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The Almighty Freebie!
By Damian Bazadona   Printer Friendly Version

Yes, we've all seen these sites. Free! Free! Free! It seems like every site I go to these days offers something free. While at the surface it seems like a great concept, it is a technique that is most often not used to its fullest potential. Let's look at three ways to strengthen the ever-so-famous "freebie" offer.

Update your Freebie - Create Repeat Visitors
Giving something away free can definitely attract visitors. But giving something away free every week will retain visitors. By simply updating your freebie or offering a completely different item/service every week, you can take full advantage of interested viewers. One of the best examples can be seen at Web Site Estates, where they continually offer free PowerPoint templates and e-business resources at no cost to web site visitors. By updating their freebies periodically they are able to sustain a high visitor retention rate.

Let Your Freebie Represent Your Offerings
So you gave something away free. Has it increased the value of your brand to the recipient? Has it increased the recognition of not only your company name, but what your company does? Will the recipient remember to contact you the next time they are seeking a similar service to what you are offering? If you are a small business with budgetary restraints, like most of us are, you should be continually thinking of innovative ways of getting your name in front of the correct audience. While offering freebies is an excellent way to draw a response from a customer, it can often be costly and provide a poor ROI (Return on Investment). Successful freebies somehow encompass your brand and your expertise. I have seen some good examples that have ranged from software demo downloads to child safety products (http://www.fingerprintamerica.com). A key ingredient to a successful freebie is making sure it is representative of your company's core competencies.

Be Careful Of What You Ask For In Return
Many marketers are willing to give away freebies but expect a ton of personal information in return. Yes, it is important and smart for marketers to get some information in return for giving a freebie but you must beware of what and how much information you ask for and how that information will be used. I've had sites ask me to fill out a four page form and request all of my personal information (e.g., address, email, date of birth) just so I can get one of their freebies. What I found even more interesting is that they didn't even post a privacy policy. That makes me wonder where my personal information will be distributed and I made sure to leave that web site ASAP. In short, be fair in what you ask from your web site and always post a privacy policy when collecting personal information.

What makes for a successful freebie? In my opinion, it is knowing both your audience and how your product/service will fit their possible needs. The web has offered an enhancement to almost all of traditional marketing and for those of you who are offering free resources on your web site, you should constantly be thinking of keeping them updated. Remember, if a visitor takes advantage of a freebie once, you want to give them an incentive to return. This could be the perfect opportunity to form a relationship with an individual interested in your type of product/service.

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