- Your blog posts…
- Articles you write…
- The videos you upload to YouTube…
- In the answer you give to a prospect when they ask you questions about what your product or service will do to help them…
- In the way you offer help to a customer who has just purchased a product or service from you…
- How you answer a client (or repeat customer) when they ask your advice on a part of their business which they think you might be able to help with…
… there are many more examples if you keep your eyes open.
All well and good – we all do it, we HAVE to do it – but how do we use it to our best advantage, how do we turn it into money?
Why Free Giveaways To Prospects And Customers Is Still A Powerful Business-Building Strategy…
You might think it just plain wrong to give your products or services away for free in order to grow your business, but the fact remains that people can’t resist getting something for free. The word ‘free’ may well seem overused – and who could possibly believe it, there is no such thing as a free lunch, right? – yet it is still the most powerful word you can use in your marketing.
By offering free giveaways, it allows prospects to try out your product or service – with no obligation, pressure or risk – where they will hopefully see the value and then purchase what you offer, or they could find themselves so hooked that they couldn’t possibly do without it!
Then there is the Law of Reciprocity, considered as a strong determining factor of natural human behaviour, where people naturally feel they have to do something in return, to express their thanks.
But there are four things you should keep in mind when using this strategy to grow your business…
- Know your Profit Customer Lifetime Value (pLTV) – You can read more about lifetime value in my post The Importance Of Customer Lifetime Value, pLTV is just a step on from that. In short, it is the amount of profit you will receive from a typical client, over the total time they stay and do business with you. So, to create a rough calculation, it’s the total amount they spend minus the cost to fulfil the total sales. Why is this important? Because it sets the level you can afford to invest in getting a new customer. If their pLTV is £1,000, then why wouldn’t you invest £100, £200 or even £500 to gain £1,000 in profit?
- Free + Premium >= Response – the product or service you give away MUST add or have genuine value to the prospect or customer. Giving away a free £1 pen when you consultancy service costs upwards of £500 per day is NOT going to compel someone to engage your services! You must give them something they can take away and benefit from. Something which demonstrates what your product or service can do for them.
- Getting your giveaway in front of your target audience – Once you have decided on what you are going to give away, how are you going to get it in front of your prospects? Is it going to be distributed online? Are there other (non-competing) businesses with a similar client profile you could get to give it away as a special gift?
- Information is the best giveaway – Regardless of the business you are in, you ideally want to give away something which has a low cost, but a high perceived value. Using your knowledge to create free reports, free email courses, tips or advice relating to how prospects and/or customers can benefit from your business is still one of the best ways to get people to engage with you.
Well, that seems straightforward enough, doesn’t it?
Here are some examples from my clients which demonstrate how you can use giveaways to build your business:
Car Service and Repair
The owner posted past and regular customers a free report explaining the potential health hazards of not having air-conditioning units checked (and yes, they are real!!), made an offer for checking and, if necessary, recharging the unit when the car next came in for a service.
This resulted in an increase in service bookings as well as a 42% uptake on the air-conditioning check offer, creating their busiest month ever, and generated nearly £6,000 in additional profits that month, compared to normal.
Bookkeeping and Accounting Service
The owner used a free guide on How To (Legally) Avoid Tax, target at a specific type of business, which, over a 5 month period was mostly responsible for a 300% growth in the business.
A Massage Therapist gave away vouchers for £20 off an initial back and neck massage, and went round local health food shops and gave them a number of free vouchers for them to give away to their customers.
This resulted in the phone ringing off the hook, the creation of a waiting list. Not only that, but over half of those who used the voucher ended up paying for a minimum of 6 sessions – netting nearly £9,000 in addition profit.
One of the many areas this hypnotherapist specialised in, was helping clients give up smoking. In an advert in her local paper she offered a free CD on the benefits of using hypnotherapy over alternative methods, together with success stories and testimonials from happy clients.
In the first week alone, she received requests for 108 CDs, which resulted in 13 people booking stop-smoking courses, 7 people booking coping-with-stress courses, and a massive 18 booking a building-your-self-esteem courses. Total profit generated: £12,784.
Specialist Ice Cream Manufacturer
A local ice cream manufacturer gave away small sample pots of their specialist range of flavours to local restaurants, hotels, and selected cafes.
Over the following 3 months, they build up a steady stream of repeat orders, and after the third month, this strategy alone was responsible for just over £3,000 in profit from the new range.
A business consultant created a book for small business owners, which gave advice, tips and examples of how to structure a small business for consistent growth, to be given away in place of a business card. To date, this book has been responsible for more than £164,000 in new consulting business.
But be careful as you develop your giveaway, there is another thing you need to consider…
Overcoming the “Too Good To Be True” Hurdle
Earlier, I joked about the saying “there’s no such thing as a free lunch”, and while I disagree with that statement, it is a barrier you can come up against if your giveaway appears too good to be true – it can actually reduce believability and affect your credibility.
The best way to overcome this is by giving them a reason why.
- Why are you offering this guide for free? If it’s based on frequently asks questions, then the reason could simply be that the prospect may well have the same questions themselves.
- Why are you offering a 30 day trial for your software? The reason here is so that the prospect can experience for themselves how the software works, and how it might work for them in their business.
- Why are you offering a free 1-hour consultation? Similar to the software example above, the reason here is so that a prospect can experience your expertise.
Give them a reason. It doesn’t have to be a particularly good reason, as long as it’s believable.
Remember, we are all skeptical – maybe because we’ve been on the receiving end of a too-good-to-be-true situation ourselves – so giving your prospects a reason why you can offer such a good (free) deal helps to give them the comfort level they need to then act on your offer.
Using giveaways as a part of your marketing strategy IS effective if you use it correctly. Think about things you can offer free of charge which you prospects and customers will find valuable to them, but which are a low cost to you.
So, what sort of things could you offer for your business?
If you would like some help on what you can create for your business and how to use it, take a look at my Business Health Check sessions.