Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Marketing Tip: 1 Simple Idea That Makes You Nice AND Gets You More Business

Key Tip: If you want to make more money, be NICE!

Okay, that probably needs a little more explanation, but it's not a hard concept.

It surrounds you giving away free samples!

My Reminder about an Old but Good Tip

I went to grab my toothpaste, and I realized that my tube didn't have anything left to give.  Usually, I go to where I stash my extra toothpaste.  However, I saw one of those small boxes you get from the dentist when you visit.

When I go to the store, I usually find the cheapest toothpaste I can find, as long as it has that American Dental Association (ADA) label.  I don't know whether that is really important, but I don't really want to take chances with my teeth.  Otherwise, I get the cheapest one possible.

Besides price, this is the ONLY thing that usually matters to me when I'm buying toothpaste.
It's not like I was looking for excuses to switch up my toothpaste brand.

This small box, however, was an "Advanced Formula" version of a major brand.

I guarantee that I would have NEVER considered buying it.  It doesn't look THAT much different in the box, except for the higher price tag.

When I tried this toothpaste, however, I really sort of liked it.  I liked the taste, and it somehow psychologically makes me feel like I'm doing a better job of cleaning my teeth.  (That's probably something I need to figure for another post. :)

Next time I visit the store to buy more toothpaste, there is a really good chance that I will spend this extra money to buy this "Advanced Formula" toothpaste, a product that inspires about as much passion during the buying process as deodorant.

I never would have considered it if I never got that free sample.

It's hardly a new idea, but it did get me thinking.

Giving away Free Samples in Your Business

Obviously, your ability to give away free samples depends largely upon how expensive it is for you to give away things.  If your profit margin is only 1%, then you need to sell an additional 100 items for each free sample you give.

If your profit margin is high enough, then you can probably afford to give away more samples.

Otherwise, you might have to be more selective about who receives your free samples.

As a consumer, free samples seem to have the greatest potential to affect my shopping actions when...
  • I would not try your product or service, otherwise.
  • It's been a while, and I'm curious--now that you brought this to my attention.
  • I know people who might benefit from what you are trying to offer.
I try to apply these in my business.

Not Trying My Service, Otherwise.  As a marketer, I might give away something that either only costs me my time in labor or cheap to purchase.  This blog is a perfectly good example.  I am giving away advice that can really help the reader.  I completely understand that many readers will "read and leave," but it provides a service without any risk.  There are people who talk to me strictly, because they liked what I wrote.  Otherwise, they never would have known TO start a conversation with me.  I have a FREE blog to thank for that.

Reminders = Possible Opportunities. Buying is often first a decision; then it becomes a habit.  Sometimes, we stop our habits without really knowing why.  This is a perfect time to reacquaint by saying something like, "Hey, it's been a while...Let me send you a sample of my newest stuff."  If they liked what you had to offer in the first place, your free sample can easily remind them to restart the habit of buying from you.  "Why DID I ever stop buying from these guys?"

If I've been doing business with you, I might offer to do a free blog post or a free press release, if I think that you are likely to be reminded about how impressed you should be with my work.

NOTE: If your product or service is substandard, your free sample will remind them why they stopped buying from you.  So make sure that your free sample advertises something good.

Referrals = More Advertisers...and Buyers. Most people do not know who I am, but if I get the sense that you know a lot of people, I will offer something of mine for free.  I will make it clear that I am hoping that you will want to refer me, because you're so impressed.  I know that what I offer is THAT good, but I want YOU to experience it--not just hear me tell it.  I WANT you suggesting me to other people, even if you never buy from me.

NOTE:  I do NOT want to encourage you to coerce somebody into referring you.  Besides being the "wrong" thing to do, lukewarm referrals will not help your business.  You want people to refer your business ENTHUSIASTICALLY--not reluctantly.  Make sure that the free sample you provide CAN WOW your ideal client.  (Free--alone--is NOT a good enough reason to "Wow" him or her.)

I like to be nice and help people, and when I give free samples, I know that I'm being nice.  It's also a really intelligent thing to do...when it's done intelligently.

Do you ever give any free samples?  What do you give away?  What has worked for you?  What hasn't?

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