When Working for Free Can Work for Your Business

Giving Freebies: The Best Sales Technique… And the Most Dangerous, Too

People love freebies. You might love freebies, too. But as an entrepreneur, should you love them too? After all, giving away free stuff costs a lot of money.

Not all freebies are created equal. Some freebies aren’t really ‘free’, some are just trinkets slapped with a brand’s logo. Think free pens and calendars. It’s a good marketing idea for small businesses, but it’s so abused nowadays people think it’s just tacky. Then there’s a rare few that’s so valuable you’d wonder why it was free.

Creating something useful takes time and money. You provided people with something that can help them. You should receive something in return, right?

Sometimes, though, giving freebies is an excellent marketing idea for small businesses.

The trick is knowing when and how to leverage it.


To Gain the ‘Experience’ No One Would Give You

Experience is critical for everyone. If you’re a coach, you’ll need to practice your coaching skills with willing volunteers before you can convince others to pay for your time. If you’re building a product, you may want to release a few samples to get feedback from the market.

Just as you paid for your education, you can pay to gain experience by giving your products and services away.

Doing this helps you identify the glitches in your business. The important thing is not to overdo it. Know when you’ve learned enough. For service providers, that may be when you have enough testimonials to boost your credibility. For product-based businesses, that’s probably when you’re done with beta testing or gained critical mass—enough buyers to support the first round of production.

To Connect with Big Brands You Couldn’t Otherwise Work With

Big brands love charities and non-profits. So if there’s a Fortune 500 Company you’ve been dying to work with, try looking for a charity they’re involved in. Then give your services (or products) to the charity they’re also supporting. That gives you a chance to meet (or work with) some people from the blue chip company.

Your company’s name could also appear as a sponsor beside other big brands that sponsored said charity. Having worked or donated with such big companies legitimizes your business and gives you great exposure to people you couldn’t have reach through traditional means.


To Get a Job Title You Couldn’t Through Traditional Job-Applications

This works for employees and solo-professionals. Titles add prestige and credibility to your business, but how can you get a prestigious title if you don’t have enough experience for it? Volunteer. Strategically.

For instance, non-profits need a marketing director to guide their efforts in raising funds. You have enough experience handling marketing campaigns, but have never had a director position before. Well, now’s your chance to get that post. And besides the title, you’ll also get on-the-job experience no ad agency will gladly give you.

To Encourage People to Try Your Offer Risk-Free

This works well if you’re in a competitive market, and you want to prove that you have something better to offer.

When people have a trusted brand, they’re not likely to try switch— unless you give them a reason to do so.

This reason often comes in the form of a freebie. People are more likely to take a chance on something they don’t have to spend on. What’s the risk, right?

This is one of the reasons behind the freebies at Costco and the trial lessons at your daughter’s piano school. It’s one of the best sales technique there is. Even if you knew it’s being done on you—you can’t help it.

If a customer tries something, and he likes it, you have a new customer—one you wouldn’t have lured in because of the initial ‘risk’ involved.

Now Back to You… What’s Your Experience in Giving Free Stuff?

Have you ever been burned giving stuff for free? Or maybe you’ve had luck with other marketing ideas for small businesses?


© 2015 Incedo Group, LLC