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Customer Attraction and Conversion: The Art of The Freebie

In the market economy, the customer is king. The decision to buy this or that product makes the difference between success or bankruptcy. Today, the focus on the customer is even more intense. The purpose, however, has changed. As such, our latest post “Customer Attraction and Conversion: The Art of The Freebie” sees Abigail Owens explain why and how to dose your efforts.

Customer Attraction and Conversion_the art of the freebie post feature image

Customer Attraction and Conversion

It is no longer required for a company to directly sell its products for money again and again. Some of the most successful business models, like Facebook, rely solely on the time and attention spent by millions and millions of people on the company’s website. As a result, companies trample on each other in order to be able to place their ads on Facebook to help with customer attraction.

 

How Freebies Work

Facebook, however, is an extreme success story and not the rule. Smaller companies and websites, especially those dealing in e-commerce, have another mantra – attract and convert. Disturbingly religious-sounding, this strategy involves attracting visitors to your website and turning them into paying customers.

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The way they do this is not very different from a method that by all reason and logic should cause financial loses, and not huge returns – by giving away products. Given on numerous occasions, these “freebies” have proven to be great brand ambassadors and great for customer attraction.

 

Customer Attraction and Conversion_the art of the freebie_Free Samples post image 1

Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/thedigitelmyr/6199419022

Moreover, by attaching free “rewards” to purchasing other products, customers are encouraged to buy more, surpassing even what they would have spent on the reward itself. By wrongly perceiving offers as being a better deal than they are or falling prey to the mystery surrounding a “freebie”, people are easily persuaded to spend.

 

A good marketing strategy goes around the rational mind and pushes trigger-words such as “free” or “bonus”. These play on the affective side of the customers and convince them that they are the primary winners of the promotion.

 

Studies have shown that people respond to price cues, meaning that they perceive something low-cost as being of an inferior quality. At the same time, in the absence of prices, free items escape this logic, meaning that you won’t have to invest too much in giveaways. The mere “free” nature of the rewards is attractive in itself – this is the basic premise behind this customer attraction strategy.

 

How to dose your efforts

In the online environment, promotion is generally much easier. Websites don’t need to give away entire inventories of soda cans or shirts with the company name on them in order to promote themselves. Instead, a wholly different set of tools can be more effective.

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Subscriptions

Being part of an exclusive club is everyone’s secret desire. The natural desire for a higher status is only strengthened if it comes with a few added bonuses such as an ad-free experience, primacy in shipping or other domain-specific privileges. The live streaming platform Twitch, for example, makes it so only subscribers can view past broadcasts.

 

Similarly, airlines offer “golden card” memberships to their high-paying frequent fliers. Being part of the higher echelon of customers, although it entails only a few advantages and an increase in cost, is something that has proven to be inherently attractive to most people.

 

Free e-books

E-books are a serious reward for the interested audience, attracting them to further commit to a site even if they don’t purchase anything. Usually given upon subscription to a blog or a similar website, e-books can offer information that can be used afterwards. Other use-oriented rewards such as free templates, guides or informative updates on certain topics, will also reward you with a community of grateful readers and professionals.

 

Contests

Social media is a great platform for promoting the image of your company and for increasing the traffic on your website and a contest is something every person responds to. The best way to captivate those who see the contest is to make it as simple as possible. For that reason, the most common ones consist of a simple question and reward participants randomly.

 

Due to their immediate attraction and reach, contests on social media go well beyond the target audience and might attract mostly people who want the reward and who will not be customers in the future. Simply put, there is no way of avoiding this. High levels of traffic entail the fact that most people will not end up purchasing your products and will only momentarily linger on your site. However, as you will only be spending resources on the reward itself and on the paid promotion, the deal is well worth taking.

 

Samples

Customer Attraction and Conversion_the art of the freebie_Discount Sales post image 2

Source: https://twitter.com/themoneyshop/status/747383737508257793

Offering samples or service trials is a common way of providing the customer with a direct experience. Food companies have understood this a long time ago and have promoted every new line of foods through this method ever since. In the online environment, the best example is represented by game developers such as Blizzard or EA. In order to widen their customer base and spread the word for every new game, the developers regularly offer free trials to their would-be customers.

 

Promotions

The classic “Buy 2 – get 1” or “2 for 1” promotional deals have come full circle in the minds of the customers. Wildly successful at first, they passed through a period of oversaturation until finally arriving as the traditional set of promotions that companies periodically do. Despite being so widely used (or because of it), this type of promotions still triggers an emotional response from the customers.

 

Coupled with knowledge-based ways of attracting new customers, these tools can make up a powerful marketing strategy, all for very low costs. The most impactful method, however, requires a mix between audience-specific promotional deals and geo-location ads.

 

Maintenance Work

Customer-oriented marketing efforts, coming in the form of contests, promotions and other giveaways, are a necessity even for large corporations. Maintaining an active community or fanbase requires constant attention. However, you cannot let it overtake your usual activity, particularly if you offer services. Consultants, lawyers or advisors, for example, commonly give 30-minute sessions to potential customers. But they stop at that, as free case-work would only add negative reports to their profile.

By offering rewards to your customers, you will also improve your image in front of them. Corporations do it all the time because eventually, a good public image leads to more sales and thus higher incomes, outbalancing the initial costs. The trick is to not have to keep giving away products, but to familiarize your customers with your website and get them to promote it in turn. Customer attraction is one thing; conversion is another.

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About the author, Abigail Owens

Abigail Owens is a career coach and e-commerce consultant. She has worked as a social media specialist for various e-commerce brands and over the course of 5 years she has perfected her business skills, graphic design skills and UX/UI skills.

Dan Purvis
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Dan Purvis

Founder & Director at Communications Axis
Dan Purvis is Director at Comms Axis, a digital marketing agency specialising in content, social media & website services for businesses of all sizes. He is also a Media Champion for the Alzheimer's Society, helping spread awareness and understanding of this cruel disease.

Dan Purvis writes for a number of leading business, social media and marketing sites, including Smart Insights, MarketingProfs, Marketo, MarTech Advisor, Marketing Tech News, MarTech Today, MarTech Exec, and Business2Community. Dan's also ranked by Brand Republic as one of the Top 50 UK Marketing & Social Media influencers.

Dan is passionate about the philosophy behind Comms Axis: we bring content, marketing and sales together to connect businesses with their audiences.

We pride ourselves on delivering tangible business value and ROI alongside excellent customer service. We work with a broad range of clients and industries, from B2B to B2C, from technology to cosmetics, from start-ups / SoHos to pan-European and global brands.
Dan Purvis
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3 Comments

  1. Once again, a very informative post from you Dan. Been a long time reader of your blogs. Thanks for sharing this!

    • Dan Purvis Says:

      Thanks so much, Kathleen – very kind comment indeed 🙂

      Let’s catch up via Skype sometime soon: dan.purvis77

      Speak soon!
      Dan

      • Sure will do Dan! Hoping to see more of your articles in the future. Keep up the great work.

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