Are free and hope your marketing strategies for finding customers?
They go like this:
You give away your time or a free trial of your product.
Then you hope the customer will buy.
You many continue doing this and then after a while realise you have wasted a number of precious hours.
These are not marketing strategies of course.
The concept of providing something for free can be used effectively as a marketing tactic.
This is as long as you understand the purpose and the role it plays supporting your marketing strategy.
Especially when you in the process of finding more customers for your business.
Instead of free and yes this can be just a mind game I call them samples.
The reason is you are giving a sample of what you are offering. Enough to help customers along the buying decision path.
Larger companies use the sample idea really well, have done for decades and it is used in conjunction with other tactics not just on its own.
They don’t and can’t use hope when marketing their brands as they want to make a profit. If you use samples as a support for your marketing strategy it means you have your product or service as a key focus.
Return on Investment
Companies that sell products work out the cost of the samples to see if they are getting a return. They also track the results so guesswork doesn’t happen.
This way they can see if it is worth repeating, tweaking the sample offer or scraping it.
As the marketer of your brand do you track your results?
For example if you offer a 1 hour free consultation, do you work out if this is cost effective or do you regard it a just a cost, when you are finding customers.
If you can’t see a return on your investment then consider other ways to support the product or service strategy focus. For example you may consider a basic product or service as an entry level for new customers which has a lower price.
With products you know how much you need to give away to get your customers to buy. You understand which products are more likely to lead to a sale if sampled.
Unless you are new to business, you probably have an idea of what your customers buying behaviours are. As well as you would know what samples of your service, such as a ½ hour phone call move them along the buying chain.
Could these samples be packaged up differently and offered on a more consistent basis or even without your presence?
One key is this is an opportunity to be creative and not follow or copy what your competitors do. The reason for this is it is a chance for your to showcase your difference and stand out from your competitors.
Often product companies give away samples and have the offer next to it.
You see this with food all the time, bite size pieces to taste and a short sharp discount on the full size product.
Is there an opportunity for you to have an offer all ready to go, after they have sampled your service?
By having the offer ready it can simplify the process for your customers and for your business.
Now, it should be noted like all things in marketing that this approach may not suit your business or service. However it may be worth at least thinking about because the free and hope approach is tough on the bank balance.
As always, love to hear your thoughts on this.
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This article was published before and has been updated.