There’s nothing like a flash sale to keep the malls packed. Everyone loves gifts, and freebies and discounts are not much different. The quality of the freebie doesn’t even really matter; it will still act as a marketing tool. If an item is free, a customer attaches the lowest expectations to it. And so, the minimum compliance with quality will already elicit chipper emotions.
However, if you’re not careful, a freebie promotion can be open to abuse. For example, Netflix once offered a one-month free trial which only required some credit card information. While a third of those who get free trials will likely pay up, it is still prone to abuse from users who can use multiple accounts to continue getting free service. Streaming services are now moving away from free trials.
Nonetheless, freebie marketing can be beneficial to your brand if used correctly. All it requires is research and careful planning to get back what you’re giving away.
A Three-Point Strategy to Get More Returns
Despite the term, freebies are more than just giving away free stuff. “Free” or “discount” tags won’t work if there’s no strategy behind them. Each giveaway should be an investment. Here’s how to make them count.
1. Make It Seasonal.
The key to increasing revenue is seeing the opportune time to plant seeds. Look for your market’s needs during each season and choose one which you can do something about.
People remember time in patterns. Seasons are the four basic patterns we’ve used to divide moments in a year. Thus, seasonal promotion can establish a brand association, so your brand can be remembered by consumers for a certain period.
In addition, by solving particular issues for the customer, your brand will always be remembered positively.
2. Employ suppliers you need or the services you already use to maintain your business.
Your freebies don’t necessarily have to be from your own product line. You can also offer free products or services from your suppliers and partner brands. In doing so, you can further increase viewership.
Also, by using suppliers that are already integral to your logistics, you don’t have to add monumental costs just to offer freebies. You can even lower expenses by asking discounts from your supplier, or setting a special deal, in exchange for the exposure you’ll afford them.
Typically, brands accomplish this by offering repairs by a partner establishment. This is also an effective way to keep your brand needed even after the purchase has been completed.
3. Keep add-ons and freebies in line with your business and target market.
Nonetheless, if you’re collaborating with other businesses for freebies, make sure to limit them within your industry. This can further establish a brand association.
Let’s put the three-point strategy to work with an example. Among the seasons, winter can be most destructive to valuable property, such as houses and cars. During winter, hailstorms become a street hazard for people, especially in states like Colorado and Minnesota. They cause a major inconvenience by damaging cars parked on the driveway. From 2017-2019, there have been a total of 2,769,362 car insurance claims due to hail.
So, if you’re in the automotive business, you can use this to your advantage. Car dealership companies can collaborate with repair shops for a service discount. For customer purchases meeting a certain amount, car dealers can give away discounts on hail damage repair services at their partner shops. It’s a win-win for all.
How Freebie Marketing Could Fail: The Extreme Couponers
In 1887, Coca-Cola discovered the American consumer’s golden ticket: a coupon. Often attached to a product, a coupon is a piece of document that can be redeemed later for discounts or freebies. It’s a simple strategy based on reciprocity. Customers love free stuff, and consequently, the brands get a loyal following. For an average consumer, this should work.
But there are consumers out there with an above-average passion. They can turn the weekend couponing habit into some sort of extreme sport, where the businesses lose.
To hook customers, aggressive marketing was used for the earliest coupons. They were almost everywhere. Aside from the product shelves, they were in almost every daily newspaper and magazine.
For shoppers in the 90s to early 2000s, there were so many coupons to go around. With some planning and devotion, they could really get the bang for their buck. And some people did. Sometimes referred to as “extreme couponers,” these shoppers plan months ahead, scouring the best coupons out there, trying to save as much money as possible. In one shopping session, extreme couponers usually save $500 to $1000. Brands and supermarkets learned the hard way, and so recent coupons have gotten less generous.
To be fair, the dedication extreme couponers put into the task is something to be lauded for. Many of them also donate groceries to charity.
Taking care of business is like taking care of relationships. With just some occasional freebies and giveaways, you can make your customers feel appreciated.