Product giveaways are huge moneymakers when correctly executed. They bring new customers through your doors, they solidify existing customers’ loyalty, they promote new services you offer, and they give people something to talk about – all key ingredients for a successful business!
There are two main ways to use free products in your promotions:
- Give away your own products or services – this includes free samples, buy-one-get-one-free deals, and free trials.
- Give away personalized merchandise with your company name – this includes promotional items like t-shirts, coffee mugs, pens, or tote bags.
What’s in the recipe for success? Patience and research! Whether you choose to hand out your own products or personalized merchandise, be sure to…
Make it known that you’ll have plenty of free stuff, but don’t make it ALL about the free stuff.
Freebies tempt potential customers, but you don’t want them showing up just for that. You want them to stick around and eventually buy more, right?
Right. So, when the time comes to advertise your giveaways, carefully write your copy. What’s the purpose of your giveaway – is your goal to promote a new service that isn’t as popular as others? Are you building your email subscription list? Find the root of your need and make 80% of your copy about that. The part about the freebies should make up the other 20%.
For example, instead of writing an ad that says, “Come in between 12 and 5 to get a FREE t-shirt,” try writing one that says, “Sign up for our email list between 12 and 5 and get a FREE t-shirt!” That way, customers will know they need to do more than simply show up to grab a gift. Believe it or not, I’ve seen companies make the mistake of shouting “we’re giving away prizes!” from the mountaintops without putting any emphasis on the end goal.
Don’t do that!
Free gifts or buy-one-get-one deals will almost always bring traffic to your store, but the trick lies in keeping them around after that. Advertise that you’ll offer giveaways for visitors, but don’t be shy about highlighting the reasons why you’re doing it. Most customers know they’ll have to give a little to get a little!
Seamlessly tie your products into your giveaways.
Which type of free sample would you expect in a grocery store: food items or hair care products? Food is the logical answer, because grocery stores primarily carry food. Freebies give shoppers the chance to try an item they might not have picked up otherwise, which ups the odds that they’ll purchase it after they’ve tried it. When you give away a completely unrelated product, though, then you’ll get too far away from the core of your business (and you probably won’t sell many products).
Think of the same grocery-store strategy for your business! Which product do you ultimately want to fly off the shelves? If you’re promoting a new software program, then offer people a free trial of the service so they can try it out for themselves. They’re getting a deal because they aren’t required to purchase the service to experiment with it, and you’re benefitting because the trial brings you closer to a sale.
It’s best to pair new products with existing bestsellers to spread the word. Offer a new product or service for free if a client purchases a different one – this is commonly referred to as “buy-one-get-one-free,” or “BOGO.” Or, even if you can’t do it for free, offer that service at a discounted rate with the purchase of another service. If the customer likes it, they’ll likely return for more (and they’ll probably refer a friend or two, too!)
Consider limiting your giveaways.
Are you working with a small budget? No worries; you can still run a giveaway.
To cut costs on your promotions and convey a sense of urgency at the same time, limit freebies to the first 50 or 100 customers (think Black Friday and doorbuster specials). Customers will flock to your store to claim their gift, and they’ll do it sooner rather than later.
Here are a few popular giveaway ideas for limited recipients:
- Gift cards to your store – Gift cards and certificates are essentially free cash for the customer, but they also urge people to spend more money. Think about it: how many times have you redeemed a gift card for exactly the face value?
- T-shirts and clothing – When I’m lucky enough to get my hands on a free t-shirt, then look out; you can bet I’ll put it on and advertise for you like nobody’s business! It’s in my nature, and I’m not the only one.
- Travel mugs or water bottles – You can never have too many of these, since people often misplace them. Choose a unique design or color to ensure yours will be the first one customers reach for in their cabinets.
- Seasonal giveaway items – Items like beach balls, blankets, or umbrellas can be huge draws, especially when they’re given away in the appropriate season.
Of course, these are only suggestions. First and foremost, you should give away products that your customer base will care about. People won’t go out of their way to stop by if you’re only giving away pens, but they will go out of their way to stop by if you’re giving away an item they can’t resist. It has to have a perceived value.
You can use freebies for online businesses, physical locations, tangible products, and intangible products – you just have to do you research!
Don’t forget the “runner-up” prizes for customers who miss the cutoff, either. Simpler items like tote bags don’t cost very much, but they’ll still make good gifts for latecomers!
Freebies work – plain and simple. I work for a promotional products company, where I’m surrounded by branded goodies all day long, but I still take any free product that’s handed to me. Personalized pens, sticky notes, tote bags…you name it, and I’ve probably got it at my desk. Why shouldn’t it remind me of your company?
How have you used giveaways for your business? Which promotions brought you the most success?