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A weekly marketing column by Graham McGregor

Graham McGregor: Marketing with free stuff

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Photo / Thinkstock
Photo / Thinkstock

One of my favourite entrepreneurs is Dale Beaumont.

Dale wrote a thought provoking article recently on how to grow your business by giving away free stuff.

You can read the complete article here.

Let me pass you over to Dale to share some of the strategies he recommends in this article:

Here are three ways in which you can give stuff away for free and still grow your business.

1. Free Product
You can approach a supplier and order a couple of hundred items for a couple of dollars each. If you run a camera shop, offer a free lens cleaner.

Not with purchase, that's expected. Just offer it for free. Then when people come into your store and ask for it say, "Sure, happy to give you your free lens cleaner, but do you mind if I ask you three quick questions first?"

Now one in five will say no, so you just give them the product and you've lost $2.
Three will chat and not buy now, but you can get their email and add them to your database, which is cool. And one in five will spend $500.

Now you might say, "Well I sell to one in five already."

Yes, but do you have that interaction with the other 10 people that walk in your store? What if you suddenly had 100 people in your store and you did the same numbers? Your business would explode.

More examples: offer a free top-up of engine coolant if you are a mechanic, offer a free drink bottle if you sell bikes, offer a week's supply of vitamins if you are a health food store or offer a free biscuit bowl if you are a pet shop.

Do these cost money? Yes, of course they do. But talk to your suppliers and ask them what stock they can't move and buy this off them cheap. Or order directly from China and you can get product for peanuts.

Next time you are tempted to spend $2,000 on a newspaper ad, ask yourself if you want 10 buyers or 1,000 lookers. I'll take the 1,000 lookers any day of the week.

2. Free Information
It doesn't matter what business you are in, you are always in the information business. Why? Because people need and will seek information before they decide to part with their cash. Furthermore, they need to know why they should choose you as opposed to the scores of other businesses in the same space.

So to make things easy, let's stick with the same examples as above.

And again, it doesn't matter what business you are in, just apply a little creativity and it will work for you too.

If you are a mechanic, offer a free CD with ten tips to extend the life of your car.
If you sell bikes, offer a free workshop for parents and kids on how to stay safe on the road.

If you are a health food store, offer a free 'lose weight for summer' workshop.
For me, I run one-day business seminars for free and I have used this strategy to successfully generate millions of dollars in sales. So believe me, it works!

(Note by Graham: The one day free business seminar that Dale refers to is called 'The New Rules of Business' and is outstanding. He is presenting it in Auckland on Sunday, August 17th, 2014. (And throughout Australia as well.)

You can see the details here.

3. Free Test Drive
Normally associated with cars, this same strategy can be used by loads of other businesses. Said another way it's the classic 'try before you buy'.

Going back to our examples: if you sell bikes, tell your customer to take one for a spin, if you are a health food store, give people free samples, if you are a pet shop, invite people to take their favourite dog home for the weekend.

By doing this, not only do people get a chance to experience the benefits of your business, but you are also activating the principle of reciprocity.

This means that when you give something to someone, people feel compelled to want to give something back, which in this case means to buy your product.

Dales is suggesting if you really want to grow your business, give away more free stuff. By doing so you create trust, you can show the unique benefits of your product and as you give to others, people will want to give back to you.

"For it is in giving that we receive." - St. Francis of Assisi

Action Exercise:
How could you use this 'free stuff' approach in your own marketing?

Graham McGregor is a consultant specialising in memorable marketing. You can download his 396 page 'Unfair Business Advantage' Ebook at no charge from www.theunfairbusinessadvantage.com

Graham McGregor

A weekly marketing column by Graham McGregor

Graham has had 36 years 'hands on' experience in sales and marketing. He has sold a range of services including advertising, sales training, personal development, life insurance, IT services, investment property and business consulting services.

Read more by Graham McGregor

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