Blog from Maribeth Kuzmeski of Red Zone Marketing
If you create a surprising offer, people will pay attention. If you offer something of real value for free, people will listen (and oftentimes share with others). In fact, “free” can convert price shoppers into loyal clients. This is the model that online print company Vistaprint used to generate over $500 million in revenue in 2009. The “free” offer the company makes has a certain appeal to their target market: small businesses. While these companies need printing, they’re often very cost-conscious customers. So Vistaprint offers 250 business cards for free, with a nominal $5.67 shipping and processing charge. Today, 66 percent of Vistaprint’s business comes from returning customers. In the first quarter of FY 2010, they acquired 1.4 million new customers—many who started with a free order. Yet most printers would never make an offer like this. It is giving it away!
What could you offer for free that is of value that people want and also would introduce them to your firm? What would make you stand out in their minds? I know a financial advisor who gives away an investment organizer to everyone who attends his educational presentations. It costs him $7.00 a piece for the folder organizer and then he emails the accompanying organizer document to fill out. He says it has been the key to getting clients to remember him over other advisors and he ends up doing business with more than 55% of those who have his organizer. That results in an insane return on investment and a business with gross sales over $1,000,000. Not bad for free!