If someone told you that you could increase your business and be more successful by giving away your products or your services at no charge, you probably think that they’d spent a little bit too much time in the hot summer sun.
While it may be true that for some businesses, especially the kind that have extremely high startup fees or costly products, giving away products for allowing trial runs might be cost prohibitive, for many businesses it’s actually a productive business model.
For example, you’ll find that in the software business there are many companies who freely give away a basic trial of their new programs, tools and apps. The thought behind this is that, once the free trial period ends, if a person has enjoyed the new tool or App enough they will be willing to shell out a few bucks to continue using it. Norton, one of the biggest and most successful computer antivirus companies, does this on a regular basis.
There are a number of companies that go even further and offer customers not only a free trial but a complete free trial of their software package. This of course is only for a company that has extremely high confidence in their product and believes that, once a potential customer is accustomed to using it, they will be an easier sell when the free trial program ends.
In order to help their customers make a more informed decision these same companies will send out a slew of reminder emails filled with tips and tricks that will make their tool, or program, work even better. As with the free trials themselves, this extra information and advice is meant to help the customer enjoy the product, use it more and, when the time comes, like it so much that they have no problem paying for it.
One of the best reasons to do this is to turn a ‘hard’ sale into a ‘soft’ sale. Once a person has used a new product or service and found that they like it, it’s usually much easier to convince them to purchase it then if they had never used the product or service at all. Even better, if a potential customer asks about a product or service that they haven’t tried yet, the company producing it can give them a free trial so that they can get unbiased answers to their questions on their own.
To say that this takes a bit of pressure off of your sales force would be a rank understatement.
As far as the exact products or services that can be given away for free, it truly depends on the product or service being produced, the cost to produce it and whether or not a free sample will have a persuasive effect on a potential customer. Some of the rocks and services that are given away for free on a regular basis include;
- Product information guides.
- ‘How to’ e-books or handbooks
- White papers that include copious amounts of valuable information.
- Smart phone Apps that include some features but not all of them
- Computer Programs that include some, but not all, features
- Blog articles with tips, tricks and advice for using a product or service
- Free samples
At the end of the day the more that you can give to a potential customer (without breaking the bank, of course) the better chance that you will convince them to actually cough up some cash and purchase your product or service.
If you have questions about starting a new business, how to attract potential customers or anything else in an entrepreneurial vein, please let us know and we’ll get back to you ASAP.