Chick-fil-A’s wildfire success can be attributed to any number of principles: high-quality food, well-treated employees, consistent commitment to excellence. Possibly one of the more unnoticed secrets to their success is the restaurants’ generosity with their free samples. How many times have you walked by a mall store to find a smiling employee holding a tray of piping-hot chicken nuggets? The delicious aroma made it impossible to turn down and then subsequently impossible to not make a larger purchase.
This same principle is true to digital marketing success. One of the fastest ways to convince people to pay for books, e-books, on-line courses, consulting services, or anything else you have to offer, is to display attractive content for free. When people download your freebie, not only do they create opportunity to be added to your email list to stay connected, they’re able to receive immediate value from you that can lead them purchase something else.
If you can’t convince people to accept something for free, good luck trying to sell them anything.
So if you have a boring freebie offer, I believe your business will always struggle. The free offer is your chance to showcase your service or product on a small scale so they can expect the same level of excellence (or lack thereof) in products purchased.
While content marketing has been around for over a decade, we regularly see the same mistakes:
- Promoting free content with boring titles and cover images. No one wants to sample a nugget that’s cold, appears undercooked or being offered by a surly employee. Your title must be intriguing, and your cover art must be eye catching. If no one is downloading your free stuff, then your offer needs to be changed immediately.
- Burying free offers at the bottom of websites and social media pages. The free offer must occupy prime real estate on your marketing sites. Poorly placed promotions = no promotion at all.
- Missing the chance to upsell. When someone accepts your free offer, they are naturally more inclined to make a purchase or stay connected with you. Always display an inexpensive upsell at the end of your free content. You’re giving the reader a logical next step to take.
Free samples won’t help drive digital sales unless you make a concerted effort to get them noticed. Fortunately, there are several ways to promote your offer inexpensively or at no cost:
- Always make your freebie the focus on your website. No one should visit your website without being offered your freebie MULTIPLE times. Display various signup boxes, use pop-ups, create landing pages, etc.
- Drive traffic to your free offer using social media. Post links once or twice a week to your free content using your various social accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc.).
- Buy advertising that promotes your freebie. While organic promotion is ideal, it’s typically not enough to significantly grow sales by itself. Purchase ads on Facebook, Google Adwords, on similar websites, with like-minded bloggers, etc. The short-term cost could easily translate into long-term sales by adding them to your list and selling to them again and again.
The best thing about using free samples as marketing is you can immediately tell if it’s working or not. People will either feel enticed by them, or people will choose to ignore them. Either response makes your next steps clear. If you get good response, play up the freebie even more. Post the offer on more web pages. Buy more advertising. If you get a weak response, head back to the drawing board.
Don’t hesitate to kill a free offer that doesn’t get quick results. It’s better to keep searching for a freebie that will run like a thoroughbred than to keep riding a lame horse. The quality of your free sample will determine your marketing success.
Anybody know where the closest Chick-fil-A is?