From zero to over a million dollars in sales yearly.
What marketing strategies can help a small business achieve such a feat?
While several marketing methods can increase sales, Jell-O used freebies to scale its revenue from zero to several million dollars in a few years.
The instant gelatin producers offered free printed copies of their recipes to customers who didn’t know how to make instant gelatin, leading to exponential sales of its product.
As a business, you may not have the budget to sponsor massive marketing campaigns.
But here’s what you can do: try out these five small business freebies ideas we discuss in this article that’ll likely cost less than half your marketing budget.
- Before creating small business freebies, know this…
- Five Freebie Ideas Small Teams Should be Trying Out
- Practical: How You Can Create Freebies for Your Business
- Wrapping Up
Before creating small business freebies, know this…
A business freebie isn’t only a way to reward loyal customers. There’s an underlying business goal to achieve with it.
Businesses exist to make a profit, and this can be through maintaining a client base and reaching out to new prospects.
Free offers, thus, extend to these two goals.
You can inspire loyalty, maintain your client base (through rewards), and reach out to new prospects by providing free offers that position you as a thought leader or increase your brand awareness.
What makes high-value freebie offers?
We’ve found that Freebies + Brand storytelling creates a ripple effect on sales while cutting down a chunk of your budget.
This is because the best freebie offers aren’t just there for the sake of giving back or rewarding your loyal customers—they focus on solving your customer’s needs, using your story as a baseline for this.
Girlfriend Collective, a wear brand, gave out its latest leggings for free to customers who shared the offer on their social media platform.
It made over 10,000 sales in the first month, not only because of its irresistible offers but because its story was in place—how they turned used plastic containers into leggings and ensured it was fair trade-certified.
We could also argue that including a time limit to your free offers can impact the results you get.
Customers’ perception of scarcity can affect the value they place on a product.
For instance, if a first-class flight ticket originally costs $5,000 and suddenly sells for $3,000 on a time-limited discount, customers are likely to grab the offer because of the perception that it’s hard to come by (Hello FOMO).
Girlfriend Collective also understood this, as it integrated the idea into its free offer, which created a sense of urgency.
In creating free offers for your business, asking customers to complete an action should also be one of your priorities.
Unless you plan to reward customers without having a goal, tie actions to reward.
You can contact and ask them to share the free offer on social media like Girlfriend Collective did.
Some other ideas you can use are:
- Request for follows on your social handles
- Ask for an email address
- Ask to fill out a survey
- Request for app download
You can add more ideas to the list but ensure the actions link directly to your business goal, like increasing the number of email subscribers.
Five Freebie Ideas Small Teams Should be Trying Out
In running a business, you want to look for ways to increase results with fewer expenses.
Here are five tried and tested free ideas that can improve your sales without much financial exposure.
1. Free quality Products
On the list of free offers, giving a free product has one of the best effects on the customer and your company.
The customer gets to test the quality of your product without paying a dime.
However, there are even more advantages for your company.
First, offering free products creates attraction (pulling in leads), which is the first part of inbound marketing.
You can generate interest in your business and attract new customers who may not have tried your product.
But this can be particularly effective if it’s valuable to your target market.
Here’s the twist: You’ll almost always get brand awareness by offering free things.
However, the type of brand awareness matters, be it negative or positive—product offerings that are quality and add value to your customers can ensure you receive the deserving awareness.
Perception is an overarching theme when it involves buying decisions; people mostly purchase because they have confidence in a product or service.
But what better way is there to show that people can trust your product, make a purchase, and become repeat customers, other than with good brand recognition?
2. Free Video Courses
Like Gigworker, offering free short courses on subjects around your services can establish you as an authority.
Another brand that does this is Hubspot, an all-in-one CRM software tool for marketers and sales teams.
They offer free courses across several sectors that address their target audience’s personal pain points.
This positions them as a go-to resource for most marketers and salespeople, creating a trust-based relationship and boosting sales chances.
Most businesses avoid this approach because creating high-quality video courses can be time-consuming and somewhat expensive—it’s true.
But weighing the long-term result to present suffering, we’ll say it’s a good investment.
3. Free Templates
Humans consistently try to find easy ways to do recurring tasks, like making a content calendar, writing a business plan, drafting an email, and more.
While this is a driving force for AI and technology, it also creates a space for innovations like templates.
A template is a pattern for creation – a plug-and-play model.
It’s one of the most popular free offers you’ll find amongst most businesses because it costs almost nothing to make one, and well, customers are looking for an easy way to do something.
In creating a template, the most vital factor is the customer because you’re trying to produce a pattern to help them create something, solve a problem, or handle a task they find boring.
However, you might not be able to know all these without a proper customer survey.
A customer survey is a method of collecting data regarding how customers interact with your business, what inspires their buying decision, and anything you’ll love to know to improve your processes.
Creating a template with these data points can give you an edge over designers since the market for designers is saturated with templates.
We’ll discuss more in the practical section.
4. Discount Codes
This is another widely used free offer where you provide customers a code to get a percentage off for goods they buy.
The good thing about discounts is that you can offer them without losing anything.
For instance, a shoe brand produces its latest sandals and expects to sell them for $100.
A good discount strategy will be to publish the buying price at $120 and promise a 20% discount, which doesn’t affect the original price.
But, as always, for discounts to produce the desired results, you should be able to make customers perceive urgency.
If your brand sells quality, selling this perception shouldn’t be hard because your customers already value your products.
Time-limit sales are another way to make your customers perceive urgency.
Because they trust your product’s quality and know it’s worth paying over $100 for, they’ll gladly take the discounts so they don’t miss out.
5. Free Checklists
Like web templates, checklists help with tasks, show resources, solve problems, schedule and organize steps to achieve a project or personal goal.
Offering a free checklist customers can download is a subtle way to sell the perception that you care about them being organized.
For example, as a travel brand, a perfect free checklist idea will be about travel packing.
This is because people are most likely to forget stuff when they pack for trips, so creating a free checklist they can use as a guide when packing can put you in front of their minds.
However, creating checklists will require understanding the needs surrounding your business that most customers face.
Here are some ideas and brands they apply to:
- Free home purchase checklist – for real estate brands
- Free daily garden checklists – for garden tool brands
- Free business startup checklist – for consulting brands
- Free daily self-care checklist – for healthcare brands
Practical: How You Can Create Freebies for Your Business
We’ll provide actionable steps to create your first free offer and some free tools you can use in the process.
Step One: Start with the Customer Survey
You want to offer free stuff that customers will gladly accept, but you can’t do this without knowing what they need.
For example, offering a free checklist might not produce the desired results if your customers prefer a free template.
The goal of free offers isn’t just to offer something free—it’s to give something VALUABLE for free.
Free, on its own, can relate to being worthless, but including valuable and quality as its other properties changes the customer’s perspective of the offer.
Here’s how you can create a survey:
- Define your survey goals: Determine the specific information you need to gather from your clients and how you will use that information.
- Create a list of questions: Develop some questions to help you achieve your survey goals. Ensure they’re clear, concise, and free of jargon.
- Choose a survey tool: You can use a free tool like Google Forms, SurveyMonkey, and Typeform for free surveys.
- Design your survey: Generate a visually appealing and easy-to-navigate survey.
- Test your survey: Test it to ensure that it’s functioning well and that there are no errors.
- Send survey: Send the survey to your clients via email, social media, or your website and encourage them to participate by offering incentives or rewards for completing the survey.
Step Two: Analyze Survey Results
After collecting survey responses, carefully analyze them to identify patterns and find common needs.
To do this:
- Organize the data: Organize the survey data by creating a spreadsheet or database.
- Review: Check for any missing or inconsistent data and correct any errors.
- Analyze: Use statistical analysis to interpret the data. You can use a free tool such as Excel, Google sheets, or R to analyze the data.
- Identify patterns: Identify patterns in the data by looking for common themes and trends. This will help you understand the key insights and take action based on the results.
- Conclude: Draw conclusions based on the analysis of the data.
Step Three: Create Quality Free Offers
From your search findings, you can determine what types of free offers to create.
However, tie those findings to your goals.
Your goals might be to appear as a thought leader, increase brand awareness, or boost your email list.
For thought leadership goals, you can create free courses or host webinars.
Some free branding and design tools for creating free courses and videos include Canva, Headliner, FilmoraGo, FlexClip, PowerDirector, and Livestorm.
For brand awareness or to boost your email lists, you can offer free products, free fonts, templates, free legal docs, PDF guides, free logo design, checklists, free SEO, discount codes, etc.
Step Four: Publish and Promote Your Free Offers
This is vital because creating free offers that don’t reach the required audience can produce little or no results.
After creating your free offers, the best place to publish them is on your website because you want to drive traffic that you can convert to possible sales.
However, you’ll also need to promote these free offers.
There are four ways we recommend that work effectively.
- Social Media: Promote your free offers by posting on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn for free.
- Email: Generate and send out an email to your email subscribers promoting your free offer. Ensure you create a catchy subject line and include a clear call to action.
- Influencers: Reach out to influencers in your niche and offer them free products in return for a promotion.
- Word of Mouth: Encourage current subscribers or customers to share your freebie offer with friends and family.
Freebies, when done right, can help you achieve goals while saving some money from your budget.
Some freebies you can use to improve sales, boost brand awareness, and appear as an authority include free video courses, templates, checklists, and discount codes.
However, understanding that making these free offers quality and value-filled is as vital as offering them.
So, if you want to get desired results using freebie offers, spend time researching, creating, and promoting them.