*This is a collaborative post.
There’s a useful saying that’s been popular in the corporate world for decades: you need to spend money to make money. Before you head down the entrepreneurial path, you must first accept that investment will precede any profit. If you’re not willing to risk the resources you currently have, then you won’t get the opportunity to earn considerably more.
This brings us neatly to the topic of free offers because they certainly cost you money. In return for nothing immediate or guaranteed, you provide value — and if you use offers properly then that value won’t be gimmicky or insignificant. So why bother doing it? Because of the long-term benefits. Free offers can lure prospects in, giving you opportunities to win them over.
But you need to use them correctly. If you don’t, then you’ll just be distributing value that never returns to you, making it a complete waste of time. Possibly worse than that, in fact — it could make people less interested in buying from you. In this post, we’re going to look at a few ways in which you could use free offers effectively. Let’s get to them.
Service-based businesses run on long-standing commitments, which is the biggest reason why you’ll so often see a huge and prominent disparity between monthly pricing and annual pricing. The latter will typically be drastically cheaper than the former because getting someone locked in for a year will often lead to them sticking around for much longer than that. Furthermore, having just one chance each year to go elsewhere will reduce the practicality of switching.
People are generally reluctant to make such major commitments, though. They’re worried that they’ll end up missing out on better alternatives if they do. And then there are the types of service that can cause physical, mental or monetary harm in the blink of an eye: consider healthcare companies, investment firms, and online casinos. Even using such a service for a single day is something that deserves serious thought.
Using free offers can show immense confidence in the value of your service. How? It’s simple. Providing significant value up front by giving things away will show your conviction that your fundamental business model is rock-solid and you’ll make that value back soon enough. On the topic of gambling, see how the best slot sites scrap to have the best sign-up bonuses: not all slot sites are equal, of course, and early ‘generosity’ can mark one as a step ahead.
If you’re running more of a standard eCommerce operation, then you’ll want to use free offers not to get people hooked but to prove to them that your products are worth their time and money. One of the core problems with online retail is that there’s a major trust gap: in other words, a notable disparity between what you can claim and what people will believe.
You can say that the hat you’re selling is comfortable and hard-wearing, but how is the reader to trust you? If you were running a physical store then they could simply try it on, but you’re not — and online evidence (largely descriptions, photos, and reviews) can be misleading. Descriptions can be riddled with falsehoods. Photos aren’t always representative. Reviews can be fake.
By offering a free sample to each new customer, or adding free gifts to your orders, you can give people tangible experiences of your products. Giving out things for free will cost you, yes, but how strongly do you believe in the quality of what you’re selling? If you genuinely think it’s fantastic, then trust that your free offers will earn you some lasting attention.
Your loyal customers are also your most important by far. New customers don’t generally stick around. They place one-off orders, spending only modest amounts, and forget to leave reviews. When someone does stick around, it means something: the more they trust the strength of your brand, the more they’ll buy from you, and the more frequently they’ll recommend you.
Using free offers, you can reward and reinforce that loyalty. It’s fairly simple. Whenever a customer reaches a milestone (three years since their first purchase, for instance, or a certain amount of overall spend), you can give them something. The simplest route is to provide relevant discounts — giving them a permanent 5% discount on something they regularly order, for instance — but you could also just ship them some kind of reward.
Free offers can be extremely effective at winning people over and keeping them loyal, but only if you use them properly. Keep these options in mind as you tweak your strategy.