Who doesn’t love the promise of free stuff? It’s better to give than to receive, but here, you can do both. Your business can attract new customers and dominate the competition when you follow the free stuff strategy.
Win More Customers with the Free Stuff Strategy
Fact: Your customers love getting free stuff.
It doesn’t matter if it’s from you, the business down the road, or your closest competitor – when a business offers something for nothing, customers are quick to notice and take advantage. You can make that your advantage by putting the free stuff strategy in place at your business.
What is the free stuff strategy?
The free stuff strategy is a method of offering a small item or service at no cost to the customer with the intention of increasing customer satisfaction and sales. Small businesses can benefit from this type of strategy more than larger companies (the more customers you’ve got, the higher the cost of all that ‘free stuff’).
Shep Hyken, renowned customer service expert and New York Times’ best-selling author, believes strongly in the free stuff strategy. He’s talked to several business owners who have seen big, measurable results from the simple act of giving small things away to customers.
The small part is important – you don’t want to go bankrupt in your attempts to create some extra value for your customers. After all, you can’t serve them well if your business is shut down. Shep says every type of business in the B2C and B2B sectors can find something small to just give away. Sometimes, you just have to be creative.
Here’s an example he shared in a recent article about the effectiveness of the free stuff strategy:
“…Chris Zane owns a bike store in Connecticut. Known for his amazing customer service, one of Chris’s tactics is to not charge the customer for anything that costs less than a dollar. For example, a customer who needs a master link, which is a small part that holds the chain together, doesn’t have to pay for it.
Zane says, “The cost to me is virtually nothing. We’re not going to chase the pennies — we’re looking at the long-term effect of giving someone a master link. And you should see the look on people’s faces.”
It turns out the tactic of free costs Zane less than $100 annually. A small price to pay for loyal customers who are worth thousands of dollars over time.” -Shep Hyken from “Free Can Be a Great Customer Service Strategy”
Decide what to give your customers
Every business can offer something small for free. If your products or services can’t be given away, think smaller. What about a free trial? Could you use a rule like Chris Zane above, who doesn’t charge for items under $1? Can you find something your competitors charge a small additional amount for, then offer it to your customers at no cost?
Get creative and you’ll see that there are tons of options for things to give away as part of your free stuff strategy.
For example, we are a virtual assistant and virtual receptionist provider, two services many small business owners don’t have experience with. That can create a sense of trepidation, so we offer our customers two freebies that remove the barriers of trying us out: New customers get a free 30 day trial of our services, and we waive the setup fee for new signups (normally $125).
When deciding what to give your customers, keep these two questions in mind:
a) What do my customers find value in?
b) What can I afford to give away?
Implement the free stuff strategy
After you’ve decided what item or service you want to give away, you’re ready to put the plan into action. You’re going to enjoy your customers’ reactions to learning about the free stuff they’ll receive, so make sure to take an active role in implementing the strategy. This will help you feel confident that you’ve made a profitable and smart business decision.
As you put your plan into action, don’t forget to carefully track the cost and frequency of your giveaways. That’s how you will judge the effectiveness and merit of the free stuff strategy.
Measure your results
After tracking your costs and the frequency of free-stuff giveaways for a month and comparing to past months without the giveaways, you can measure your results to determine how effective the free stuff strategy has been.
If your business operates online, consider giving customers the option to fill out a very brief survey upon checkout. This will allow you to get a better sense of each person’s reaction to the free stuff strategy. Leaving space for user feedback might reveal something to you that you hadn’t considered.
If your business is established in a brick-and-mortar building, you’ll easily be able to the see the results of implementing the strategy – big customer smiles, looks of shock, increased word of mouth advertising, and customers adding more items or services to their total out of appreciation.