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Everybody Loves A Freebie!
It's true! Who doesn't like to get free stuff, no matter how cheap, lame or unwanted? You know it, I know it and you can be darn sure the marketing departments at the big boys out there know it and thrive on it.
So why aren't YOU doing it too?
Giving away promotional freebies is a great way to get people to buy from you, to sign up for newsletters, to get a heap of free advertising and to generally boost the profile of your business both in the online and offline world.
Thankfully, in the online world these kinds of promotions need not cost a fortune either which again begs the question:
Why aren't you doing this already!
Here's a few reasons why giving away free stuff is such a wonderful thing for your business.
Freebie & Coupon Sites
There are thousands of them. If you are giving away something free then these guys will find out about it and will more than likely list what you are giving away on their own sites. That's free advertising and it'll be seen by THOUSANDS of potential new customers! For example, take a look at Just UK Freebies or TheFreeSite.com if you need further convincing. It'll also do no harm to you link popularity and hence search engine rankings...
Turning The Umm's Into The YES PLEASE's!
How many customers do you think hit your site each day, look at what you are selling, umm, ahh and then leave without buying? Why not give them a very good reason to buy from you, right there and then rather than chancing to fate they might find your competitor's site in the meantime or decide perhaps, they won't purchase what you are selling after all? A freebie promo can do this for you - just offer it as part of the purchasing deal.
Building Your Mailing List
Does no one subscribe to your newsletter? Give them a good reason by giving something away for free to newsletter readers. Easy. Make it something different each month and limit it to say, the first few readers to email you the hundredth word in the newsletter and you'll keep them reading too!
Increase Your Visitors - Virally
Tell-a-Friend scripts used to be a big deal but now they're not used all that much. However! Incentivize this form of viral marketing and it suddenly becomes much more effective. Give access to some kind of freebie if your customer tells a friend about your business and suddenly you've turned a somewhat mediocre form of marketing into a much more useful prospect. Make this freebie and small discount voucher for both the 'teller' and the friend and you've just got yourself two more customers for just a slight hit on your profit margin.
Need we go on? I expect not. If there is an area of your business you are looking to grow them I'm sure you can think of a way in which a promotional freebie, no matter how small, can help you achieve those goals.
But "is it worth it" I hear you say! Of course, but you've gotta be smart about it. DO NOT promise what you can't deliver and DO NOT promise what you can't afford. Fortunately, there are a number of things every online business can afford and here are a few ideas to get you started:
Ideas For Free Stuff Promotions
1) Vouchers, coupons, discounts codes. The simplest freebie you can ever give away. It costs you nothing as an online business (you email the coupon code to the customer rather than printing vouchers) and it can be used in many different ways. For example:
a) Encourage new customers to try out your services by offering new customers and ONLY new customers a $10 discount off their first order...when they spend $40 or more to cover your losses. So you might break even this time, or make a smaller profit, but you have probably got a new customer who'll be back next time for more.
b) Encourage people to sign up for your newsletter by offering a discount voucher for use against your products or services for all registrations. You get a newsletter registrant and a buyer all in one. Of course, you will make this pay back time and again with each newsletter you send out.
c) Ensure a customer bookmarks you site and comes back for more. Simply give away a coupon to use against their NEXT order from you. Make sure this is redeemable for orders over a 'definite profit' level (e.g. $10 of orders over $50) and you've got a winner.
See how easy this is?
2) Ebooks and Other Electronic Media
Depending on the kind of business or service you are offering online, a free ebook giveaway can be an excellent freebie. This is particularly useful for getting people to join mailing lists and you can also offer different ebooks as part of upcoming newsletters too, in order to keep them reading. Make sure you can use the ebook in this way however by checking with the author first. Many are more than happy for the exposure. Alternatively, write your own ebook and get double exposure!
3) Cheap Stuff With Your Logo All Over It...
Now this one will cost you money but if used correctly can become the gift that keeps on giving. Make it something useful, especially something people will put near their computer or office and you'll be giving them a constant reminder of your services. Mouse Mats work great for this.
It will depend on your business on what you give away. For example, a toy store might want to give away a cheapo soft toy, maybe one which didn't sell or can be bought in bulk for peanuts. Slap your branding on it (put a ribbon with you internet address around its neck for example) and voila! Now this freebie becomes a viral advertising machine because these things get left on buses, given away to charity shops, handed down to younger children and so on.
4) Free Services and Samples
Giving away samples of your services is a great way of showcasing your talents and encouraging people to buy. This works particularly well with intangible products, like graphic design services for example. I would advise caution giving samples of physical products however as many people will grab anything they can regardless of whether they are in the slightest bit interested in what you have to offer and this could give you a real headache in terms of costs and the time spent packaging and mailing.
...and of course your own ideas! You know your business better than anyone and there are bound to be ideas specifically suited to your own business area. Think about it!
Everybody loves a freebie and so will your bottom line.
Mark Falco is a part-time webmaster and owner of the http://www.justukfreebies.co.uk web site. Permission is granted to reuse this article so long as no modifications are made and this author byline remains intact somewhere on the same page as the published article.