Sooner or later in your entrepreneurial journey, you will chance upon the dilemma of 'when is too much, too much ?' in relation to how much free stuff you can give away in marketing material as you attempt to woo your customer to buy your product or service.
In the social media era, there is an overwhelming influx of information and most of it is for free anyway, so one of the best ways to get a piece of the attention pie is by also offering free stuff online, what we sometimes refer to as freemiums. Freemiums draw attention to your space and also give your potential customers a glimpse or taste of what you have to offer. Free samples reduce the customer decision journey and if positioned well, can help you close out your sales faster.
But there's a science to this. If you give away too little, you get lost in the noise that is the social media space and may not gather the requisite attention to funnel your intended customer your way.
On the other hand, if you give out too much free stuff online ( and this also applies to offline freemiums) then you end up being a nuisance to your potential customers and can move dangerously close to becoming 'white noise' - that area where your customers see you in passing, acknowledge you but are not moved to engage with you or reach out to you to make a purchase.
Freemiums draw attention to your space and also give your potential customers a glimpse or taste of what you have to offer. They are a path to faster sales' results.
But if overdone, they tend to leave the customer bloated with information and suffering decision-indigestion.
A few weeks back I had the privilege of being in the company of Daniel Priestley - entrepreneur, best-selling author of the Key Person of Influence book amongst others, and international speaker. One of the entrepreneurs in attendance asked Daniel about how much is too much when giving free stuff to lure your customer.
Daniel answered in his typical illustrative storyboard fashion by giving the example of a couple who go out for dinner at a high-end restaurant:
The table is set right, the mood is good and just as the diners settle in, the waiter offers the couple a sample of free pizza on the house. The couple obliges but what then is brought to the table is a mega-large pizza with all the toppings, extra cheese, and thick crust to boot. It is a monstrosity of a meal. The couple tuck in and then when they are quite full, the waiter returns to the table and asks them if they are now ready to place an order for their dinner! Needless to say, the diners were not in a position to take on anything else. Even if the pizza was just basic junk food and not as healthy or tasty as the other stuff on the menu, their need had already been met by that point.
Freemiums work in the same way. If they are overdone, in excess, and brought out in huge quantities in a short span of time, they tend to leave the customer bloated with information and suffering decision-indigestion. The tragedy is that even if the freemium is not as good as the real deal, your customer by this point is too exhausted to take on what else you may have to offer.
Your freemium messaging can only be accurate after doing two things: one, asking your customer the simple question: how can I be of service to you? and two, refining your service based on continued customer feedback. Only then will you be able to understand what your customer wants, rather than what you think they need.
The solution then is the timing, frequency, and messaging of your freemium.
When it comes to TIMING, have a calendar for WHEN to share free stuff, and let the calendar be based on the research you have done on your customer purchase habits. Understand the times in the month, week, or day that your customer is best attuned for a freemium and then space out the offers during specific time frames e.g. 4 offers quarterly in a year, every third week of a month.
I have touched on FREQUENCY in my example above but going deeper, I subscribe to Gary Vaynerchuk's Jab, Jab, Jab Right Hook method which basically means give 3 items of value to your client before you ask them for something. This number is the sweet spot between too much or too little in my view.
Finally, understand WHAT it is you are giving away and WHAT it is saying about you and your product or service. Your freemium MESSAGING can only be accurate after doing two things: one, asking your customer the simple question: how can I be of service to you? and two, refining your service based on continued customer feedback. Only then will you be able to understand what your customer wants, rather than what you think they need.
If you follow these basic principles, your life in the sales and marketing World of freemiums will be much easier, get you more clients, help you make more money but most importantly: save you time and unnecessary costs.
Have a great day and do enjoy some pizza!
The author, Jan Okonji is an entrepreneur, speaker, coach, and Founder of the Pan-African accelerator BGS – Business Growth Solutions.
Jan is passionate about helping employees transition safely into entrepreneurship whilst turning their great ideas into profitable businesses and has helped entrepreneurs collectively grow their revenue to over $ 10 Million in the course of running BGS.
Get in touch with him and book a personal session HERE
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