Exhibiting at Trade Shows: How to Prepare

Trade shows and exhibitions have some of the highest ROI of any form of marketing. Aside from providing a great arena to meet qualified leads they also offer great opportunities to catch up with the latest developments in your industry. Check out competitors and maybe get a bit of inspiration for your next ground breaking product.

The problem is that trade shows require a large initial investment to get those opportunities and leads, so preparation is vital to ensure you aren’t throwing money away.

trade show
How to prepare a trade show?

Objectives: Why are you going to this event? (hint: the answer isn’t because we can, or everyone else is doing it) Make sure you and your staff know what you want to achieve and plan accordingly, whether it’s to get a record number of qualified leads, great press coverage or an inside look at another industry, create a metric and make sure you have a way to track it. Preferably you should do this stage before you have even chosen an event. You can then pick the event which best fits your objectives rather than tying your objectives to the event.

Training: Staff surely don’t need to be trained just to talk to people? Well, actually yes they do. Good exhibition communication is often a mixt of counselling and acting. Your exhibitors need to be able to listen to the problems of the visitors coming to the stand so that they can offer them solutions, not products. They need to be able to listen sympathetically while hiding the fact they are tired and have been on message nearly all day. Much of the literature around trade shows suggests reps should spend 80% of their time listening and 20% talking.

Training your staff is vital to achieving this mix, and hopefully creating enthusiastic representatives. Depending upon what your budget is you can either hire outside experts to coach your staff on the finer points of exhibiting techniques alternatives a more affordable approach would be set aside an afternoon (at least) before the event to brief your staff. The briefing needs to include any products or services they need to be aware off, proper data capture methods and some practice of talking to visitors.

Consistent messaging: Having a consistent message is a vital part of any marketing and branding effort. Events are no different, and you should make sure that you are using your brand colours and logo’s on marketing literature, display stands and even clothing at a minimum. If there is any time when you are representing your company then sales meetings and trade shows are it.

Clothes are particularly vital when it comes to the message you want your brand to convey. A professional consulting company will probably want to wear suits, with any branding confined to lanyards and maybe ties in the company colours. In contrast a tech start up might prefer the branding opportunities available in a more relaxed approach such as adopting branded polo shirts. Similarly you need to think carefully about any promotional products you offer. For example if you want to promote your green credentials a pile of plastic tchotchkes will look hypocritical at best. A far better approach would be to create a report that can be downloaded from your website using a code only available at your stand. This will make you look both more professional and greener.

Pre-event Marketing: So you have trained your staff well, provided branded material and you have a great looking stand. But does anyone know where to find you, or why they should try? This is where pre-event marketing comes in. You need to tell people that you are going to be at the event and why they should care. While this can be as basic as taking advantage of the show organiser’s pre-event publicity, pushing it on your website, social media and offline marketing material can bring in a huge amount of interest. Try to come up with a promotion that will bring relevant people to your booth like a preview on a new product, a workshop or a chance to talk with an industry expert.

Eating and Sleeping: One thing you cannot do is leave your booth unmanned, but you also can’t expect everyone in your staff to spend all day on it. The simplest and most effective thing to do is arrange a schedule beforehand so that everyone will have at least one chance to sit down grab a bite to east. This will help your stand look professional, as there is no bigger turnoff than seeing a messy stand with discarded food wrappers. If it is at all possible then you should have a minimum of two people on the stand at all times. This will means that there is always someone to cover in case of emergencies and that visitors won’t to have to wait too long to find someone to talk to.

Similarly always book hotels and transport as far in advance as possible. This will not only save you money, it will also mean you can get rooms as close as possible to the exhibition centre. A five minute walk beats an hour long commute any day.

Hopefully this guide should help make any exhibits a success and ensure that you come out of the event with lots of great leads.

About the Author: Written by Daniel Frank on behalf of Nimlok Exhibition Stands

Image: Phil Sexton / Flickr

The Importance of Background Checks

The increasing competition amongst candidates is causing many to lie on their resumes, a step potentially dangerous for any business. Performing background checks on future employees is an essential step that all organisations must take to ensure that their business is protected against theft and fraud.

Failure to perform such checks can lead to several legal complications and cost your company a lot of money in the long run. Investing in thorough employee checks today can help you save substantial long term costs.

background checks
Image: dexknows.com

Potential risks of negligent hiring

As many organisations are in a hurry to hire professionals, experts advise businesses to take background checks seriously. Some of the most common facts that are tweaked in a resume include education level, university attended, job responsibilities, skill levels and previous salary drawn. Most candidates include falsified information in their resume to either gain advantage over other candidates or to mask their intentions. The risk of employee fraud increases if the hiring company fails to conduct its due diligence.

Negligently hiring employees could result in violence and assaults at the workplace. It also increases the risk of employee turnovers and job related accidents. Any liability charges filed because of the employee’s actions may cost the company millions owing to negligent hiring. The possible influence of drugs and alcohol can tamper employee productivity, leading to more losses. Theft and fraud committed by employees can cause a company millions. It is estimated that embezzlement costs companies billions each year.

Responsibilities of the employer

The potential risks of hiring an employee without performing thorough checks can be damaging to a company and its reputation. As an employer, it is your responsibility to know your employee. Employees with past accounts of violent incidents, alcohol and drug abuse and criminal records should be carefully dealt with. Any damage caused by an employee’s known or unknown past record will make the company liable.

If an employee has a past record of negligent driving or drunk driving, the organisation should not allow him/her to use company cars. Similarly, candidates with a history of violent outbursts are not suited for client interaction or personalised home visits. It is every employer’s responsibility to learn of any undesirable traits the candidate may possess. Performing a background check on an employee is not considered a violation of privacy.

Using professional services

Instead of spending days on performing background verification, many companies opt for the services of businesses that specialise in gathering such information. Professionals in background checking offer concise and detailed reports regarding the authenticity of information provided on the resume and interview. Detailed background checks include clarification in criminal history, illegal activities, financial background, educational background, credit history, and reference verification.

Benefits of background checks

One of the biggest benefits of performing detailed background verification is the satisfaction of hiring a promising employee. Including productive employees in your company not only boost your revenue but also reduces employee turnover (the ratio of employees that were replaced in a specific time period). Background checks help candidates be more honest about their qualifications and create a transparent relationship between the employee and the organisation.

About the Author: Penny is an expert associated with CV Insight, a leading group of employment screening specialists. If you are looking for services like background checks on candidates, contact our professionals for helpful advice. CV Insight also specialises in screening your employees to help you hire qualified candidates.

Thinking about FX trading from home ? 5 Common FX trading mistakes to avoid

Trading forex is simple, but it’s not easy. There are only a handful of currency pairs that are traded by most forex investors. However, the nuances of trading in this market are almost infinite. Before you make a single trade, make sure you understand the basics and avoid these five common FX trading mistakes.

Don’t Trade Forex Like You Trade Stocks

Stock traders often employ something called “averaging down.” This strategy is used when a stock position moves against the investor. For example, an investor buys 1,000 shares of a stock for $20 a share, and the share price drops to $15 per share. The investor may buy more of the stock at $15. When   his 1,000 shares at $20 are averaged in with his new share purchases at $15, It produces an average share price that is higher than $15 but lower than $20.

Normally, this is a good thing because the stock trader expects to recover any losses. When he does, he realizes a higher average gain since his cost basis is lower. In forex, however, the market is much larger. The market can move against you and remain in an opposing trend for longer than you can remain solvent. Don’t average down when trading forex. Instead, rely on stop losses to maximize your profit.

Set A Stop Loss

A stop loss is like a safety net. Imagine working on a scaffolding 10 stories in the air without a harness. You might be fine working up there for a while, but the first time you lose your balance and fall, it’s all over. Stop losses limit your loss in the markets so that one bad trade doesn’t wipe you out completely. Use them. Instead of wiping out your entire account, you’ll only suffer small, recoverable, losses.

Stop losses also help to increase your gains. Since you are limiting your losses, you can use this strategy to buy back into the market when the trend reverses and exceeds your original stop loss amount.

Don’t Try To Trade Right After Late-Breaking News

New does affect markets in a dramatic way. However, it’s not always clear how the markets will react. Don’t try to out-think the market. You can’t do it. Instead, wait for a trend to develop. Then, trade on the trend. New forex investors tend to mistakenly believe that late-breaking news stories will have an immediate and predictable effect on the markets.

Often what ends up happening is that the market reacts somewhat unpredictably at first. Disruptive news reports often cause a “whiplash” effect, market orders and stop losses are triggered, exacerbating the issue. If you try to trade on this kind of movement, it’ll be like gambling in a casino.

Wait For The Trend, Forget Revenge

You’ve probably heard the phrase “don’t get emotional when trading.” It’s helpful advice, but many newbie traders ignore it. When you lose money, it’s understandable to want “revenge” on the market. However, the market doesn’t care how much you’ve lost. Revenge trading often involves increasing leverage or investment position to make up for previous losses.

This is an incredibly dangerous strategy. You risk losing even more money because emotions can easily cloud your judgment making it impossible to make any objective investment decisions. Instead, wait for another trend to develop, and trade on that trend. Forget your emotions for a moment, and rely on the goals and rules you initially established prior to trading.

Know When To Cash Out

There’s an old Kenny Rogers song, called “The Gambler” It contains advice that’s actually useful for forex investors. “You have to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em. Know when to walk away, and know when to run.” New forex traders sometimes have the problem of “knowing when to fold ’em” and “knowing when to walk away.” When the market turns against you, don’t let your losses run all the way to your stops. Thinking that you can “handle” the downs and that the market will rebound is a fallacy. The market may rebound, but you’ll be out of money before it does. Walk away from losing trades, and don’t get involved in market trends where you know you can’t win or where winning is improbable.

About the Author: Guest post contributed by freelance finance writer Elizabeth Goldman on behalf of Sunbird FX the specialists in currency trading and trading oil CFDs.

Everything You need to Know about Starting Carpet Cleaning Business

Many people understand the importance of using professional cleaning services and appreciate the solutions that carpet cleaning businesses provide. On the other hand, many people are in search of either full time or part time income earning opportunities. If you are considering starting this type of business, you have a good opportunity to generate an impressive income because plenty of opportunities are available in commercial and residential properties.

Business start-ups require entrepreneurs to do their homework well by researching on every aspect of the business and having a business plan prior to launching. Rug cleaning is no different. You are likely to have a successful business if you arm yourself with all the necessary information about the business.

carpet cleaning business
How to start a successful carpet cleaning business?

Business location

Most entrepreneurs who get into the business of cleaning carpets start their businesses from home. Some may eventually move to other business premises, but this implies additional cost. Before you decide to base your business in your home, find out about the local authority’s regulations that govern the running businesses from residential premises.

If you choose to rent commercial premises, identify a reasonably priced facility with ample space that meets your business operations requirements.

What do you know?

One of the best things about starting a rug cleaning business is that you hardly require any special skills or certification. However, you need to have good knowledge of professional equipment and products used for cleaning carpets in addition to learning skills necessary for running a successful business.

Hiring staff with experience in cleaning rugs is a good idea if you only have basic knowledge of the business. You will need to keep updating your knowledge about new cleaning equipment, supplies and invest in those that will add most value to your business.

Licensing

For this type of business, you will require to obtain a Business License before getting started. You may find it necessary to incorporate your business once you grow your assets.

Determine your clientele

Some businesses serve multiple clients successfully while others choose to target a niche market and focus on meeting their needs. Your research should guide you on which market you can serve best and create customer loyalty.

To franchise or not? 

Franchising is a good option when you are starting out. Your business gets support in terms of marketing, advertising and operations. It is much easier to work with an already established business with a known name. However, franchising may not work to your advantage once your business is established. 

Equipment

You will need to invest in cleaning equipment like steam and vacuum cleaners as well as cleaning supplies. You can start with light equipment and upgrade as your business grows. In addition, you have a choice between buying and hiring cleaning equipment. You may need to consider purchasing a van to transport equipment and staff.

Hiring Staff

Lounge cleaning businesses require workforce especially cleaners, assistants and administrative staff. The amount of work determines the size of workforce. Recruit staff with knowledge of using the equipment used in cleaning carpets.

Pricing

Draw up a reasonable pricing plan for your rug cleaning services. You are starting a business to provide a service in return for profit. Therefore, your pricing should allow you to cover your expenses and give you a profit.

Marketing

Getting your marketing right can mean business success. Establish and maximize on the most effective marketing and advertising strategies for your business.

Image: Frederick Md Publicity / Flickr

Treat Your Home-Based Business Right

When working from home, it can be very easy to cut some corners and leave things out. Falling into this trap can be a huge error on your part and can cost you loss in profits and potentially even a loss of your business. Setting things up the right way will help you to build a strong foundation for your business to grow on.

Financial

Having a system for accounting in place for your business in imperative for success. Just like with your personal finances, you need to be able to account for the money coming in as well as for the money going out. Not only will this information be important for you, personally, but it will be needed come tax time. Another time that your financial documents will come in to play is if you need to prove the success of your business for loan purposes; business and personal alike.

Keeping track of your income and expenses does not mean that you have to go out any buy special software and then try to learn how to navigate through it all. Accounting can be done in just about any fashion that you are able to do. If you are computer savvy, you can get software that can ease the process of tracking your finances, there are plenty of programs that are already loaded on most computers, or an Excel spreadsheet can be used. If you are not comfortable with a computer, there is no reason why you can’t use the tried and true paper, pencil, and calculator. Regardless of what you use, make sure that you are comfortable using it so that you can maintain it.

Licensing

Not every business needs to have a business license, but many do. Before you begin anything where money is trading hands, find out if you need a license to do business. Do not operate your business without a license if one is required as you will then be liable for anything that may go wrong as you will most likely not be covered by insurance.

Insurance

Depending upon what the business is that you are running out of your home, you may need special insurance coverage. Do not overlook this as you could have issues you do not want to be involved in should an issue arise. It is often thought that just because you do not need a business license or that you are not doing a business that could potentially harm another (like massage), that insurance is not needed. This is a costly misconception. Before you open your doors for business, call your insurance company, or one that deals with business insurance, to find out if you need to have coverage. Even if you do not need coverage, you may need to change your current insurance policy in order to cover your new business. If you have people coming in and out of your home or even hold a significant amount in inventory, your insurance company may want you to have additional coverage. Auto insurance could need to be changed as well, especially if you are carrying any sort of inventory that needs to be covered in case of a loss.

Operating a home-based business should be treated as seriously as if you operated one out of a building. Any business is just as important as another, regardless of where the headquarters are. Having a strong foundation in which to build on will help you to see the growth that you desire.

About the Author: Chris Baker is a freelance writer and blogs for www.cheapestcarinsurance.org.uk where you can find great deals on cheap car insurance for new drivers!

Opening An Online Business Store

Internet has significantly revolutionized the way of doing business by introducing more efficient and simpler ways of trading. The virtues introduced include expansion of market, payment simplification and real time transactions amongst others. These features have consequently created numerous chances for different forms of online businesses. Amongst the best and successful online businesses include a makeup and cosmetics store. The popularity of this kind of business is mainly because nowadays there are many people who buy makeup and cosmetics online since they do not live near where their favorite boutique or a beauty shop is located. But there are several requirements and guidelines in which this kind of businesses needs to follow so as to start and run successfully.

online store
How to start an online business

Opening an online business store requires one to have an internet connectable gadget such as a computer. This is the primary requirement because it’s what will be used to market, take orders and sell the products. Furthermore, it is advisable to use a comprehensive ecommerce internet services which provides template designing, processes payments, shopping carts and edit web pages amongst others. This eliminates the necessity of subscribing to many subscribers for services which would have otherwise been provided by just a single or a few service providers.

It is paramount to obtain the relevant permit and license before starting the business even though the business will be operating online. This is because different regions have diverse regulation and they also needs to account for every trading activities in the relevant authorities jurisdiction. Amongst the probable documents that might be needed include; use tax permit, assumed name certificate and employer identification number amongst others. It is paramount to obtain these documents before the business officially commences so as avoid surprises and closure due to non compliance.

Starting a successful online store also requires ample preparation in marketing. The best marketing channels include starting promotional blogs and opening related social networking accounts amongst others. The blogs and accounts should have links where visitors can be directed to the website in which to find the products on sale. To entice the visitors, they can be offered discounts and offers if they visit the website or if they purchase a product. 

The business also requires that the products be readily available where they can be delivered to the customer immediately they make their order. This is important because the first impression in such businesses is significant in creating a customer base. Thus a delay or a failure in delivery can give the business a negative image. This can be achieved through several alternatives including opening wholesale accounts with distributors. This is especially helpful to those who do not make the products on their own, instead they buys from companies and other manufacturers. Consequently, opening a wholesale account ensure that the products can be delivered even with short notices. The products should be packed and braded in a way that customer can identify them with the online business.

About the Author: This post is written by Maya Zajacko.

Image: ernohannik / Flickr

Top Benefits of 0800 Numbers for Small Businesses

If you want to experience a significant growth in your business, you must find and exhaust all the strategies available to advance your business objectives. If you don’t know where to start, you’re strongly suggested to begin your journey by opening all communication channels between you and your target market. There are several methods to achieve this, but as a small business owner, you must choose the most cost-effective of them. Large companies employ a complicated and costly method, but you may want to go for something much simpler, yet truly effective. One of these cost-effective strategies is through the use of 0800 numbers.

What is an 0800 number?

An 0800 number is sometimes called a toll-free number, a business phone line that consumers can freely and conveniently use to communicate their concerns, needs, and demands. Many consumers want to share their experience and help you improve your products or services. But sometimes, if there is an expensive phone bill or charges involved, they will change their mind. So to make sure that your target market constantly gets in touch with you, provide them with a convenient communication platform that they can use anytime they want and anywhere they are in the country.

What are the top benefits of having an 0800 number?

The main objective of 0800 numbers is to build a strong relationship with your customers. A strong relationship is not built overnight, but if you constantly talk to them and address their concerns properly, you will be able to expand your clientele. Consumers trust only a company that listens to their needs. So if you have a toll free number they can use, expect to attract more customers in just a few months.

Next, an 0800 number saves you money on all types of consumer surveys. These surveys are meant to know what the target consumers want, so many large companies conduct these surveys to understand what their customers need. But if you have an 0800 number, you don’t have to conduct these surveys or have another company do them for you. All you have to do is to pick up your phone and listen carefully to what your customers tell you. Doing this will lead you to fully understand what you can do to be able to provide what your customers want and need.

Last, an 0800 number helps you increase your sales volume. Studies show that if more customers get in touch with you to ask more about your products or services, the big tendency is, these phone calls or inquiries will eventually be translated into sales. As long as you answer your customers as honest and as prompt as possible, you will experience a significant increase in your sales volume in no time.

To know more about 0800 numbers, you’re strongly suggested to go over different materials that can help you understand the benefits that you can get from these numbers. You can find these materials on the Internet in the form of articles, videos, and websites. If you don’t know where they are located, all you have to do is to put your favorite search engine to good use.

By 0800 Business Number Article Writer

The Best Ways of Incentivizing Your Staff

Making sure that your employees are happy is one way of ensuring that your business thrives and prospers. Happy employees are more productive and willing to work harder for you. Setting goals that are realistic, and that employees understand, is a crucial part of any incentive program. If you want to reward your employees financially, there are a few really good ways to do it.

Retirement Matching Contributions

Retirement matching contributions are one way of rewarding your employees for good performance. A retirement account match is when you contribute money towards your employees’ retirement plan. For qualified accounts, like 401(k) plans, you must match all employee accounts the same.

For example, if you offer an employee a $1 match for every $1 he contributes to his retirement fund, you must also offer the same $1 match to every employee. However, some accounts are considered “non-qualified” and you can offer a paid bonus to select employees. This is an ideal way to offer incentives to employees because you can be selective about who receives a bonus and who doesn’t. The bonus may be set up as a direct payment to the employee or you can pay it to a brokerage account where the employee has limited control over the funds.

Normally, an agreement is signed between you and the employee that stipulates what the bonus money may be used for. If you want to motivate your employees to stay with you for a long time, you can structure the agreement so that the employee has full trading authority over the funds but cannot remove them for a set number of years.

Non-Qualified Stock Options

A stock option is a right, but not the obligation, to buy or sell a specific number of shares of stock for a predetermined price and for a predetermined amount of time. For example, a stock option may give you the right to purchase 1,000 shares of Microsoft for $10 per share for the next 3 months. Stock options that are given as a bonus allow an employee to benefit from the increase in the share price of your company if it is publicly traded.
The employee must pay income tax on the difference between the stock price and the strike price at the time the option is exercised.

Incentive Stock Options

Incentive stock options are more of a long-term investment. While non-qualified stock options benefit an employee if you’re going to issue an IPO and expect your stock to do well “out of the gate,” incentive stock options are meant to be more of a long-term investment. Typically, these stock options are held for more than a year from the date the option is exercised. The shares exercised by the options holder also must be held for more than two years from the date of issue of the stock option.

This gives incentive stock options a tax benefit in that they will always be taxed as a long-term capital gain – a tax rate that is lower than the income tax paid on non-qualified stock options.

Employee stock options can also be “restricted.” This means that even though the individual has the right to exercise the option, he may be restricted from doing so prior to a specific date or before a company has achieved a certain benchmark or milestone. This gives further incentive for employees to perform well so that the company’s share price increases.

In some cases, the employee does not have direct control over the share price of the company because she doesn’t have control over any aspect of production. Even still, stock options can help to energize your workforce and motivate everyone to work together so that the company does well.

About the Author: Guest post by Elizabeth Goldman, on behalf of Sunbird cfd Brokers and currency trading specialists. Home to the advanced MetaTrader platform (see the metatrader 4 user guide). All views and opinions belong to the writer and do not necessarily represent Sunbird FX.

How SEO Can Help Your Small Business

When running a business website, you want your site to get as much traffic as possible to increase the chances of making sales. Since traffic is ultimately the life blood of your online business, figuring out how to increase this traffic should be priority number one for your business. By engaging in some good SEO practices, you may be able to increase your site’s traffic without spending a lot of extra money along the way.

Search Engine Traffic

When you use leading SEO services or methods to improve your site’s rankings in the search engines, you may be able to increase your traffic substantially. The nice thing about using this method is that the traffic can keep coming for months or years without having to pay for it again and again. By comparison, if you use paid traffic methods like pay-per-click marketing, you’ll have to pay for each visitor that makes his way to your site. This means that there is a lot of pressure to convert each visitor that comes to your site. Otherwise, you’ll be throwing away a lot of money every day on this type of Internet marketing.

With search engine traffic, it keeps coming again and again without a lot of expenses on your part. You may have to occasionally pay for more search engine optimization work until your site gets up a certain level of traffic. This is usually much cheaper than having to pay for each individual visitor that comes to your site.

Converting More Sales

When you work with a good search engine optimization service, you may also be able to convert more sales on your site. When visitors come to your site, they want to find what they’re looking for. If your site ranks highly for a given search term and then you sell something related to that search term on your site, this will increase the odds of a sale when the visitor arrives. If your site is not optimized properly, visitors might find it for terms that are not really that relevant to what you offer. This leads to customers finding your site when they’re actually looking for something else. When this happens, they will be much less likely to make a purchase or fill in the form that you have to capture their contact information.

Considerations

If you want to take your small business website to the next level, engaging in some search engine optimization can make a big difference. It might seem costly on the front end, but you’re making a long-term investment in the success of your business overall. By the time you’re done, your site may be receiving loads of free traffic from the search engines and your sales may be much better off overall.

Using Free Tools to Market Your Business

Freebie marketing is an old, tried and tested form of marketing that involves either giving away a product (or offering it at a very cheap price) in the knowledge that in order to use or continue to use said product the consumer will be forced to spend more money with that company.

The concept was believed to have been born of King Camp Gillette; the inventor of the safety razor and the Gillette brand. Gillette realised that by selling his razors very cheaply (usually well below cost price) he would create a market for his then overpriced blades. Gillette still utilise freebie marketing today, choosing to send free razors to men as they approach their 18th birthday.

Gillette Freebies

Other instances of freebie marketing can be seen through cable and satellite television companies, internet providers and any other business venture through which a product is required in order for the customer to use the service.

For instance, the cable company might offer a ‘free’ digital recording box. However, they will charge an installation and set-up fee in addition to a monthly fee that is set to cover the cost of the hardware.

How does it work?

It makes the customer believe they’re getting a great deal and that the company are doing them a favour.

Not only do they then hold the brand in good stead, but they feel obligated to purchase the remaining necessary items from that company – both through loyalty and a reluctance to purchase the whole package elsewhere.

Can it work for you?

Not every industry can utilise freebie marketing in the traditional ‘Gillette’ sense. To do so, you need to embrace the business model of selling your product in separate parts – one that you can give away free or very cheaply, and one that you can price accordingly to recover costs and secure a profit.

When it goes wrong?

Using Free Tools to Market Your Business

As with most businesses, your biggest risk comes from your competition. If a competitor releases a rival product at a greatly reduced cost, the success of the original product is threatened.

In many cases, making a success of freebie marketing entails having a part or whole monopoly on the industry, or at the least, such a strong brand that consumers will choose your products over a cheaper alternative due to their perception of quality.

Using freebies to build a brand:

Giving away products or offering them at a very cheap price is another form of marketing that can help to increase your customer base while building brand awareness and customer loyalty.

While this is different from ‘freebie marketing’ as Gillette use it, it’s still highly effective and since you don’t need a monopoly to succeed with it, less risky.

Business to consumer relationships:

Using Free Tools to Market Your Business

Used correctly, the distribution of ‘freebies’ can help to build lasting ‘relationships’ between business and consumer.

For instance, a toothpaste company could offer free dental check-ups. Not only does this encourage the buying of the company’s products over a competitors, but it gives the customer the impression that this brand cares about those that buy their products.

Alternatively, the producer of a range of diet food products could offer a free membership to Weight Watchers or similar scheme.

Either way, the point is to establish what the consumers of the product care about and to offer them something that complements that as a freebie.

Bringing freebie marketing into the 21st Century:

Bringing freebie marketing into the 21st Century

Another great way to utilise freebie marketing is to incorporate it into social media marketing.

If you’re struggling to grow your social media following, offering a free sample of a product in return for a ‘follow’ or a ‘like’ is a great way to get more people involved in your online marketing efforts.

You can even take it a step further and ask consumers to report back on the product, using Facebook or Twitter (or any other social media channel you might be involved in), offering the chance for them to win a much larger freebie in return.

Marketing costs money:

Remember that most effective forms of marketing cost money. You can own and operate a Facebook or Twitter page for free but if you really want to make a success of it, you need to start spending.

If you’re unsure whether spending money on freebie marketing is viable, consider the cost against television or magazine advertising – in most cases it’s less, while having a far greater return on investment.

Jessy is the marketing blogger for Auto Insurance Calculator, the free tool you can use online.

Image Credits: 1, 2, 3, 4.