An age-old way of drawing people to your business is offering something free. The tactic still works online to bring people to your website and gather leads. Freebies work like a magnet to get people on your site and share their personal information. Then, you can reach out to them in the future and show them why you’re the best at what you do.
The principle of reciprocity states that when you offer people something for free, they are much more likely to feel beholden to you. This works to draw people to you and turn them from browsers into customers. Give them a free guide and when they need what you’re offering, they’re much more likely to consider your company than another.
There are numerous benefits to you, current customers and potential leads when you offer freebies. Here are some ideas for how to use them to draw people to your site and the ways they benefit you and your visitors. We’ll also look at some case studies of sites using free items successfully.
1. Free Estimates
Offering something as simple as a free quote brings in new potential leads which otherwise might not take the time to contact you. No one wants to pay to find out if they can afford your products or services. However, when you offer a free estimate or quote and do so with warmth, then consumers are much more likely to contact you. Once you have their information, it’s easier to work with them and find a solution for their needs and in their price range.
Caliber Collision offers free estimates on one of its navigation panels, highlighting its willingness to provide a free quote to potential customers. You can get started online by filling out a few quick details, and then the company will set up a time to look at the damage and provide a free estimate.
2. Stellar Content
Don’t overlook the value of adding content for informational purposes or entertainment. Around 90 percent of business-to-business (B2B) content marketers indicate they place their target audience’s need for information over their own desire to get out a promotional pitch. Content shows potential customers you understand your industry thoroughly and understand client needs.
Adding a blog to your website is a nice start, but also pay attention to the content you offer on your About and landing pages. You must give the user enough info for them to make an informed decision without giving away every secret you have.
3. Link to Local Resources
Users often look for local resources first. Doing business with someone located in the same area where you live makes sense because if something goes wrong, the issue is more easily taken care of. For home improvement projects, car repairs and similar services, a local contractor is a must. One way you can achieve regional linkage, even if you’re a global company, is by teaming up with businesses that are willing to carry your product or expand via franchises.
Look at how glass.com teams up with local service providers and offers information to anyone landing on its page about glass professionals in the area. The headline reads “Find a Local Glass Pro,” and it breaks down the type of glass you’re looking for, such as auto, windows or tabletops. The user then inputs their zip code and is taken to free estimates from businesses in their area.
4. Offer Videos
Most consumers would like more video than brands offer at this time. About 87 percent of people indicate they want more videos from their favorite companies. There are several ways you can use videos to draw people to your brand. Offer lessons on YouTube that point the user back to your website. Upload a short video to Instagram. Livestream a demonstration on Facebook. The key is to always to attract people to your website and include an incentive if they sign up or place an order today.
5. Planning Guides
Some businesses naturally lend themselves to helping consumers plan ahead. For example, if you run any type of travel-based website, wedding-related venue or another event service, then a guide helps people check off things to do and gets the user organized. Guides should be written with the intent of saving the person precious time and resources by pulling all the information together in a single place.
The Sightseeing Pass is a travel-based company offering bus-based sightseeing tours in major cities around the world. It highlights its free planning guides on the home page and then breaks down specific guides for certain cities, such as New York or London.
If you sell a service or software, one resource you can offer is a free trial so the person can try your product before investing big bucks in a long-term commitment. This type of offering works well for gyms as well as software companies. Of course, the idea is that once they try your service, they will be hooked. Make sure you have everything perfected before offering a free period. Customer service should be stellar.
If you are going to offer a free trial, don’t make it hard if people choose to cancel. Canceling should be as easy as signing up, or fewer people will take advantage of your offer. Consider things through the eyes of the consumer. It should benefit them more than you or they’ll just see it as a spammy attempt to lock them into a service they don’t really need.
7. Complimentary Samples
If you sell a tangible product, complimentary samples may be the way to go. The user can try out what you have to offer before buying a larger package. This method has worked for restaurants and bakeries for years as they hand out sample bites of a favorite dish to passerby on the street. You can take this concept online easily by offering a sneak peek at software — with limited functions or watermarks — or send them a small sample of what you’re selling.
Baskin Robbins and most ice cream stores offer free small samples of their products, so the buyer can seel if they like a certain flavor. They have small pink spoons and will give you a taste of whatever flavor you’d like to try. Different types of products may require more creativity or a small charge for a sample. For example, if you sell picture frames, you might send a small piece of one so the person can see the quality of the wood. For flooring, you might charge a $1 fee for a small sample of the material. Get creative with your samples and see how far they take you.
Only Give Away a Little
Once you start offering free resources, it’s tempting to give more and more to your fans. However, understand that giving away too much can work against you as the person no longer needs what you’re selling. Give away a little so they get a taste of your brand, but hold the best things back. Think about what benefits the user without damaging your company. Offering information on how to use your product or items that enhance what you already do is smart business.
When in doubt, ask your team for feedback on what freebies you’re considering and if they think it’s too much or too little. With a bit of practice, you’ll drive people to your brand without losing them in the end.