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Sell More By Giving Things Away
By Don Cooper   Printer Friendly Version

As we all know, the most powerful four-letter word in marketing is "free." Everybody loves getting something for nothing. Two stories recently shared by seminar participants illustrate how guerrillas capitalize on this principle.

The first example was related by an attendee who drove to the seminar with two colleagues. On their way to the seminar that morning, they found themselves, at one point, stuck in traffic next to a Snapple delivery truck. They jokingly called out to the driver, who was unloading the truck to make a delivery, "Hey, how about some free cases of Snapple?"

"Sorry," the driver responded, "I can't do that." "But," he continued, "I CAN give you three bottles." He quickly handed three bottles of Snapple to the stunned occupants of the car, smiled, and walked inside the building to finish his delivery.

The result? As the attendee told the rest of the audience, "I'm going to buy a lot more Snapple from now on!" Three bottles of Snapple costs the distributor around a dollar. For a miniscule investment, that driver created three customers for life, not to mention the positive word-of-mouth they're generating.

The second story was reported by the friend of a pet shop owner. She said that he put up a huge sign reading "Free Puppies." Naturally, when people pick out their "free" puppy, they have to purchase puppy food, a puppy bed, food and water dishes, treats, toys, leashes, and more. Customers typically spend more than a hundred dollars to outfit their new pet.

The pet store also has relationships with a veterinarian, a fencing contractor, an obedience school, and a cleaning service. In an example of what guerrillas call "fusion marketing," each refers the other and helps up-sell the customer: the vet recommends premium dog food, the obedience school recommends more frequent house cleanings during shedding season. And it all starts by giving away a puppy.

What can YOU give away to encourage people to buy from you? Here are 25 ideas:

  1. Samples
  2. Accessories
  3. Last year's edition
  4. Information--white papers, magazine articles, surveys (Forward this e-zine to a client or customer.)
  5. Gift certificates
  6. Children's toys
  7. Fruit baskets
  8. T-shirts (I'll do anything for a t-shirt. Well, almost anything.)
  9. Ad specialties--pens, notepads, coffee mugs, calendars, etc.
  10. Photographs
  11. Software
  12. Music-live, or recorded
  13. Books
  14. Magazines
  15. Referrals (If you help your prospects find new customers, they'll buy everything they can from you.)
  16. Community service
  17. Refreshments
  18. Consultations
  19. Bumper stickers or window decals
  20. Publicity
  21. Textbook covers
  22. Event tickets
  23. Candy
  24. Pre-paid calling cards
  25. Lottery tickets

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