If you believe in it, do it for free
I overheard something on a podcast the other day concerning how to raise the profile of your business quickly and the answer both shocked and enlightened me.
“Do it for free.”
A few years ago I was trying to order some new hiking boots. I’m really particular about what I hike in and got into a discussion with a small business who I thought would offer what I needed. The engagement level from whoever was on the other end of the Twitter account at the time was speedy, informative and humorous. Needless to say, I bought the boots. Already a win for the business.
However, upon delivery I noticed they had included a new water bottle as well. “Thanks for the shares!” read the note. Needless to say, the first thing I did was share it online.
One small act of engagement from a simple query added quick marketing value and positive brand exposure. They then followed on with this through (what I imagine was) a relatively cheap gift which gave them another bite at the cherry as well as create an ambassador for their product. If I’m asked about my opinion on boots, they are the first company I mention. And I include their hashtag on any hiking trip I take. That’s guaranteed impressions for the life of the boots (and probably further).
The ROI on what that does can’t be measured, but the brand impact is huge.
Giving away free business or products to people is better advertising than any billboard or newspaper ad. You could even argue it’s better than targeted social media advertising. People are more likely to listen to a recommendation from a friend than an impersonal advert, so if it only costs you a few dollars/pounds/euros what difference is it going to make to your overheads?
Whilst giving away everything for free is a hard sell for any small business, giving away items with sales is a good way to turn a customer into a marketing tool.
And with that in mind, here is my new deal.
From now on I’m offering free consultation on content marketing.
I’ll help you come up with ideas, a simple content plan or just feedback on ways you can improve your storytelling. Seriously, no catch. No “free trial for a month and then pay me a fuck-load of cash”. I love telling stories, finding awesome content and getting people to share their passion, and I want to do it in as many ways as possible.