Guest post by George Nielsen
“Free” is a powerful word in business. It’s how Google penetrates new markets (Gmail, Google Drive, Google Fiber, etc.) and how Burger King showed the world its fries didn’t stink anymore (remember when they gave out free fries? That was a while ago!). But the word “free” shouldn’t just be a word that benefits the buyer, there are powerful ways to use “free” in your own funnel to generate leads, specifically with free-giveaways.
Get Creative with your Lead Magnets
Ever had a booth at a business expo or conference? Having to compete with hundreds of other booths to get the attention of walk-by traffic is no easy task. The Draw Shop, a video production company that specializes in whiteboard animation videos, decided to put their money where their mouth was and offer free illustrations of anyone that subscribed to their list. The illustrations were fast, fun, and completely free. The illustrations were an absolute hit at the conference and all the good feelings were associated with The Draw Shop. Instead of paying for more advertising space at the conference or other marketing mediums – they invested in giving away something free and exposing the skills of their illustrator. It no doubt paid off as they picked up several new clients at the conference and continue to receive referrals from the event. You bet they’ll be attending that conference again.
Invest in Swaying the Fence-sitters
ApplicantPro is more generous than most businesses would be with their free give-aways, but for a good reason. With hiring software as the product and conservative HR professionals us the target market – it can be hard to get them off the fence, so a little more incentive is needed. When a qualified lead signs up for a free trial – they get a free Android tablet (costing $199). Why are they willing to give out that chunk of change? Because they close 80% of their leads when the following criteria are met:
- Company of 50 – 5000 employees
- Currently hiring
- Currently do not have an applicant tracking system
- Willing to post a job and get actual applicants
Instead of trying to have the cheapest “lead magnet” created, why not invest more in increasing your conversion rate? Once you know your cost per lead, cost per customer, and the lifetime value of a customer – then giving away a $199 tablet like ApplicantPro might not seem as crazy.
Let Your Free-giveaways Sell You
One of my favorite marketing books is “Free Marketing: 101 Low and No-Cost Ways to Grow Your Business, Online and Off” by Jim Cockrum. I’ve probably listened to the audiobook 6+ times in the car. In the book he tells the story of how one of his clients made a lot of money in the real estate niche. The real estate broker had a lot of success using his marketing methods and decided to create a training course for other real estate agents. After spending $1000s to produce the course, he was ready to market the product. After several months of promoting the course – he only had a handful of sales. Jim recommended he give the course away for free. With all the time and money invested, the broker was extremely reluctant. But after seeing minimal success, he decided to trust the advice anyway. Jim’s client didn’t make any money directly from the course, but eventually landed over $100,000s in monthly coaching contracts. How’s that for a ROI? By giving the course away for free, more subscribers were exposed to his expertise and wanted personal consulting. Instead of selling the training course, “the training course sold him”. Jae Baer, one of the speakers at InfusionCon 2013, calls this approach Youtility – it’s time to start selling less, while giving and teaching more
Effective marketing always takes some form of investment, whether it’s time or money (PPC = Money & SEO = Time). But instead of throwing your money at getting in front of targeted prospects only – why not throw it at converting more leads? With most lead magnets being eBooks, reports, or other digital give-aways – think you can be a little more creative? If you’re thinking: “How do I create the cheapest lead magnet possible?” – are you really maximizing your conversion potential? Think of it in a different way – stop selling and start giving.
How are you utilizing free give-aways in your funnel?
Check out how to generate leads with a variety of methods listed in Infusionsoft’s free e-book.
George Nielsen is an internet marketer who loves writing about lead generation strategies. Find him on Twitter.