Just Give It Away

The holidays are fast approaching. It’s a time when thoughts turn to giving – and receiving. After all, everyone likes to get gifts. And that’s a fact you can use in your business.

But you have to be careful about how you do it. While giving away freebies can help you increase your business, give-aways can also sometimes have the opposite effect. There are pros and cons, and both effective and futile methods of using them.

Advantages of giving:

Almost all online businesses should use a free offer to build a mailing list. A small sample of your product or service, an informational e-book, or the first in a series of classes are some good low cost examples to give away. Describe the offer in a way that demonstrates that you can solve their problem or meet their need, and give it away in exchange for their name and email address. You then use this list to build trust and loyalty.

Most businesses can also use the “buy one, get one” or bonus with purchase concept to lure new buyers and encourage those who are undecided. This works with coupons or in-store displays. Just make sure to clearly spell out the terms and conditions of the offer.

Prizes are another way to gain by giving. Everybody loves a chance to win, and contests are a great way to bring attention and excitement to your business. Get legal advice about the rules in your state; there are certain things you can’t require.

But be careful:

There are many people who simply look for all the free stuff they can get and have no intention of ever becoming a paying customer. There will always be a small percentage of those no matter what but you can minimize the impact by making sure your offer is created to appeal specifically to the type of customers you want to reach.

You also have to make sure you don’t give away too much or do it too often. If you give the entire solution, folks will have no reason to buy. And if you do it to often, they won’t buy because they believe it will soon be free. Too much free can lower the perceived value of your brand as well. People will think it can’t be worth much if you’re always giving it away.

With planning and creativity giving can become an effective – and satisfying – part of your business marketing program.



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