Are you giving free stuff away? If you are not, then you have a huge unfilled gap in your client acquisition strategy. People like ‘free’ We love getting a ‘free meal at participating restaurants, we love ‘free deliveries’. We may not need the items, but the lure of a freebie is irresistible for most people. The jury is out. We love ‘free’…. even when we don’t need the item, or it does not make economical sense.
It happened to me.
I have spent over £200 in 6 months on printer ink, just because I took the offer of a ‘free’ printer. I was so excited to receive my brand new printer and I knew all I had to do was ‘just buy ink’. I had researched the price of ink, at the back of my head, there was a warning voice saying, ‘this does not make economical sense’ but I ignored that voice and took the printer. It was free, so I reckoned I had nothing to lose.
6 months later. The free gift still makes me feel good about the brand, but it did not make economical sense. The sad reality is, ‘if I went back in time, armed with this knowledge, I would probably still take up the free offer’.
That is the power of giving away ‘free’ stuff, and you can use this same power to generate leads.
Most product based industries and businesses have learnt this simple trick, and consider this one of their most power marketing tools. There are numerous online platforms that are dedicated to giving away discount codes, information about freebies, competitions to win freebies and more. This is big business, even the big brands do this. Some time ago, Procter and Gamble gave away over 40,000 of its leading brands such as Duracell batteries, Pampers, Gillette. Each of those people who received an item has the potential of being a lifelong customer, contributing to profits of far much more than the initial investment of a free product.
I bet your are asking, ‘what does this have to do with professional services businesses?’
‘A lot’, I would reply.
IDENTIFY WITH AUDIENCE
Typical, professional services are reluctant to give out any part of their service, for free. I understand that. It takes years of studying and learning, investment into courses and conferences, unending hours of work, as well as building your experience to be able to do what you do. So why would you want to give that away for free?
I am not asking you to.
So how can you tap into this invaluable marketing tool based on freebies? The answer is simple. Give information out for free and generate leads in return.
Traditionally, professional service businesses rely on referral marketing by word of mouth or recommendations, or networking to get new business. This is mostly based on client satisfaction and reputation in the industry. Most professional firms will limit this activity to few key people in the organisation to lead this drive for new clients, typically the CEO/founder and/or senior staff members.
Some professional services would also respond to a RFP (request for proposals) and spend time and valuable resources developing a proposal for a single project or client.
Giving away information for free achieves much better results if it is done properly. Here are some of the benefits to giving away things for free.
Giving out free information can form the basis of a marketing campaign
Most professional services are unsure of how to market themselves on social media platforms. We all recognise the importance and exposure that social media can bring to our business. However it is sometimes difficult to determine what to post or how to run a marketing campaign on facebook or Linkedin. Building a campaign around a Freebie is a perfect topic and can connect you directly to potential clients with the specific issues your freebie addresses.
Giving out free information can form the basis of your social media posts
Your personal network on social media is a great source for referrals, so why not educate them on how to refer you, at the same time making it easy for them to refer you. You can post relevant free information in form of a blog post and write a post with a link, from your personal profile. This makes it easy for your network to share and forward thus increasing your visibility on Social Media. A local law firm, Curwens, used twitter in this way to educate followers on being careful when tweeting, adding a link to a blog post on their website with a case study. This caught my attention and exposure to Curwens as a caring well informed local solicitor. Guess who I will be referring if anyone I know is caught up in any case linked to social media usage.
Giving out free information brings you leads
The first step to gaining new customers is to drive traffic to a sales page. The sales page is simple, single page that gives away something, this is also referred to as a landing page. The freebie could be an ebook with relevant information, a useful guide or a discount code. The key consideration is that you have something that the web visitor wants badly enough, that they are willing to give up their email address in return for the freebie you have promised. That email address becomes a valuable lead for you to follow up and qualify.
Giving away free stuff is the carrot that kickstarts the conversion process from visitor to customer.
maintaining a blog or podcast series or you tube channel helps your website visitors understand the value you offer, and makes the conversion process much easier as they have learnt enough about your knowledge and how you work from the free information you provide
Giving away free information improves your visibility and fundability.
One of the key platforms for giving away free information is your blog. Through writing consistent, articles of value. you get better rankings on search engines and the potential of your readers sharing your posts. Increasing both your visibility as well as your fundability.
Before heading off to implement this marketing tool, it is important to have a simple framework in place. This framework will help you identify.
- A long term strategy for Free Information
- A short term strategy for free information
- The optional ways give away Free Information
- How to draw the line with the amount of information you give away
- Measuring and tracking the success of your campaigns