaway Ideas That Will Help Your Brand Cut Through The Noise
10 Free Online Contest Software Options for Viral Giveaways
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