It can be very helpful to offer free materials to prospective or current customers via an email promotional blast or as a download from your website.
This builds and cements business relationships and positions your company as one that offers value and is worthy of trust. It’s also a way to capture contact information for future sales efforts.
Retailers can offer downloads with product tips and advice to their customers; while business services can offer advice and experience information.
But this can be subtly undermined if the “free” information is flimsy and a waste of time.
For example, I recently received an e-blast whose aim was to have me send for a white paper. It was on a subject I was interested in and didn’t know that much about.
I signed up for the white paper. When I received it, it was a one-page list of tips. They were okay, but I could have guessed at most of the tips they gave. That wouldn’t have been so bad, but they advertised a “white paper.” So I was expecting something more in-depth. I wanted to see some examples — some case studies — of how their services were applied.
The purpose of a giveaway is that the receiver has a very favorable impression of your firm, so that when you do follow up, they will be more receptive.
A flimsy giveaway does nothing to soften the reception the sales rep might get when he does follow-up.
The irony is that it’s not that hard to give away something valuable. But you do have to dig deep and do some serious thinking about it. Remember, you are sitting on a treasure trove of experience and expertise in your business. Use it.
Easy Web Tip #11: Always make sure your Internet giveaways are substantive and give real life insights you’ve gleaned from your business experience.