Customers like to get things for free. Whether it’s free samples at the local grocery store or items won in a contest, it always feels good to get something for nothing. For decades, businesses have used giveaways to introduce their products to customers and increase brand awareness. The Internet has only changed the way brands deliver those freebies.
While giving away products may seem counterintuitive for a business trying to build its customer base, it can actually be a winning strategy. If you plan to try this approach, however, you’ll need to be sure you approach it correctly. Here are a few tips to help you make sure your giveaways bring in more money than you’re giving away.
Check Your Budget
Before you start any new promotion, check your budget to make sure you have the money in place to give something away. If you have an accountant helping you, that person can crunch the numbers and show you how you can launch a giveaway promotion without losing money. If not, determine the costs and research strategies that other businesses are using to minimize losses and maximize profits.
Don’t Give Away Too Much
Studies have shown just how powerful the word “free” is with consumers. The psychology behind the word’s impact on customers is complex, but the bottom line is that the word “free” is a draw in itself. For that reason, you don’t have to give away high-dollar product to win customers in. “Buy one, get one free” promotions are extremely popular with customers, as are offers that include a free product with every purchase. Parents love to dine in restaurants where kids eat free and because adult meals usually cost more, they serve as a loss leader. If you launch a promotion where a purchase is required to get something for free, make sure you’re making more than you’re giving away.
Offer Small Samples
Some customers collect freebies as though they are trophies. They proudly tell friends, relatives, and online connections about their collected items. For that reason, even a small sample of your product can make a difference. Instead of giving away an entire product, create a small version of it that you can hand out without feeling as though you’re losing a great deal of money.
Reach Out to Influencers
Brands across the globe have realized the benefit of getting their products in the hands of people who can reach a large number of customers. Bloggers are a great outlet for this, since many are willing to post an honest review in exchange for free products. To make the most of this experience, offer a discount to that blogger’s readers on orders placed with a designated coupon code. In addition to bloggers, you can also reach out to social media influencers with a large following, since they’ll post a picture and brief comment about your product when it arrives. Be aware, however, that if you go this route, you must be prepared to occasionally encounter a blogger or social media influencer who posts a negative review of your product, since you can’t ethically require them to only say positive things.
Connect with the Community
If your business is located in an area with heavy street traffic, such as a shopping district or mall, you’ll have convenient access to passersby. You can offer free samples to each person who walks by. Occasionally, those samplers will decide they like what they tried and they’ll purchase something from you. If your business doesn’t have access to pedestrians, consider setting up a booth at a local flea market or Chamber of Commerce event. Some cities have evenings dedicated to showcasing local businesses in exactly this manner, such as “Taste of the City” nights that feature local restaurants.
Don’t Skimp on Quality
If your business sells a variety of products, it can be tempting to hand out your lesser products for free. After all, your high-quality items cost more to manufacture and command a bigger price tag. But when you’re trying to win over customers, influencers, and product reviewers, you absolutely must put your best foot forward. When they’ve experienced your best products, they’ll be more likely to not only buy from you, but tell others about the great experience. With so many competitors on the market today, it’s important to find brand advocates who will enthusiastically recommend you to their own communities.
If you’re interested in reaching a large group of consumers, create urgency by limiting your samples. Tweeting that you’re offering one of your products for free to the first 100 people who re-tweet not only limits the number of samples you’ll have to hand out, it has people rushing to find the re-tweet button. Those customers will also re-tweet the offer to their own followers, giving your brand a larger reach than it would have had through a social media ad or organic post.
Make Them Want More
One of the best ways to successfully launch a giveaway is to offer a product that is part of a series. If you’re trying to sell a new how-to book you’ve created, for instance, you could offer a short guide that acts as a teaser. If you’re coming out with a new line of products, offer a small sample with a coupon attached to entice them to shop. If your product or service is offered through a recurring subscription, offer the first month free to kick things off.
Remember What’s Important
As you build your business, it’s important to always remember that money is secondary to creating a product you’re proud of and sharing that product with the world. When you have pride in the work you’re doing, you don’t mind occasionally giving away things in order to reach consumers who might not have otherwise learned about you. This passion for your products will show through as you connect with others to ask if they’d like to give your business a try.
Free samples are a great way to introduce people to your business. When done correctly, you’ll be able to win over customers at minimal cost to your brand. Consider freebies a part of your marketing cost and you’ll be able to set aside a certain amount of money each month to promote your business through giveaways and samples.