How To Grow Your Business By Giving Away Free Stuff

February 12, 2014  |  

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At first, giving away stuff for free to grow your business doesn’t seem logical. However, providing free things of value to prospective customers is a sure way to bring new business into your company.

Having effective channels for customer acquisition and retention are important for any business owner. Finding the answers to  “How do I get customers?” and “How do I make sure my customers are repeat customers” can be answered using this method.

Don’t believe me? Here’s an example from my own life.

As the owner and founder of Rainshineluv Branding Strategy, I help business owners with their communications, marketing, and branding needs. I do this part-time so I purposely keep my client list on the shorter side and choose projects that I want to work on. Most of my recent clients have come from casual networking and direct referrals. Yet, I am constantly looking for avenues for developing a prospective client pipeline. Part of my business development strategy is to offer free “30-minute branding consultations” during certain times of the month with anyone who is interested.  I advertise these on my Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin profiles.

A few months ago a former classmate of mine from college, Julie Nkodo, contacted me about scheduling a branding consultation. She works full-time as a Program Associate in Maryland but was very interested in developing her passion of dance and choreography into something bigger. And having recently moved back from Chicago, she was looking for a way to re-brand herself in the DMV area.

For the next 30 minutes, Julie and I chatted about her goals and some important next steps she had to take. I promised to stay in touch with Julie and let her know about my services and that I was available to help her with any business needs in the future.

So did Julie hire me?

No.

So how did I make money from this?

After the call, I asked Julie to post about her experience working with me on her social media platforms.  I made sure to ask that she linked to my appropriate social media handles. The platform Click to Tweet is great for this purpose.

Julie received a service for free and was, in essence, becoming a brand evangelist for me in exchange.

Fast forward a few months. Julie’s best friend Maseray Kamara, the owner of a budding test prep company Foundation Preparation contacted me to schedule a consultation. She was eager for help (and heard good things about me), so I was hired for a one-month marketing director position that has now grown into a more long-term partnership.

Giving away free stuff to grow your business doesn’t always mean the customers will start to roll in. At the end of the day you need to have a viable product or service. Nevertheless, this process is a great way to get people to start talking about your company.  It’s also a great way to reach people that might not naturally be on your radar. The more eyes on your brand, the better chance you have of scoring a customer. If you need some ideas for other types of promotional items you can give away for free, check out this great article.

Some important notes to remember:

Make sure what you are giving away is of value to the prospective customer and relevant to your business.  I give away free branding consultations because I want prospective clients to see my branding expertise as credible.  I don’t give away gift cards to clothing stores because it just doesn’t make sense.

Impose limits. It’s not worthwhile to fill up your entire schedule with “free consultations.”  Figure out how much “free” you can afford to give away each month. Don’t give away any more. At the end of the day, you’re trying to build a business. Also, if you are giving away a free 30-minute conversation, try to make sure it lasts for 30 minutes and not two hours.

Make the individual on the receiving end part of the experience. Asking for customer help in providing feedback (and sharing it with their social circles) is crucial to your sales strategy. Get the customer to create buzz for you. (Heck, you did give them something for free!)

Be genuine and trustworthy. Treat everyone you interact with as if they are one. People remember how you make them feel. Also, nobody likes working with or buying from someone who has bad customer service.

Keep track of progress. Align accordingly. Don’t give out products or service haphazardly. Make sure you are tracking your metrics including successes and failures. Use the lessons you learn to realign your sales strategy.

Have you ever given away anything for free and saw an increase in business? Got a question or tips to share? Share your comments and stories below.

Rana Campbell is a branding expert that helps small businesses do branding better. Check out her website for more info or connect with her on Twitter, Instagram, or LinkedIn.

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  • soisaid

    this has been going on for ages. nothing new. its just more publicized because of twitter and facebooking etc. hope she has a healthy baby.

  • twarrior87

    $1M is a drop in the bucket compared to what George is going to have to pay her over the next 18 years while raising his child.

  • J

    A box of condoms is a couple of bucks. I am beyond over stupid ninjas impregnating random women and then trying to cover it up. Perhaps a disease would help them to remember. #rockonsidechics

  • thatguy0101

    I dont know, I dont buy this story….Paul George seems to be smarter than this. I believe it when more informations comes forth…

  • Auntieruckus

    Ar this point i don’t even want to waste my breath,we are barely into the new year,barely…

  • lockstress

    Uh…can we stop sugar coating the bullshyt. She’s not an “exotic dancer” she’s a damn stripper.
    ANd can we include CONDOMS when signing the contracts? Damn! Didn’t Magic Johnson teach these cats anything?

    • EDiva75

      PREACH!

    • Pam

      No. They just refuse to learn. They love getting their head whipped in Child support.

  • Rochelle

    This is the same guy that said he didn’t like black women. He love the legs on white women. LOL. Look up his twitter. Guess he got caught out there.

    • EDiva75

      Oh really? Wow!

  • my self

    I don’t see this woman as a victim nor see him ( Wade) as a victim either.

    First off, it IS a F#%k up think to pay your girlfriend, side piece, or whatever derogatory name you wanna call a woman that your sleeping with, to have an abortion.

    Second, these two people are grown adults. He can use a condom and she can go on birth control. Respect starts with the self and these two people are lacking it

    Third, raising a child is no joke nor a free check. A child will grow up to be an adult who has to function in society. In a rational sense, you as a parent are responsible for raising that child. Having a baby by a man who has no desire to father that child is an irrational thing to do as woman.

    People need to seriously get their shit together, I honestly have no sympathy for both but that child who is being raised by two dumbass people.

    Sounds harsh but its truth

  • tbetter1

    I see this stripper didn’t try this mess with Lil Wayne! Paul is a sucker who got caught!

  • Lisa from Philly

    I’m so tired of 1) the gold diggers who use children like ATM cards AND 2) the athletes who don’t see it coming. This young man is only 23. Not a good/realistic age for a committed relationship either.

    • Angela

      I think this guy saw it coming. His stupid behind should have known everytime you make a choice to lay down with someone, you increase the chance of pregnancy or a disease. These black men once again, think that are immune and untouchable. I don’t feel sorry for him. He is going to be smiling and cutting those child support checks. These black guys still don’t want to learn lesson you cannot sleep with every woman just because you think she is pretty and of another race. Even thought he is 23, he is going to be working to pay for children just like most of these althetes if he does not get some kind of control. Being a man does not mean you sleep with everything even if you think she is pretty or another race. Gold diggers come in all races and they look at these people at ATM like you said, trap these guys by getting pregnant and make a living off drawing child support so they won’t have to work. It is sad the child has to pay the price.

  • Cleveland Cutie

    I’m still trying to figure out when being a stripper/whre/sex tape slut became a “catch”? He thought a mil would make this go away…naw boo, you’re worth way more than that long term for her! I don’t feel sorry for any of these dumb a** athletes and entertainers. They deserve all the drama they get!

  • Darjalon Pearson

    she stupid and so is he

  • Bklyn Diamond

    I do not understand what these men and women have against condoms. I mean seriously, even if you aren’t in another relationship for your own protection (disease and babies).

    I just don’t get the lack of personal responsibility.

  • Bibi

    These people are sooo irresponsible! They don’t respect relationships, they make babies like that’s nothing important. I feel sorry for that children. Is everything about money, superficial sex and media attention? I can’t see moral, real love and responsibility in these stories.

    • imnotgoingtosayaword

      And youare so right.Neither one of these two adults thought anything about the HUMAN she is carrying.

  • FromUR2UB

    First, what’s with all the baby bump narcissism that’s so prevalent now? Women now act like having a baby is so unique that they have to pose for pictures holding their bellies, as if they need to do anything to bring attention to the the bulge. Yes, we see it! Women have been having babies since the beginning of humankind. It’s nothing new.

    Secondly, when are men going to wise up and realize they don’t have to have babies they don’t want? They don’t have to sleep with every woman who makes herself available to them. It’s OK to say, “No thanks”. This is why some men get suckered into thinking they may have fathered children they didn’t because they did the deed. I would say that even if they do sleep with every woman who agrees to it, they should always use condoms. But that wouldn’t always work because by merely sleeping with a woman, they place themselves in a position where they can be claimed as the father by some unscrupulous women. Being “near the scene of the crime” makes him a suspect. I’m not referring specifically to this woman because I’ve never heard of her. I’m only speaking generally, when there’s some question about paternity.

  • kiki j

    Me and my little brother just had a laugh the other day because he had condoms in his wallet, glove compartment, pants pockets, dresser drawer, kitchen drawer, the ish was ridiculous. And he is a single 19 year old who makes close to Minimum wage. You mean to tell me a really young teenager with no money has more sense than someone who has much more to lose? And enough money to buy condoms by the boat load? As my great aunt would say, “Honey, some folk is jes’ ol’ fashion dumb!”

  • Taneesha Culture Clash Thomas

    Where’s the protection…& i don’t just mean condoms i mean protection of their mates…& their seed…what happened to self control & responsibility with these grown men…then u wanna call these chics gold diggars & hoes…but if u didnt open unzip ur pants u wouldnt have to worry about trying to pay someone to have an abortion

  • Mividaloca101

    She is stupid for allowing herself to get pregnant (let’s face it, takes 2 to tango) and he is stupid for stepping out and playing his part in this pregnancy. I don’t feel bad for him or the side chick–she will have to be a single parent and explain to her daughter how she was nothing but a side-chick. He will have to explain how he offered to pay for the daughter to be aborted. The children are the ones the suffer–WHEN will BOTH the idiot men and the low-self esteem side chicks/baby mamas learn?!?

    • Maile00

      She probably got exactly what she wanted, so nothing else mattered and she might end up with someone else…you never know. Look at Evelyn. ..

  • Rae

    If he didn’t want a baby, he shouldn’t have ran up in it raw…

  • Anabelle Whitepaws

    …don’t forget T.I.

    • Auntieruckus

      Waiiiiiiit! Screeeeetch! What????? Spill the tea ma’am!

  • Patricia

    Don’t feel sorry for him. I feel sorry for the baby who will have to suffer and pay the price.

  • Guest

    Where’s the LOL button?

  • True Comments

    “Lay down with dogs and you’ll wake up with fleas”
    What you thought was gonna happen sleeping with a woman who was comfortable being the ‘side’?? I’ve never heard of this athlete but the fact that he’s been this reckless doesn’t surprise me. I try not to generalize groups of men but a lot of these negroes have no respect for these women or their own bodies. It is sad that he thought he could get away with being a trifling dude by having this woman terminate her pregnancy. He knew what he was doing when he got down with her so what he though was gonna happen?

  • WHY

    If this is true, it is completely sad. Now this child is going to be brought into this world knowing that she wasn’t wanted by an inconsiderate, selfish, and reckless father. I wonder how Mr. Paul George will explain this to her unwanted daughter. I guess all of these companies that invest in contraceptives are losing money. People these days just like have unwanted children and STDS. At the same time, the rate of abortions may have skyrocketed. It is a shame what this world is coming to.

  • serene

    I did not read the story but why is it so damn hard for people to use protection!!!!!!!!!!!!! Everyday it’s a new story about a baller and another bum bish getting knocked up and he wanting an abortion. It could all be avoided by slipping on a piece of rubber…I just can’t……

    • serene

      She ain’t even that cute tho…every black dude is trying to find themselves an “exotic chick” and half of them don’t even fit the “description” SMH, Jesus needs to come so all this tomfoolery can come to an end…

      • True Comments

        sadly some of these men have been conditioned to think they’re hot sh*t cuz an exotical wants some of their pen!s

    • taz

      So you call him a “baller”and her a bum bish? Actually they both are Bum Bishes. Money don’t buy class or common sense. He did it to himself.

      • J

        Exactly! I think they like giving their money away because if you sleep with a random without a condom what do you expect to happen?????

  • NeaJ

    Sigh! I’m starting to think that being faithful is abnormal & cheating is normal. WTH?! This young man is only 23 with a promising NBA career & he’s already effed up. Smh. For the next 18 years he’ll be stuck with this chick & the child will eventually find out that her father never wanted her to be born. Smh. And when Callie found out about this chick’s pregnancy she should’ve bounced. Some women are tolerating too much in relationships. A person will only do to you what you allow them to. Have some limitations!

  • Junebug

    Condoms and birth control still exist people! Better off for men to keep their wayward d*ck in their pants and women keep their legs closed and stop giving away the pum pum!

    • bigdede

      You would think these ball players would keep condoms in the back pocket of their jerseys! These new ball players grew up in the post Magic Johnson HIV years so they know they can get diseases from these groupies and jumpoffs yet they still have unprotected sex. But these females aren’t trying to use birth control. They WANT to get pregnant and not have to work for the next 18 years.

      • Maile00

        Exactly…Their appendages are ATM cards and these women are cashing in on these fools!!!

        • soulshadow55

          Funny!!

      • EDiva75

        I too put both EQUAL FAULTS on these men and women. These dumb *itches that get with these athletes and find themselves in dumb *** situations with no kind of protection to put themselves in (emotionally, mentally and also on the birth control tip) I really shed no crocodile tears for them! I really don’t! SMDH Why does it look like these women don’t seem to have much going for them of outside of their looks? Beauty fades but dumb is forever! I can’t help but to think some of these women knew what they were doing in the first place when they got with these guys.

        You would think these ignorant millionaire black athletes would be mindful post Magic Johnson HIV status acknowledgement about sticking their *icks in ANYTHING with long flowing hair showcasing T&A with their exotic looks. Apparently that’s not the case!

        • real woman

          Ediva75 I totally agree with you. Have you ever noticed that none of these ballers or rappers ever have an affair with a real plus size woman or a very dark African colored woman? Is always the light skinned long haired green eyed something that is very exotic looking. The women I just described, if they are married to them, and not married to a white woman, are the ones they are married to and cheat on. But to the Dum Dum Girls who decide to have these “on the side” babies, when you get pregnant and you have those couple of dollars they have to give you each month for child support, that only lasts for so long. You will eventually have to explain to that child that they were the result of an affair. It did not come out of love. That they came out of a plan.

  • UB class if 2013

    Well maybe if these “athletes” keep their d**k

    • Briana Owens

      Exactly! !

    • Star Child

      Or give their wives or girlfriends HIV, smh. Ppl quick to call a woman a “whore”. Need a new name for men, not “dog” cause dogs are loyal,lol. “Man whore”, HIV spreader, or how about “bug chaser”?