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How your business can utilise the power of free

David Goose, managing director at Mantis, shares his thoughts on how your business can utilise the power of free to increase your sales for the long-term.

While it seems counterintuitive, giving away your “insider secrets” or providing your customers with extra benefits free of charge can go a long way to increasing your sales. In this article, I’ll explain why and show you how you can implement this powerful principle in your own marketing efforts.

Learn from the best

Supermarkets have known about the power of free for years, and you’ll be familiar with their practice of offering free samples of their latest products. These chains put millions of pounds and countless hours of research into refining their marketing processes so, when they hit on something, it’s a good idea to pay attention and see how you can apply these same principles to your own business.

Furthermore, Shopify listed “free” as one of its 4 magic words that increase sales, explaining that it isn’t just a price, but “a powerful emotional trigger and a source of irrational excitement”. Retailers can offer free delivery, software manufacturers a free demo, and bakers a free sample of a fresh batch of bread — all to great effect.

If you’re still not convinced about the power of free, take a look at Jamie Oliver’s YouTube channel. Despite making millions through his cookbooks, television shows and restaurants, Oliver still takes the time to publish recipes that are available for free online. Why? Well, his YouTube videos have accumulated almost 250 million views, and his channel has more than two-and-a-half million loyal subscribers. The next time one of these subscribers goes to buy a cookbook, either as a gift or for themselves, Oliver is likely to be the first chef they look to after all of the goodwill he’s built up with them.

How you can utilise the power of free

No matter what product or service your business provides, there’s sure to be at least one way you can leverage the power of free.

One of the most effective ways is by following in Jamie Oliver’s footsteps and producing top-quality content that you give away for free online. By doing so, you’ll earn a reputation as an expert in your niche, which will make your business the first name that comes to consumers’ minds when they need the product or service you provide.

If you provide a service, you may have reservations about giving your knowledge away for free — after all, if consumers can get the information they need from your website and do it themselves, why would they ever pay you? However, keep in mind that, while someone might use your content to fulfill the need they had at that moment, the positive experience they had with your brand is likely to make you the first business that comes to mind when they need your service again. So a plumbing company might produce a piece of content that helps a homeowner connect their washing machine by themselves and then find themselves the first company the same homeowner calls when they find a leak in their bathroom.

Giving expert advice away for free works for businesses that sell products just as well as it does for those who provide a service. For example, if you sell bespoke watches and produce the definitive guide to wristwatch maintenance, then this will show potential customers that you know your industry in and out, so they can rest assured they’re getting a top-quality product when they buy from you. Even offering free delivery can be enough to set your business apart from the competition and give you a dramatic increase in sales.

If you want to increase sales across your business, then learn from some of the most successful companies in the world and start utilising one of the most powerful marketing principles by giving away your industry knowledge for free.

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