You walk into a supermarket and you’re approached by a very friendly shop assistant who is offering a free sample of cake. You feel a little bit excited. Everyone likes free stuff. So, how do you feel about this supermarket? A tiny bit more positive perhaps – more inclined to buy the product?
It seems to be everywhere now – businesses offering stuff for free. But why?
One of the primary benefits of offering something for free is that it generates traffic. The free product introduces the business and hooks likely buyers, with the result that the expense of handing out the free samples will be more than counterbalanced by the resulting sales. The big US companies such as Kraft, General Mills, Procter & Gamble, and Unilever think nothing of spending a couple of hundred dollars each day to set up a free sample stand inside a supermarket. But these costs are tiny compared to the good will that is being cultivated in the customers who are getting these free samples.
Creates grateful customers
When it comes to reaching consumers, free samples are often much more powerful, and much cheaper than traditional advertising. If enough people try the product then some of them will decide to buy simply because they’ve gotten a freebie and, consciously or not, somehow feel obligated to pay the company back. Researchers have discovered that shoppers who’ve received freebies in the supermarket are more likely to buy the products given away, and to even become loyal customers.
Positive brand recognition
By giving something for free, you’re investing in positive brand recognition. People love to get something for free with no strings attached even if the product is worth little. In fact, the word ‘free’ makes the product and the company or brand more appealing.
It has a positive impact on how they regard your brand and it makes people more willing to give something in return. For example, businesses will give away free eBooks or white papers in return for contact information. People are more likely to respond to a favour with another favour. Rather Inventive offer freebies in the form of their book, Be Sociable, in the hope that it will tell people a little bit about the business, and garner a positive attitude towards it.
If you’re a small business owner then the word ‘free’ can be a little scary. You’re in business to make money after all. But by now you can see that there are various benefits that free samples and giveaways provide. Sometimes the benefits are not seen immediately but are contributing to the positive perception of your business, but at other times the benefits may be more immediate.
So, how can you harness the value of ‘free’ to make your business more successful?
Photo credit: Myrtle Beach TheDigitel – FREE Samples