How Businesses Use Free Offers to Drive Traffic and Conversions
Whether it’s a brick-and-mortar business or a pure online one, giving customers something for free can attract more customers and lead toward more sales or other business goals.
To determine what is going to be good for your business, take a look at your business marketing goals. Do you want increased foot traffic? More clicks on your Google Ads? Higher purchase values for each transaction? More conversions per click? More leads for your database?
Free offers can help to enhance a great many of your marketing goals. For example, with your free makeover at the Lancome counter, you actually need to purchase their products in return for receiving the makeover. In fact, 60% of department store makeup counters use free offer strategies to drive business.
That free toy that comes along with the McDonald’s Happy Meal for your kids. The free ebook that you obtain from an SEO website. These are not simply goodwill gestures. They are designed to drive business.
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Free Samples for Increasing Purchase Values
No obligation sampling
Generally, if you are offering a no-obligation sample, you’ll need to have a lower-cost product with a high markup price. This will offset the amount you’ll lose by giving away free samples. Naturally, you’ll be in the hope that a great enough percentage of samplers will indeed buy your product. Also think about add-on products they might purchase at the same time. This can drive up the overall purchase costs.
You’ll see examples of no-obligation sampling in taste testing in supermarkets, free samples of the latest drink at busy train stations, and so on.
Free gift with purchase
Gift with purchase (GWP) offers can work triple time to convert customers. A customer could be more compelled to purchase an item if they get something for free, depending on the item’s perceived value. If the product is “good enough” they might go on to purchase the item in the future. Further, if it’s paired with a luxury item, the perceived cost of the GWP increases.
Examples of this include beauty products where you might receive a sample size of a different product upon purchase of a specific product.
Free win with every purchase
A mutation of the free gift with purchase, this free offer is one where every purchase receives a gift, but the gift and value vary. You’ll have seen these where the top gift is a car and mid-range gifts might be some headphones, with the bottom tier gifts of a particular song download. These type of “lucky dip” style free gift with purchase promotions might not be as effective as other types.
Free Downloadable Ebook, Case Study or Research Piece for Lead Generation
Many service-based businesses employ this tactic on their websites to capture visitors’ names and emails (and sometimes business names) to add to their lead databases.
They typically will offer things such as:
An in-depth ebook with specific information
An example is an ebook that covers some of the insider knowledge that a business uses themselves within the course of their own operations. For instance, a digital marketing agency might offer an ebook on the basics of online marketing. The ebook will be in depth enough to offer some actionable insights for the reader. However, it will also be positioned to make them realize how time-consuming the actual work of online marketing can be. This leads the reader to the conclusion that it would be better to trust the work to a digital marketing agency, such as the provider of the ebook.
A case study
Case studies do double duty when it comes to bringing in potential customers. On the one hand, if you are browsing a business website and you’re looking to see their work in action, you’ll be very interested in reading an in-depth case study of how they’ve already transformed another business. On the other hand, if you’re looking for case studies of, for instance, changing over a database system, and you stumble across their example, you could be interested in their business services if you decide their case study is too difficult to implement by yourself.
A research piece
Cold, hard facts and well constructed research pieces, including statistics with large sample sizes, can lead to trust in a business. In-depth research pieces can help to elevate a business to an authoritative source on a subject. As with case studies, visitors can find these research pieces as they’re viewing your site. Or people who are searching for the best evidence on a given subject could run across them, too. The Google page ranking algorithm incorporates a site’s authority rating into its calculations, as well.
Free Plays to Encourage Further Plays
Businesses in the entertainment sphere have long been using free plays as a manner in which to elicit further plays. This is particularly useful in the gaming sector. There are a number of ways in which you might have seen this.
Free tokens in mobile game apps to encourage purchasing them after
Games like Candy Crush are a free app, where a consumer gets a certain number of tokens each day to play for free. The games are highly addictive. Further, they have been designed with the perfect balance of free tokens to get you hooked. Once you run out of free tokens for the day, you need to wait to refresh them. If you don’t want to wait, you can purchase more at the shop, where they are often shown as big discounts for a high number of tokens, encouraging you to buy more because it’s “a good deal.”
Free episodes of a TV series to encourage you to continue watching
Our viewing habits have changed over the years. We now live in a TV and video watching environment where we can get content on demand. The majority of this content is not free, however. Often, streaming services will offer a few free episodes of a TV series to help to whet your appetite to watch more. Of course, you can purchase more on their site.
Free plays for a game or software to encourage purchase
With digital gaming, you’ve also got the free plays option. That is, digital game sites offer a limited number of game plays before requiring you to make a purchase. Software houses also offer this with things like a 30-day trial period to test out their software, and they lock the software after that time. Once the free plays are gone or the time is up, you need to purchase in order to continue. An example of this is free spins offered at online casinos, after which you’ll need to place money down. For example, you can check out No Deposit Friend, a site dedicated to free game play with the chance of winning real money.
Which of These Tactics Will Work for Your Business?
There are many different permutations of using free offers to drive traffic toward your business, as well as convert that traffic into actual sales. It pays to take notice of the free offers surrounding you both online and in person. If you notice similar types of free offers popping up everywhere, chances are that it’s already a proven marketing technique.
Be aware that not every free offer marketing technique is going to suit your business. For instance, that online marketing company down the road might offer a free ebook and have it bring in lots of customers and traffic. However, if you have an ice-cream shop, then an ebook on your website isn’t going to perform particularly well for traffic or sales. You are better off advertising free sample sizes of your ice-cream via online coupons.
To find out the best free offers that will work for your business, sit down and think about your business goals, your customer audience, and what might appeal specifically to them. It is only once you nail these things that you will be able to strategically craft your next marketing campaign with freebies as the basis. Your success depends entirely on whether or not you have your strategy outlined to the best of your abilities.