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Are you looking to grow your business and want to reach out to more business owners? Are you looking for a strategy that will be shared virally? Have you ever offered a ‘free’ product or service?
One of the most powerful strategies a Social Media Manager can use for customer acquisition is to offer a ‘free’ product or service. The most successful promotions have been when the prospect perceives the offer as extremely high value, which leads to massive customer satisfaction. Below is an extract from my recent e-book ‘A Quick Start Guide to Becoming to Social Media Manager’ where I delve into ‘free offers’ in much more detail. Although this is particularly relevant to Social Media Managers, Consultants and Agencies, please read on as the following will give you a few ideas that you can offer no matter what business you’re in.
The Power of Free / Getting Your Foot in the Door
Never underestimate the power of free. It’s an excellent way of showcasing your talents and getting people interested in what you have to offer. I urge you however to be careful with this one. It’s all too easy to slip into a habit where you’re giving away more for free than you’re charging for. The main reason you’ll do this is lack of confidence and please don’t worry. You are not the only one. I’ve been there a million times when I’ve given away more stuff than I’ve charged for. I used to have an office manager who called me soft! Wow did she make my business more profitable. So the message here is you’ve got to know where to draw the line. Getting your foot in the door of a potential client is about desire and trust. Do they desire what you are selling and do they trust you. One of the quickest and easiest ways to do this is to through a free gift which will spike interest in your target market and let them know you know what you’re talking about. The goal is to position you as an authority in a really cool way, so that your potential client looks forward to speaking with you, rather than feels you’re going to pitch. No-one likes being pitched to. It becomes an issue if that free offer is costing you time or money on an ongoing basis. It should be a one time cost to put it together, then it should take care of itself. An amazing free gift by the way, is the one where you sell your services to someone who didn’t even realise they needed you! You know this yourself, if you’re walking through the shops and someone outside the bakery is offering free samples of cakes, how much more likely are you to buy. They’re allowing you to try out their product before you buy and in some cases, you’ll make a purchase you were never going to make just because they whetted your appetite!
That’s what a free compelling offer needs to do. To whet their appetite enough, they want to have further conversations with you. So what makes a great free offer? Take your pick! Here is a list of things you could create and give out / send out to prospective clients;
Free Report / Mini Book
This is ideal, as you can generalise and talk about the power of social media in business or you can hone in on one particular strategy which could produce great results for a business. All the while placing your contact details prominently in the report so they can contact you for further details. This is also something you can send out to local businesses or give out at business meetings / networking events.
Free DVD / DVD series
Similarly to the report / book, you could record 10 reasons why social media is great for your business, or focus on one strategy that creates an instant result for the viewer. Of course you’ll be using the video to also sell your services. This is a great idea and if housed in a nice DV case with a good cover will have a perceived higher value than a report / book, but will get watched by fewer people than those who will read a report. In fact, what I would do is to create the free report and have a QR code which they can scan in order to view a video online and get more information about your company and services. Then you get the best of both worlds! Or of course if your customers are online, you can create it in the good old internet marketing style, with an optin page and an autoresponder etc.
Invitation to Free Webinar
Very different to online marketing you can buy lists of local businesses from reputable list management companies, chambers of commerce etc. These aren’t spammy email lists, but actual addresses and names of CEO’s etc of businesses in your area.
You could them draft a letter inviting the businesses to a free webinar, which you would use to showcase your services and what you could do for the businesses. Remember though just like a webinar online, 90% content, 10% pitch. The goal here is to get the businesses to register for the webinar, so you of course get their contact details and can then follow up after the webinar. This is going to work great if you want to attract businesses out of your area also.
2 hour free workshop / 1 hour free consultation
If you’re very confident in your sales pitch, then this may be the way to go for you. A 2 hour workshop, held in a conference room at a local hotel or venue, where you invite CEO’s, MD’s, Marketing Managers etc from local companies, give them a presentation on the benefits of social media and then sell your services at the end. Remember to get their contact details so you can follow up! Or a 1 hour consultation. You would then go into the business and sit down with the business owner to run through their business. This is where you really would need to be super specific as you can’t get through too much in an hour. Either of these ways are great for local business and face to face selling is by far the best method, however, you must be careful as there are up front costs here, plus you’re spending a considerable amount of time, not presenting the workshop or doing the consultation but getting bums on seats or securing the appointment. So you do need to be very confident you can convert to go down this road. Although I will add a caveat to that. If you can get a presenting role at a local breakfast meeting or networking meeting etc, that may well be good use of your time. It would be down to you to judge whether it would be worth it. The only way to do that is to test it!
Free Social Media Audit / Free Social Media Strategy Plan
Again your exchanging a considerable amount of time here, so please be careful with this strategy, but it could also be very powerful. If you can actually present to a business where they are now and where they could be with your help, that could be enough to turn the business owners head. If you do this though, make sure you place a deadline on how long you’ll spend completing the audit.
Free Done for You Introductory Services
I’m talking about a facebook landing page, or a twitter background, or a YouTube channel. Depending on the package you’re going to be offering (Chapter 6), this may be a great foot in the door from which you can upsell to more services.
1. Think about the type of client and what would appeal to them the most 2. Decide on your free offer and how much it will cost you (so you can measure it against conversions and ensure it’s worth it) 3. Make it Happen! 4. Track it. Monitor how many books you give out, how many people visit your optin page, how many attend webinars etc and then monitor sales. It’s the only way you’ll know whether your free gift is working or not.
Has this extract given you a few ideas? If you need to attract more leads, think about what can you offer to prospective clients/customers. If you’re considering becoming a successful Social Media Manager, Consultant or starting your own Agency, make sure that you check out my latest ebook. ‘A Quick Start Guide to Becoming to Social Media Manager’
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