As you probably already know, owning a brand, there are many different ways that you can go about marketing it to people online. One of the less conventional ways that a few brands have tried out over the years is to give their products away for free literally.
This means that instead of investing in conventional ways of marketing, they are depending on customers falling in love with their product not only because it is free but because they genuinely like and use it.
If they use it, they will start to share the good news, come and tell their friends, and end up paying for it at some point because they will come back for more.
Of course, if you are in the business industry, you will know that nothing is truly for free, which means that the brand is surely losing out big time as a result, right? However, giving away free products as a business can actually make you money in the long run.
Let’s take a look at some of the brands that are doing it best and why you might want to pick up this marketing technique for your own brand.
Not that long ago, the world of fashion was taken by storm briefly by a company called Girlfriend Collective. This leggings company had a unique business model that they had adopted – a direct-to-consumer business model.
Not only were they fair trade and using recycled plastic bottles to make their leggings, but they were also giving them away free. They said that if you shared a link to their website on your social media networks, they would give you a pair of leggings for free. This could be considered a pretty smart move.
In fact, it was proven to be so clever that they broke Facebook’s share button. If your brand is a startup, then this kind of publicity is huge, and it made sure that there were backorders for their leggings long after their free promotion ended.
Before this leggings company decided to launch its free promotional strategy, they had been able to garner a little bit of hype around their brand, but nothing particularly substantial.
However, after their free promotion had ended, they had been written about by all kinds of different fashion writers out there who were not only interested in their unique product but also the unique approach to selling it.
Of course, their strategy basically resulted in them taking up a large amount of space on the Internet, and most of it was positive. This was a relatively easy way for them to hype their product up and for people to give an honest review of the quality.
Girlfriend Collective theoretically didn’t give away their leggings without there being a benefit, as through their products, they were able to encourage people to market for them, which some brands end up paying thousands for.
This actually ended up being beneficial for the branch to the point that they made a lot of money from it, and of course, saved on marketing.
Testive is another good demonstration of how giving away something for free can end up actually making money. Instead of using the limited-time promotional method that was taken on by Girlfriend Collective, this company chose what is called the ‘freemium’ software approach.
Testive, as a company, prepares students for their ACTs and SATs. Of course, there are many companies out there that help students prepare for their exams, but the fact that they were taking a free approach to this software really made them stand out.
There are two different types of products offered by Testive, and one of them is basically a promotion for the second. The first is free software that has been developed to compete with other free testing software out there.
The second service is a personalized coaching software, which comes at a great price, which means that it is a lot cheaper than many other coaching services out there. Of course, it cost the software company a lot of money to develop its features, but these expenses were marginal compared to giving it away.
They knew that as long as people were using it and were benefiting from it, this was bringing exposure to the brand, which ultimately was increasing the brand’s credibility online.
This is a clever marketing technique because it means that the company can speak for itself and stand behind its products while getting their consumers to back this up.
It’s no secret these days that everybody wants something for free. This is just the reality of the world of business. So, what makes MailChimp so special then? They give a vision of their software away for free, which means that any of their clients can have an account with 2000 subscribers, and they can send out 12,000 emails each month without paying a cent.
Think about it, though. If you are benefiting from using software like this, and you think it would be worth paying for their premium service, then naturally, you are going to upgrade it.
If you have a relatively small brand that you are trying to grow even bigger, and you know how difficult it can be switching over software, especially when you have established yourself already somewhere, then you are going to upgrade to MailChimp’s premium service.
MailChimp is smart for giving away their service for free initially, with basic features. This is because they know that their clients will get to a point with their company growth where they have no choice but to upgrade to their premium package, and this is where they make their money.
They are not losing out all that much by giving away their basic features for free, and it is a great way to get a foot in the door with their clients without really having to work for it.
The last example of how giving away stuff for free can actually work is Principle Northwest. However, keep in mind that Principle Northwest is a little bit of a wildcard. It is still a pretty small brand, and it is a regionally based security company. This means that they have a lot of competition from security companies out there that are more established.
This is why they have found it pretty helpful to give away their software for free. They tried through a limited offer to give away free security systems. However, those who received a free security system had to sign up for a three-year monitoring contract with them.
This is a really smart move on their behalf because it allows them to get in the door with their customers initially and establish customer loyalty without asking them to pay for anything.
It is also a smart move because this is the type of software that people use for a long time, so they know that giving away something free in the beginning isn’t going to cost them all that much, especially when the result is a loyal customer who is with him for a long time.
So, there you have it – four compelling examples of companies giving away their product for free. While you might not be at a point in your business life yet to be giving away a lot of products for free, you can certainly see why it is such an effective method for some companies.
As more and more brands become digitalized and more choose to develop a service that their clients can use online, giving away your product for free isn’t going to result in too much of a loss for your brand.
What it could end up doing is creating a loyal customer base, who can generate a lot more revenue for your brand in the future.