The idea of giving away free products may seem counterintuitive to business owners and marketers. After all, the whole idea of a business is sell products and services, not give them away!
However, freebies can be an incredibly powerful tool in attracting new customers and building customer loyalty. In fact, more than 80 percent of consumers say that branded freebies positively impact their overall impression of a brand.
The reason is simple: people love to get things for free. Whether it’s free samples at the grocery store, trinkets at a tradeshow or a high-quality item won in a contest, people love the power of paying for nothing. So, when you give away something of value to your customers, you not only bring attention to your brand, but also encourage people to buy into it.
Take for example, Ben & Jerry’s Free Cone Day, an annual event where its ice cream stores around the country hand out free cones to everyone who visits – no strings attached. Not only does the event garner ample press and social media attention for the brand, it also gets customers out into local shops to enjoy their favourite ice cream or sample new flavours. However, most importantly, it’s a way for Ben & Jerry’s to show appreciation for its customers and foster a positive brand experience that will last long beyond the promotion.
While a freebie promotion can be a great way to boost your business, it does require some careful planning. Here are a few things to consider when using freebies to bring in (and keep!) new business.
Create a Clear Plan and Set Goals
The first step of any campaign or promotion is to determine your goals and objectives. What do you hope to accomplish with your campaign? Are you hoping to build buzz around a new product launch? Is your aim to sign up more newsletter subscribers? Or maybe you’re trying to attract the attention of media outlets?
Freebies can be used in a variety of ways to help bring in new business, including:
- Generating awareness at trade shows
- Gathering leads through contests or giveaways
- Introducing new products
- Building client relationships
Be sure to take time early on to consider how you want to incorporate freebies into your campaign or promotion and come to a clear consensus on your goal and objectives with your key stakeholders. This will save you time and money down the road and ensure the success of your campaign.
Select the Right Freebie
Though freebies work well for getting attention, the trick is to pick the right one for your campaign. Consider your audience, budget and promotion when deciding which freebies to include.
For example, if you’re launching a new product, you might consider incorporating freebies as part of a social media contest. Take for example, this Instagram contest hosted by book publisher Simon and Schuster to promote the release of Cecile Richard’s book, Make Trouble. Not only does the giveaway’s theme make it stand out, but it also offers up a covetable collection of practical branded merchandise that ties in perfectly to the campaign.
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“You don’t have to be a professional troublemaker to take a stand.”—Cecile Richards . . ✨ Giveaway ✨ How do you make trouble? Comment below to enter for a chance to win a copy of @cecilerichards‘ Make Trouble, a tote bag, a bookmark, and Make Trouble pins! There will be five winners total. . . Sweepstakes begins at 10:00 AM ET on Friday, April 6, 2018 and ends on 11:59 PM ET on Tuesday, April 10, 2018. Participation open only to legal residents of the United States or the District of Columbia, who are 18 or older as of date of entry. Official rules here: spr.ly/SweepsRules . . @maketroublebook @touchstonebooks #MakeTrouble #MakeTroubleBook #CecileRichards #memoir #socialactivism #nonfiction #plannedparenthood #shepersisted #futureisfemale #preorder #bookstagram #booksofinstagram #igreads #literature #bibliophile #bookworm #booklover #bookish #booknerd #readinglist #currentlyreading #reading #read #giveaway #sweeps #enter #win
On the other hand, maybe you plan to attend a trade show or exhibition to promote your business. It’s always good practice to have some freebies at your stand to entice visitors and help build brand awareness. Low-cost, high impact items such as button badges, stickers, and pens are always a safe bet and will turn your stand visitors into walking adverts for your brand.
Get Creative to Stand Out
Freebies are an effective way to engage with customers, which also means that a lot of businesses offer them. The key to a great freebie campaign is to make yours stand out. Take a note from successful campaigns, such as the ones mentioned above, and mimic some of your favourite elements, like a catchy hashtag or special campaign merchandise. But be sure to add your own unique spin!
One thing you may want to consider is partnering with another business to cross-promote complementary services or products. Take for example, the recent partnership between Estee Lauder and Expedia, who’ve teamed up on a contest in which customers can win a trip to a tropical location inspired by the beauty brand’s spring gift-with-purchase products. The creative teaming helps introduce both companies’ offerings to a new audience, while building trust with potential customers.
Don’t be put off by giving things away for free- what freebies lack in their ability to generate immediate revenue, they make up for tenfold in fostering long-term brand loyalty and awareness. That is priceless. The ideas we’ve outlined here are just to help get you started; the sky really is the limit when it comes to dreaming up your perfect freebie campaign. Give it the same care and attention, within budget, as you would to a product launch and you’ll be reaping the rewards of a thoughtful, creative campaign well into the future. So what are you waiting for… get gifting!