Here’s Some Free Advice

The best things in life are free.

It might go against common sense when you’re trying to turn a profit, but have you ever thought about a business model that involves giving something away for free?

For starters, it’s so rare these days to get anything for free that it certainly sets you apart from the competition in the eyes of your audience. People really love to get free things. Plus, there’s so much return on a well-appreciated gesture that’s widely shared by word-of-mouth that any cost can be easily absorbed. Not that there has to be much overhead; think of free samples, free deliveries, free wi-fi.

Examples might include:

  • Rolling extras into packages. It’s an incentive to buy more than they might have otherwise.
  • Adding welcome incentives. You might absorb the cost once, but it pays itself back in the long-term if even a small fragment of prospects are incentivized to sign up for what you’re offering, or better yet, keep coming back! Consumers are overwhelmed with options — acknowledge this by showing you appreciate them choosing you over the competition.
  • Mailing swag. People do still love getting mail, especially mail that stands out from the bills. Think of something lightweight, customizable, and inexpensive to make, like a magnet, pen, or note pad.  Get creative with the design for maximum impact. The more practical a freebie, the longer lifespan they’ll have, and the better the investment.
  • Giving gifts. This one’s a no-brainer, especially around the holidays. But you can also send gifts for your own internal milestones, your anniversary working with them, and other reasons. It shows your continuing commitment to customer satisfaction. Many companies work hard to gain new customers but miss the opportunity to offer rewards to existing customers for their loyalty. Your customers will love this and it gives you a reason to reach out to them throughout the year, not just in December when you can get lost in the mix of gifts.

Empower Your Customers

Giveaways don’t always have to be tangible items. Giving away freebies can also mean giving away advice and tips. For example, you can empower your customers and clients to complete certain tasks or employ certain technologies that they might currently not understand themselves.

Sure, if you’re in the business of providing a certain set of services, it might sound counterintuitive to teach buyers how to do some of those things on their own — instead of paying you to do them.

But here are the reasons it might actually pay off to do so:

  • Establish yourself as the leader in your field by flaunting your expertise as an asset
  • Customers will be loyal, knowing they’ll periodically get access to your expert insights, you’ll make their investments worthwhile
  • It still takes time and manpower to do the services your offering in-house, so they might need a go-to — and because you’re willing to walk them through it, and proven trustworthy, why shop around?
  • What you’re empowering them to do themselves might just be part of what they come to you for, freeing up their budget for other opportunities

And that’s just the start. So while some may say “there’s no such thing as a free lunch,” we say a free lunch is memorable, and in marketing, being memorable is priceless.

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