Is it Time to Plan a Giveaway?

It’s a story that has become social media legend. When Kraft was preparing to release its revolutionary water enhancement product, the company chose traditional television advertising but combined it with a new way of marketing: social media. Using Facebook, the company offered free samples of its product, Mio, to the first 100,000 Facebookers who “liked” its page. Word of the giveaway spread through mommy blogs and Facebook status updates until the product was soon on its way to 100,000 consumers.

By giving away 100,000 of its $4 bottles of flavor enhancer, Mio was able to get its brand in front of hundreds of thousands of users, including the 100,000 who liked it and their friends who saw that like on their news feed. When compared to the price of full-scale TV, radio, internet, and print advertising, the cost to the company was a screaming deal.

Giveaways are becoming well-known among SMBs as a surprisingly affordable way to realize the value of word-of-mouth advertising. By offering a free sample in exchange for publicity, you’ll be able to quickly build your online presence and allow people to try your product or service. Some may not be instant fans, but many will like what they see and send return business your way.

Before you plan a giveaway to promote your product or service, here are a few tips to follow:

  • Start out small. Your business likely can’t afford a giveaway the size of the Mio campaign. Experiment with one giveaway at a time to stretch your marketing campaign.
  • Cross promote. Promote your campaign on your company website, your other social media sites, and in your offline promotional materials.
  • Work with bloggers. There are numerous bloggers and review sites willing to try your product and review it if you send them a freebie. By offering free products, you allow these reviewers to give your product a try and recommend it to others. Be warned, though — by doing this, you aren’t guaranteed a good review.
  • Don’t forget shipping. When calculating the cost of your campaign, be sure you factor in shipping. Consider this when deciding which of your products to offer as free samples.
  • Bring customers back. When you ship the free sample or provide the free service, provide a coupon for future products or services. If the customer likes what he or she sees, you may see that customer again.

One of the best ways to win a customer is to give him or her a taste of what your business has to offer. By offering free samples, you get a chance to win a customer’s business that can make you stand out in a competitive marketplace.