free-giftIf you are offered something for FREE to which you know that there are no conditions or obligations attached, would you refuse it?

Never! Most people are only delighted to get something for nothing. It is such a rare occurrence these days that most people instinctively ask, “What’s the catch?”

When they discover that there isn’t one, they quickly line up to take advantage of the free offer. Now many business owners look at the cost and say that they can’t afford to just give stuff away. Their immediate thought process runs to

“Imagine how much money I could make if I sold that stock or charged for that service, it doesn’t make sense to give it away!”

Or does it?

Stay with me for a moment and I will let you into a powerful little secret behind growing your business through free offers.

Drawing Customers to Your Business using FREE offers

Free offers are all about drawing customers to your business. Here’s an example of how this worked for an Australian businessman. He had a dream of starting a tennis club. So he built several courts, installed barbecue facilities and a swimming pool. At the end of this he had fantastic facilities but he had no customers. So he placed an advert in the local newspapers. For a month he offered free use of the tennis courts, free tennis lessons, free use of the swimming pool and barbecue facilities. Almost overnight his place was booked up, people came and experienced the facilities and loved it. By the end of the month he had customers, and lots of them.

He could charge more than other tennis facilities but his customers didn’t seem to mind because they had experienced what the tennis club was about. They appreciated the extra value they got from the barbecue and pool facilities and were willing to pay for it. You see the free offer was the draw card that got customers to his tennis club.

He initiated customer loyalty by first offering them something for free. He understood the lifetime value of a customer. He knew that once they experienced his product they’d be willing to pay for it. So the cost of offering the facilities for free paled in comparison to the revenue he was able to generate from those customers over the following months and years.

Here are a few tips on how to develop a marketing campaign based on using a free offer to your customers:

  • Sit down and brainstorm ideas on for free offers. Think of what your customers really want. What will draw them to your business and turn them into loyal customers?
  • Next consider what limitations you will put on your offer. Will it be only 100 items, will it be for a weekend, a week or a month? Think of what period will be long enough to draw in huge volumes of customers.
  • Now consider how you are going to get the message about your free offer out to your customers. Are you going to hand out flyers, place adverts in the local newspaper, put big signs in your shop front?
  • Consider how you are going to cope with the volumes of people that will come in. What systems do you have in place to ensure that they have the best possible experience? You may have to run special training for your staff.  Make sure everyone understands clearly your promotion objectives and knows how to assist customers.

The interesting thing is that when you get something for free, even if there are no obligations attached, something inside of us feels gratitude and wants to reciprocate. So the natural reaction is to say thank you by making a purchase.

Customers are also more likely to tell their friends and family about free offers because they want them to benefit from them too. Possibly the most difficult aspect of business is attracting new customers. It is time consuming and expensive. But offer customers something irresistible, offer them something for free, and you not only have their attention. Most often you will have their loyalty as well.