Offering your product for free may seem counter-intuitive, but it could be just the right strategy to spur sales and growth for your small business.
Let’s just state right up front that giving away your product and/or service isn’t the right tactic for every small business. If your start-up costs are high or your product margins too small, it’s probably not the path for you. But, according to Janine Popick, CEO of VerticalResponse, giveaways can be a legitimate strategy and an effective way to spur sales and growth for many small businesses.
Free trials, for example, are commonly seen in the software industry. Typically these are reduced-function versions that you can try for a specified amount of time, and they often require that you provide a credit card upfront.
However, Popick notes that some companies display the ultimate confidence in what they offer by providing the full version of their product or service for free – no credit card needed. And that practice, she says, can turn what might have been a tough sale into an easy sale.
Not only does that remove the pressure from the sales process – just tell prospects to try the product for free to see how they like it – it also culls out the people who aren’t really serious about buying. That frees up your sales team to focus on serious, more profitable opportunities.
But what do you do if it’s just not practical to give away your product or service for free? Popick suggests other adjunct giveaways such as:
- Initial service consultations
- Free samples
- Guides or how-to handbooks
- Exclusive content or tools related to your business
These types of giveaways demonstrate your commitment to providing value to your prospective customers throughout their entire buying experience.
Lauren Simonds is the Managing Editor at Small Business Computing.
Adapted from Give Away Stuff for Free and Grow Your Business by Janine Popick at Small Business Computing. Follow Small Business Computing on Twitter.