This word has long been one of the key attention-getters for PR agencies and marketers.
A quick Google search on the word “free” reveals that today one can get many things for free online — ranging from product samples, to eBooks, to trial subscriptions of services or publications, and much more.
Giving away products or services has been a popular marketing strategy over the years, but the key question is does “free” still work as a marketing or PR strategy?
The answer to that question is simple, or is it?
I’d answer the question with both a “yes” and a “no.”
Yes, giving away free items can be a smart marketing strategy IF it is planned carefully. A free product or service can accomplish several things for your business:
- Improve product awareness — giving away a sample of a product or service can make consumers aware of new or improved products.
- Build goodwill — giving things away can help foster goodwill amongst your prospective clients and keep your name in the public arena.
- Identify potential customers — a free promotion can help you identify and hone your target market for a product or service.
No, giving away free items doesn’t always work as a marketing strategy. Remember, today’s audience is already flooded with offers for free and discounted products. Simply giving something away is not a guarantee that you will get additional customers.
Here are some tips to get the most from your free offers:
- Make sure that the free product is a good representation of your company. Giving away a free pen or ruler with your company name printed on it may not do much to increase your business. (Remember, there are some items that practically everyone gives away.)
- Include complete company contact information with your free product. In this day and age, when consumers are flooded with offers having the company name on your promotional item is not really enough. Include the URL to your website and a phone number too.
- Consider using an opt-in with your free offer so that you can stay in touch. Provide an opportunity for the recipient of your free offer to sign up to receive additional information about your company such as a newsletter or future promotional offers from your company.
Have you used free promotional giveaways as a PR or marketing strategy?
How did giving products or services away for free work for you?
Share your experiences in the comments.