Most businesses offer free samples as a way to increase sales and introduce new products. Businesses want to interact and connect with you and offering free samples is there way to have you try there product out.
Free products are by no means a recent phenomenon. Department stores have been offering them for years and companies also distribute samples of products via the post. Likewise, pens, mouse mats and key rings are invariably found at exhibitions, and samples are also available within the pages of beauty and fashion magazines. Their purpose is to enhance brand image, “get the word out”, and to increase sales, but they may also act as bait for a commercial product.
The Internet has revolutionised the way freebies are obtained, and companies no longer need to bombard thousands of letterboxes in the hope that somebody, somewhere, will purchase their products. Web users can now locate samples and be selective over the ones that interest them. Furthermore, as more people get online, we see companies taking full advantage of the Internet’s popularity. As such, free stuff has become all the more common (a fact highlighted by the growing number of TV advertisements pointing viewers in the direction of free samples).
Every single day thousands of people from around the world are logging on to the Net for the very first time. Every single day tens of thousands of people from around the world are attempting to factualize their dream of running an Internet business from home and every single day, these same people are searching the Net for that ultimate product or service that will be their home business.
Would you love to be the one selling these same people the products and services that they need? You need to get these peoples' attention. You want them to visit your site but so does every other marketer out there. What you need is a lure... a bait! Surveys have shown for years that the one word that gets peoples attention is the word - free!
It does not matter how you say it, it always means the same thing - some item of some description is going to cost you nothing. You know it won't cost you anything and if it is something that you can use in your business, something that will help with some aspect of running your business, then you are more than likely going to take those few seconds to click on that link, fill in your email address, and grab your 'freebie'. You know you're going to do it if it's something that you want, so you know that others will too. A 'freebie' will go a long way towards gaining new customers. Offer them something for free that directly relates to your web site and watch your customer base grow.
How Free Works
One of the most powerful techniques available for customer acquisition is giving away a free product or service. You can see the success of this with companies like Google, Facebook, JBoss, MySQL, HubSpot (with their free WebSiteGrader.com), etc.
The trick to doing Free or Freemium business models right is to ensure that the product/service that you are giving away free is of very high value to the customer, which should result in both high customer satisfaction and a likelihood that they will tell others about your product/service, leading to viral effects. The usual temptation is to stop short of this, and take out the valuable features that would make the product interesting and valuable.
Another powerful effect of using the free strategy is that it usually results in a far larger customer base using the free products, who become proponents for your company. This expanded footprint or market share can have a huge effect on the price that acquirers or investors are willing to pay for your company, as they recognize that even though these customers have yet to be monetized, they represent a great potential for future monetization. Twitter and Facebook are two perfect examples of this.
Benefits of Free Samples
- Increase brand awareness by getting in front of buyers who might never have heard of you
- Increase potential for conversion, with a trial hopefully turning ambivalence into loyalty
- Increase traffic with access stages such as like our page, come in store, call our, etc
- Build your list especially if you require some engagement as part of the process
- Boost your reputation as a subject matter or industry expert
Effective Ways to Provide Free Samples
- Include your free sample in a goodie bag or hand it out at an event
- Offer your free product as a bonus, given away with a complementary product
- Offer your free product as a reward for a particular action, like subscribing to your newsletter or visiting your store
- Target your efforts by sending your free sample to key influencers in your target market and asking them to try it out
The key to making this work is to make sure:
- Your free product sample matches your audience or the product/process you are complementing. This might seem obvious but it is extremely important to make sure your target market is in the audience.
- You include enough of your product to be useful. You want low cost but do not provide something of no real use.
- The recipient knows how to use your product. Include instructions if it is not obvious.
- Make the next step easy with a special offer or instructions on where to buy.
By offering something free, people are more likely to give your business a try. And once they’ve been – assuming the experience was positive – they’re more likely to come back. We all know it’s harder to gain a new customer than keep a current one, and that buyers are creatures of habit. They go with what they know and feel comfortable with. Part of the challenge of a new business – or even an established business – is driving traffic (foot traffic to a retail location or traffic to your website). So now that your location is part of their consideration set, you’re much more likely to gain their repeat business in the future.
Way back in the good old days of the Internet you could find all sorts of free "stuff" online.
Everything from website hosting and email, to software and long distance phone calls came free of charge. Some of the free services survived, whilst most have long gone.
A few free services still exist on the Internet in today's more realistic dot-com economy and today rates as good time as any to take a closer look.
Log on to HotMail.com and get yourself a free email account you can access from anywhere on the planet you can find an Internet connection.
HotMail.com and Yahoo.com (with twice the free storage space of HotMail) rate as two of the most successful and long-lived no cost services left over from the "free" glory days of a few years ago.
Free File Storage
http://briefcase.Yahoo.com still ranks as the number 1 free remote file storage service on the Internet. Store up to 30 MB of files remotely for access and sharing from any Internet connection anywhere in the world.
Instead of lugging external hard drives around between office, home, and laptop, you can store them online in your own password-protected briefcase on the Yahoo high-speed servers.
A great way to back up and share files worldwide.
Free Website Hosting
Tripod.com allows you to set up your own website absolutely free.
They support their service with third party banner ads at the top of every page you display.
A great way to get started, but any serious entrepreneur will eventually want to get their own low-cost hosting account costing as little as $5 a month.
DotEasy.com presents an excellent alternative to Tripod.com if you want your own domain name and a year's hosting for only $25 a year.
Other free hosting services include: GeoCities.com, gurlpages.com, and myfamily.com.
Freeware and shareware, two ways software developers distribute their creations, either in a "try before you buy" mode, or as truly free software.
Many developers around the world create software for their own personal use but, lacking a huge buying market or the skills to sell the software, some of them just give it away or sell it for a nominal fee after you try it.
If you know where to look, you can get everything from graphics programs and website builders, to FTP programs and recipe books.
Log on to Download.com and Zdnet.com for two of the most popular places online to find software before paying full retail but make sure your anti-virus program is up-to-date and backup all your important files before installing any software.
Free stuff online will never disappear because, when appropriate, it represents the perfect way to start and develop a relationship with customers. Unfortunately, the "boom" days of the truly free online "lunch" seem gone forever.
If you are new to website promotion, you may need to know how this works. First, you need to read, and then you write about what you have learned. There is definitely no shortage of information on the web. Take the information and put into your own words, your thoughts and feelings regarding what you have learned through your reading, and experiences and knowledge of your own. Sit down and write from 350 to 700 words about what you think or have learned in this process.
When submitting them to article publishing sites for approval, make sure to add your website links in the author’s note, to link your website to other websites. Then when other website owners need valuable content to post on their website, you have gained the opportunity to put your link on someone else’s website.
They go to the article publishing sites to find good content, and if they like yours, you get a free link. Easy, and free.
You can join a power linking forum and get a complete list of article syndication sites to submit your articles to, or do a search of your own. You then can either submit your articles manually, or pay an article submission site to submit them for you for approval or do your submissions manually.
Take the time to correct grammar, punctuation, and sentence structure before submitting your articles, and be sure to read each sites rules for submission to insure your articles are considered for publishing. Some of them have some strict rules and guidelines, especially regarding where your links can be placed in the article. Most will only allow links in the author’s note box.
The next thing you need to do is set up a blog. This, too, is free. There, you can even post your very own personal journal. Do a search for free blogs to find the one that is right for you. Post your articles on your blog. It’s easy and fun to do, with copying and pasting from a word document. You can also post your photos on your blog.
To build your traffic, make sure you include a link to your main website near the top of your blog. The more content your blog has, the better the search engines love you. If you need more content than you can possibly write in the beginning, you can use articles others have written on the subject you are creating for your blog. Article publishing sites are full of good quality articles on just about any subject you may want to choose but you must always include the author’s note at the bottom, to give the author credit and the opportunity to have their link displayed on your site.
After you have given your blog valuable content, you need to “ping” your blogsite, so search engine spiders will find you. This helps to build your traffic to your blog. Then due to your link on your blog to your main webpage site, you increase your main website traffic. You can use “Ping-O-Matic”. It gets submitted to many different sites at once, and very simple to do.
Next, you can link your blog to other blogs by joining a bloglinking site. You get lots of free traffic, and other bloggers leave comments on your blogspot, leaving a link, and you can link on their blogs the same way to get free traffic.
A Great Business was planned that way!
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