Here we look at Business and incentives and debate the value and potential of giving the product away to attract new business.
Giving product away
As I casually glance around my desk I find about half a dozen gifts from businesses. Pens are everywhere, a note pad, a couple of cute gimmicky presents, magnetised calendar all before I look in a drawer.
However, I don’t really appreciate any of these because they have little value. They have been posted to my letterbox or handed out at functions as free gifts and I could not tell you the name on any one of them without picking them up and looking.
Many are from local Real Estate agents that try to get a name in front of you. Theirs is a competitive business and they think it necessary.
Having to chose an Agent recently and only whilst writing do I realise not a freebie from him on my desk.
Finally, this makes me wonder if it is money well spent?
Why give the product away at all?
I see several reasons for giving the product away as promotional items and they change on need.
- To get new clients.
- gathering recurring business
- Maintaining lifelong clients
- Branding and promotion
- Introducing your self or company
We all have a coffee card in our wallet or purse, you get these stamped so a free coffee is yours after 10 or so returns.
This encourages recurring business and costs very little for the store.
Furthermore, I have four cards in my purse for wherever I go to my regular haunts so all it does is give money away in my case.
The best give away products are those you earn
When you have to expend effort to earn a reward the value increases hugely and the memory is triggered for longer. How do you create the work for effort prises?
The food supermarket business is a very competitive industry operated mostly by National chains with huge marketing pockets. However, their margins are very slim because of the competitive nature of the business.
The Coles promotion
Recently Coles ran a Miniature product’s promotion. Toys that resembled real shopping products and were given per value of shopping spent.
This went viral as Kids and mums tried to get a full set being in a competitive group of families or schoolyard besting.
Naturally, the best ones were in short supply so multiple shopping trips were necessary.
An effort was required to obtain a free product and the results were staggering for Coles.
It was reported a 5.8% increase in turnover for the quarter. In a multi-billion dollar business that is a staggering result for anyone.
McDonald’S do similar things with cheap food. The current promotion is a delightful looking Apple slice for just One dollar. I have almost driven to the store after dinner to get one of these they look so good.
These slices are probably at cost or just under so they won’t make Maccas any money. Or will they?
You guessed it. You will buy full-priced items while in the store like coffee, a burger or Icecream to go.
When you have to earn it so you appreciate it more. McDonald’s understand this.
Small business trends in the business world.
Knowing your customer and what they want.
McDonald’s are setting up a user experience so you will return regularly.
Coles was setting up a shopping experience that will last the distance and change your regular shopping habits
The lifetime value of a client
We are all trying to get that lifetime customer that comes back every time they shop. People who do the weekly groceries at Coles will spend about $250 a week on food and accessories, Take this over say 5 years and you have a spend of around $65,000 in that time.
A car sales outlet that sells you a new car every three years may have a value closer to a hundred grand over time.
Plus how do you keep them coming back?
You must know who your customers are and what they spend the most money on with you. No matter if it is Icecreams or Semi Trailers the need for consistent business will be your future and you must start at the beginning.
The coffee card does not cut it. You don’t know the customer or even the shopping habits so a very limited value for everyone.
A store card is different, You get a name and address and a shopping history with each purchase so you can maintain regular contact
Do you understand the value of a client?
This is a very important question and one that will map out your future.
Your repeat customers are your best customers because they know you, like and trust what you do and will spend money over the years.
I have a recurring billing business and my average customer stays with me for over 6 years. This is in a telco environment where 24-month contracts are the norm. We don’t do contracts because I don’t want the end of term hassle for a better deal.
However, I understand the value of a client and can focus on their needs and what we can help them with along the journey.
So what do I give away to get clients?
A free trial of the service, a referral commission and sometimes a sign on gift that has a value. I include Free calls and extra time. We email consistently with business ideas and don’t charge for extras like my competitors. Therefore I give lots because they have a value to me.
So, what will be your giveaway?
It may be simple. My local fresh food market always has a sampler table, while my dear Lady shops I sample, works for me.
The grog shop has a Shopping Card that gives a cash discount and tracks the buying habits so they can bombard me with mail.
Also, our Pet food store has an understanding of my buying habit and sends a promotion voucher a week before I am ready to buy, come in for 20% or something like that.
A Local chemist keeps track of all my purchases and offers promotion days with all you can fit in a bag at $10.
All my health providers track my welfare with offers
plus the local swim centre offers monthly discounts.
That list comes from about a mile radius of where I live just to say everyone is giving, are you?
Your local mechanic, free wiper blades coming into winter, the tyre store a free tyre blow up and check. Plus the service station even has a cheap Monday offer on Fuel.
I could go on and on with giving and why do they do it.
Perhaps your answer is that it builds customer relations and keeps them coming back for a lifetime of the business.
Small business marketing.
Make them work for the rewards
When you want value for your rewards they are much better when we have to earn them. Furthermore, your customers will value those efforts far more than trinkets and toys.
Having won a simple competition at the grog shop which is never to be forgotten but I could not name a trinket on my desk.
My final say on rewards
Finally, we are all competing against desperate sales incentives, online shopping, value-driven buyers, cheap deals so we just need to be smarter.
Birthday cards work a treat, newsletters offer a consistent touch. VIP clubs and special client recognition are ways to beat the discount world.
Finally, it is not all about price, it is Know, like and trust that will build the buyer base and keep them coming back.
You should look at how to save a failing business for more ideas.