Are FREE Offers a Small Business Marketing Asset or Liability? Part II: Choosing FREE Marketing that Converts

Among many of the small businesses I have worked with over the years, there is sometimes a struggle with the concept of added value or FREE offers as a way of marketing their business. The reality of limited resources and the effort and patience required to make an added value offerings convert to sales can be a painful topic. The conversation usually goes like this:

KLCreative: “Have you considered offering free tips, giving a bonus with purchase or using a giveaway to raise visibility and boost your marketing efforts?”

Client: “We’ve tried that! Yes, free information, samples and giveaways draw people in, but it never seems worth the effort. We feel like we’re spending a whole lot of time and money for dead leads. How do we get these folks to BUY?”

With limited time and resources being such a significant challenge for all small businesses, giving away precious commodities seems counterintuitive. In a recent post, I took a look at the explosion and efficacy of FREE as a marketing strategy and what small businesses should consider when thinking of extending a FREE offer.

When you’ve decided added value or FREE offers can be a useful part of your marketing strategy, here are a few tips for converting added value/FREE offers to a marketing asset and ultimately increased sales:

  1. Know your audience. Free stuff isn’t useful unless it’s something they need and want. Haven’t looked at your market information lately? Do it before you launch a new promotion.
  2. Give them something of value that SHOWS them the quality and usefulness of your products and services. Unrelated giveaways might work for larger businesses with more resources, but small business need to use the opportunity to showcase what they do best. Make your offer pack a serious message about your business.
  3. Always include a Call to Action. Ask them to act and give them reasons why it will benefit them to do so.
  4. Invite them to keep up with your business on social media for more information and deals. Always give them the reminder to follow and share the offer with others who might be interested.
  5. Get permission to send future offers. Some folks take extra time to make decisions about purchases. Keep your business in the running for their important purchases with reminders via email.
  6. Use the experience to better understand your target market. Not every promotion works, but it’s always useful information for future strategies. Use the opportunity to do a short review/survey to ask people why they didn’t participate and use that data to plan your next offer.  

What have your experiences been with added value or free offers? What opportunities do you take to turn them into a marketing asset rather than a liability? 

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