Giving it away is a smart approach to create interest but you have to take into consideration who you`re giving to. Sometimes you have to offer samplings to introduce your product (bite a size tasting at the grocery store for example) and also it`s a way to test things out and get feedback - make changes if necessary -- also helps in building a portfolio. But targeting a specific audience is key but doesn`t guarantee sales. I`ve given/donated thousands of dollars worth of products - my jewelry has been included in goodie bags for a non-profit fundraiser and given away in sweepstakes and as part of a Holiday gift guide Spa event - with absolutely no return. I don`t "give" products away anymore without giving great consideration to who the audience will be and how the product is presented. Right now I`m concentrating on giving samples of my work to magazine editors/writers (which also can lead to nothing - I know designers who have received press in top mags with no sales) but at least I`m out one piece instead of 200.
With my website, when a person signs up for a membership, I offer a free CD catalog showing a full line of our main gear. It`s worked to gain members for our website and also has produced more sales. Once the committment is there, it becomes easier for a customer to offer our products on their website and order.
Not disagreeing with the idea of giving away product or service to promote it, but Jerry is not really giving away anything. It is totally paid for - with a profit built in - when it is given to the end user. Not quiet the same thing as giving away a full value cost product with the hopes of an ROI. Jerry already has his money in hand before he gives away the magazine. Same is true for any industry trade publication - the advertising pays for the end product and they give it away ... but the publisher isn`t giving away anything that cost them something.
Saying that, giving away something to promote a product or service is an excellent idea and when you can get your partners to help in the promotion, it is even better. Call it co-op money or cross-promotion or many different terms, most ongoing businesses know the value of "free" goods to consumers - it works. Just a matter of developing creative ways to give the end user what they want - free stuff. Jerry took an established business model in the publication business, duplicated it, massaged it, and repackaged it for a very targeted market. Same can be done in many industries and markets. Always be creative - build a better mouse trap as the saying goes.
hit the nail on the head,
I`m not sure that giving away a cd of your catolog can be considered to be the same, all your doing is saving on the cost of production of the catolog, which many businesses already give away. Is it a bad Idea Not A Chance, but just not in the same classification of giving away your product to promote it, because your product is not the cd or the catolog but the products that you sell.
I`m close but I can lay my finger on it, Maybe giving coupons away, coupons of good value, where you would break even, by still charging the cost of your product, A coupon that would force the receiver to visit your web site(create traffic) to brouse around to see what they would want maybe they would see something of interest they may not have already seem or wouldn`t of seen.
Maybe a gift certificate for 25$ towards any purchase on your web site, Of course you don`t offer anything less than 35$ so you will still realize a 10$ source of revenue that you other wise wouldn`t have.
I do like the Gift certificate idea better because
"look at me they just gave me 25$. let me go see what I want to buy." you are also placing a value of the product you otherwise would of gave away.
great idea/program,, that one will go into the memory banks.
Why not "One free consultation for all new business clients" you are not committed to giving a full hour and you are limiting the free consultation to once.
I do not believe it makes a difference if it is a product or service for the concept of giving away your work, I feel it comes back to what richard was saying,
It is totally paid for - with a profit built in - when it is given to the end user
if anybody could have the expense of their product/service paid for by a third party allowing them to have the ability to give it away then it would make no difference what it was.
I agree with Helen that you really have to take it under consideration who you`re giving your product to. As a retailer of high-end products, I`m not sure if I just want to give my products away. I`m also considering Helen`s approach of sending the products to select editors & writers of magazines to get press.