Freebies: A Simple Yet Powerful Marketing Strategy
Sometimes we give digital advertising (PPC, Paid Social…) the highest priority when
it comes to promoting a new product or service. There’s no doubt that this method
works, but we tend to forget that freebies have numerous benefits when it comes to
advertising your business and gaining loyal customers. Read on to find out how.
What is s Freebie, and why is it useful?
A Freebie is a marketing tool that allows customers to get to know your brand better, often (but not always) in the form of complementary goods. So how is this useful?
- It creates a positive buzz. People love getting things for free: who doesn’t? It makes them feel valuable, and a good interaction will probably get them talking about your business to their friends
- They encourage customers to try other products. After “testing the waters” of your products, customers are more likely to come back for more (offering something for free will help to reduce the hesitation people have of trying out something new.)
- It makes your brand look good. Your aim is to make the customer happy, and what better way than to offer them something to try at no cost. It means you are not just in it for the money, but for offering services to those who will genuinely value them.
- They make you look confident. If you are confident in the products that you offer – and you certainly should be – then offering one for free is the best commercial for your business you can put out there. It makes customers trust what you are offering and raise the chances they will come back for more.
Why do customers like free stuff?
Because there’s nothing to lose. Let’s say somebody wants to introduce you to a new product, and it sounds very interesting in theory, but you’re not so sure if you’ll like it. Would you still pay to try it out? The answer is probably not. Customers like free stuff because for one, they didn’t have to go through much effort to get it, and two, there is no risk of spending money on something they might not like. It feels like hitting the jackpot.
What can you offer?
In most cases, in exchange for a freebie, you’ll be asking for an email address, and the consumer knows all too well it will be used to send newsletters and promotions. So, to make it worth their time, you better offer something really good. But keep the following in mind:
- How will it help the consumer? It doesn’t have to hold the key to the universe, but readers are more likely to sign up when you offer them something that will save them time, make something easy for them, or inspire them. Free memberships, eBooks, audio or video content, these are all great ways to entice your potential consumers.
- Will it be worth it? In other words, don’t make them feel that they’re getting it for free because it’s so cheap you can afford to give it away. Everybody wants to get a bargain out of it. You should treat the email customers are providing as if it were cold hard cash.
- Is it easy to use? If in exchange for an email you’re offering a “free personalized pdf with the solutions to a computer problem written in code”, the customer won’t really go for it. Sure, it could help them and yes it’s free, but it’ll be too difficult to use unless the person can understand code. This about the overall freebie your offering and how it can apply to a target audience.
- Use it to your advantage. Freebies are a great chance to show your customer what you or your company has to offer, from quality to service to worth. Your freebie has to stand out from the crowd
“Providing a product sample cuts through this noise, and can help sway a customer to make a favorable purchasing decision. They can try the product for themselves, and that direct experience provides a more rational way to evaluate and understand your solution.” – Kali Hawlk
How do you get it to your audience?
Sending stuff digitally is often the easiest and most common way to go about it. But remember that you can use the medium to your brand’s advantage.
- Email marketing. There’s a reason why this is the most common method: it’s popular, cost-effective and measurable. In fact, more than 34% of the people worldwide use email – that’s about 2.5 billion people, and it’s predicted to increase to 2.8 billion email users in the next 2 years. But in order to make the most of it, you have to apply the right tactics:
Begin by using customer data to personalise emails, (such as “Dear Dave”, and not “Dear Mrs/Mr”), and make sure you ask for the right information upfront in order to make this easier.
Segment your database so you can send targeted messages to audiences that are more likely to reply positively to that particular email. This is especially important if you work on an international level. No point in inviting somebody in England to a meet-and-greet in Argentina.
Most marketing emails are opened via mobile, so also make sure yours are mobile-friendly! And if you wanna get really technical, send out “test” emails to a small population. By sending several variations made to the subject line to a small sample of subscribers, you’ll be able to see what works, and what doesn’t.
If you think this is all a bit excessive, remember that 70% of brands do not use personalisation within their email marketing strategy, so by going the extra mile, you’ll already be standing out against the competition.
- Yes, literally posting. Like a letter. It’s not always a common medium, so it’s a nice refreshing way for customers to receive their items, especially because it’ll feel like a fun little treat (remember all those times you clicked on “buy” and then glued yourself to the window until the postman arrived?).
Of course, this medium means you’ll be responsible for delivery fees (and be prepared to go far and wide if you’re international) but posting your freebies also gives you the advantage of being able to customize the package, with a greater personal touch than through an email, and make a lasting impression on your customers.
- Social Media. Depending on your target audience, this may also be a great interesting angle to consider. Most marketers have boosted their social media following by 34% after running social media giveaway campaigns. By giving out freebies to Facebook or Instagram followers you simultaneously give exposure to your brand as well as your product.
Consider applying this technique around specific periods when more people will be generally more active on social media, for example near the Christmas period (giving our Christmas-related freebies, etc). Remember to advertise your products in a fun way, and to invest in high-quality images to attract attention.
How to create a great Freebie strategy?
Regardless of the method you use to deliver them, it’s all in how you plan it. A freebie strategy should be an imperative part of your overall marketing plan.
Know your objectives and pin down how handing out freebies will help you grow your brand. Make sure you know your target audience inside out, perhaps by asking them to complete a survey, or by doing your research on social media. Most importantly, put yourself in your consumer’s position and ask yourself what it is you’d want if you were them