Giving stuff away has always been an excellent marketing strategy. We’re all familiar with this because who among us hasn’t seen the “Buy one, get one free” deal? Since we’re primarily dealing with online strategies sometimes there’s nothing for your visitors/consumers/people who love you to buy right on the spot. So…what can you do for all those interested people?
Just because you’re not selling anything directly doesn’t mean you can’t get something in return for giving. Pretty sure that’s a karmic law. Oftentimes, brands and businesses can give away products or services in a limited quality before an event to generate more interest and revenue later on. It sounds counter-intuitive to give something away in roder to receive something but this is a concept that most definitely extends to online marketing.
To give an example of what we’re talking about, let’s say you have a new book coming out. Traditionally, the route would go as follows:
1. Promote book through ads, digital buzz, traditional media
2. When book comes out, people (hopefully) buy book
That’s pretty simple and there’s nothing wrong with that formula. However, if you gave away a few copies of the new book in an online contest you most likely would find people who would be willing to spread the word about how awesome you are AND how awesome the book you wrote is. That is significantly more useful than the $6.99 you might have gotten for one copy of your book. Why? Well, people who get stuff for free LOVE to tell other people that they got stuff for free. The more people who have a copy of your book in their hands the better the exposure.
When I was working at Apple one of the best things I noticed they did (and they did plenty of bad things too) was put a premium on converting regular old consumers into active promoters. Apple loved having people who bought their products telling other people who didn’t already own those products how great they were. They realized a long time ago that it was far more important to foster a sense of brand loyalty then selling as much as possible as fast as possible. Of course, they still wanted to sell as much as possible but what they really wanted was a whole bunch of employees who they didn’t have to pay to hock their goods. If you’ve ever owned an Apple product and showed your family and friends how amazing it was then they’ve already gotten to you.
While Apple doesn’t really give stuff away for free (they have enough buzz to never give anything away) it’s still a wonderful tactic for brands and businesses who say don’t have as much clout as Apple (hint: that’s most of us). So remember the next time you give something to someone: Give and you shall receive.