Everyone who tells stories about Santa will always tell you that it’s not just about the gifts he leaves under the tree. It’s about how Santa is all about unconditional giving.
And in B2B marketing, this little Yuletide lesson finds its way in the form of freebie marketing. Like Santa, the ideal is less focus on the sale and more on giving to the customer, even thanking them for their continued patronage/partnership.
In other words, it sends a message to your target market in the hopes of strengthening your relationship with them (whatever form the freebie may take). They don’t always have to be in the form of physical goods either. Information (such as how-tos, FAQs, statistics) can just as much weight (if not more, given its role in B2B buying decisions).
But speaking of which, perhaps it is information that is truly the defining value of B2B freebies. They can answer questions like: What is it? What can it do? What can they benefit from it? Why are you even selling to them? Of course, the way these questions are answered vary depending on what’s being given away:
- Product Sampling – People try out products for one simple reason. Seeing the real thing’s more convincing than what pamphlets say. Also, learn to interact with them alongside your products. You can provide them helpful tips they won’t easily find on manuals or flyers.
- Flyers and Coupons – That doesn’t mean paper’s got no value. They may not show the real thing but they make up for it with a faster reach. Secondly, you can also throw in some bonuses or give incentives for seeing a live demonstration.
- Helpful Blogs or Articles – If you want another way to give tips and resources, why not use a blog? Not only do they help optimize for SEO, periodic updates can attract repeat visitors who are always looking for better ways to benefit from your business.
- Discuss in Forums – Ever see kids talk about the gifts they got from Santa? Marketing via forums is one way to describe that. If you really want to know how your target market thinks, this is a very direct way to have that conversation. It’s also a good channel for handling complaints and addressing longstanding concerns in your community.
- Share your Joy – Finally, Christmas is still a time to celebrate. If you want take to the focus of selling, a good way is to just celebrate what you’ve accomplished this year. Don’t hesitate to share how much you’ve sold or make solid promises to improve your company in the coming year.
Now before you go on your gift-giving spree, not that freebie marketing has two very common challenges:
You’re well ware that not everyone takes kindly to free stuff. Skeptics will always be sniffing around, looking for a catch. And in B2B deals, it’s more likely exercised by those who’ve been duped before so don’t blame them.
There’s also the risk of being too forceful in your campaign. That will not only scare your prospects but will also create negative feedback that has far-reaching consequences (e.g. social media backlash). One tactic that’s already being done to death is blatantly asking a survey in exchange for free stuff. Surely you can be more subtle than that.
You can start simply by having more transparency. Give them more information to address their skepticism. Assure them that whatever it is you’re asking will only be used by a pre-defined set of limitations.
It may be the season for giving but that doesn’t mean bleeding your business dry. There is the risk of sharing so much information, you end up eliminating demand.
Learn to limit the number of coupons, goods, or even downloads they can have. On your end, set an amount and calculate the costs the giveaways will have. Naturally, you’d want the benefits of your campaign to outweigh it. This gives prospects the incentive to actually spend on your business and ensure that you don’t end up throwing everything away.
If you haven’t noticed, even Santa is looking for something in exchange for the stuff gives away. He wants good behavior. It’s not so much to expect good customer behavior when you’re doing all the giving yourself.