Freebies can be a great tool to increase sales and enhance brand awareness…
Everyone loves freebies! As consumers, we are totally happy when we get something for free with a purchase – be it a sample, discount coupons, a buy-one-get-one free offer, a free trial at a spa, a free meal, etc.
What is freebie marketing? It is when a product or service is offered for free in order to gain new customers, create hype around the brand or enhance brand awareness. Freebies are designed to entice customers and lure them to your brand.
As an entrepreneur, you must be contemplating the whole science behind freebies and also wondering whether you should offer them. If you are a startup or a small business, every penny counts, and dispensing freebies can make a significant dent in your profits, So, are they worth offering? Will freebies help you gain new customers and retain your loyal ones? The answer is yes.
Let’s take the example of free samples. One study says that distributing free samples could increase your sales by 2,000%! Wow! Giving away free samples can boost your business in many ways:
1. If you are introducing a new product, giving away samples introduces consumers to it.
2. It also introduces your product to new customers who thereby gain awareness of your brand.
3. It strengthens your relationship with existing customers. By giving them free samples, they are happy and appreciate your brand even more. It fosters brand loyalty
4. Both old and new customers get to know about your brand and the products you offer.
5. Freebies help to attract new customers, thereby increasing your sales because they can incentivize consumers to buy your products.
So what are the advantages of freebies?
- Freebies are a great way to get rid of excess stock. We all make a beeline for those bi-annual sales at big brand stores. Levi’s for instance has a sale of buy-two-get-two-free at least twice a year. That’s how they get rid of surplus stock. In addition, customers are happy at getting a premium brand at throwaway prices.
- Freebies give your brand visibility. In an increasingly cluttered world, offering freebies can draw customer eyeballs online and footfalls offline. They create a buzz and if you are lucky, customers will post online about their experience. This will lead to people sharing the info and will garner both sales and brand awareness for you.
- They help to give your brand a positive image. This of course depends on the freebie you are offering. But the very act of offering something for free gives customers a warm fuzzy feeling about your brand. For example, if you are a home baker and you add a prettily wrapped, freshly baked brownie along with every order, you are not only marketing your brownies, you are also giving the customer delight.
- You give shoppers confidence. This is especially so for new brands and those that have an online presence. How does a potential customer know what your product is? Is it good? Is it value for money? Will it be of use to them? Samples and freebies will help potential customers to try out your product and if they like it, they will come back for more!
- It helps you to get feedback and reviews on new products. For example, if you are a home-based soap maker and are trying out new variants, by giving the new soaps as freebies or samples, you can ask customers for direct feedback. You will know whether the product is a potential winner or not. Or whether you need to tweak it further.
- It plays on the rule of reciprocity. When someone does something good for us, we feel compelled to something good in return, right? A grateful customer on receiving a sample or freebie may feel obliged to buy more in return for your gesture. Joe Pinsker, Editor at The Atlantic, wrote that “samplers with a heightened awareness of the presence of others at the sampling station may feel a level of social ‘pressure’ to make a post-sample purchase.”
- They are a powerful tool for entrepreneurs, small business and online portals to grow their email lists, create awareness about their products or services and increase sales. You are literally inviting people into your world!
Nevertheless, before you embark on a freebie campaign, you need to have your fundas clear. What is the purpose behind it? After all, you can’t offer freebies throughout the year. That will dilute your brand image. So have a clear strategy in mind:
- What is the objective of offering freebies? Is it to get rid of surplus stock? Is it to attract new customers? Is it to reward loyal customers? Is it to launch a new product? Is it to generate qualified leads? Sign up more people for your newsletter?
- Are you looking at boosting traffic to your website or creating awareness about it?
- Do you want to hype your brand or your website?
- What kind of freebie are you giving? Are you going to give out samples of a new product? Do you want to put forward a buy-one-get-one-free offer? Or are you planning to bung in a lower value product of yours with every high value purchase a customer makes?
- Who is your target group? Existing customers or new customers?
- Do you have a clear target in mind? The number of sales, the kind of revenue, the level of brand awareness?
- What product are you offering as a sample or freebie? It needs to be something good, something that the consumer will value. If you offer something cheap, useless or something of very low value, your customer is probably going to just chuck it. You will then end up diluting your brand image and possibly lose repeat customers.
Freebies, if used judiciously, can be a great boost for your sales and for your brand image. Whether it is attracting customers to your website or incentivizing them to visit your store, freebies can be a godsend for entrepreneurs. It is most certainly an effective marketing tool.