It amazes me how afraid business owners are of giving something of value away, that fear of loss prevents them from learning something special about themselves and their customers. Typically, if they aren’t afraid, they are trying to dump a loss leader item that is costing them money, not because it adds value to their customer base. It’s a way of justifying a bad buying decision, let’s just get rid of it, rather than invest in it and do something special for our customers. If that’s you, why not rethink how you can bundle that bad buying decision and turn it into something customers could use and actually want.
Maybe you’re not one of those businesses trying to dump a product that didn’t sell like you thought it would, maybe you’re just trying to figure out how to bring up the bottom line during a down cycle in sales. It doesn’t really matter what or when, it does matter how view and think about incorporating FREE into your business. The benefits of free are mind-boggling sometimes, there are examples of business, large and small, that took the risk and came out looking like the most amazing company ever!
From very large organizations, to individuals, people who saw the value in their customers, not their wallets. The by-product of the interaction and free, was in the end, customers opening their wallets…or they became your largest PR & Marketing machine. You know, the kind of advertising you could never buy or afford.
Most of you know who Gary Vaynerchuck is, he gave away his Wine Library TV content, most of you know who Seth Godin is, he opened up Squidoo, and you get to use it for free, they both practice the Open & Free Business Model, in their own unique way, but that’s the they’re selling advantage. They gave content away, good content, and or provided a service that didn’t force you to open your wallet. They also did it for a considerable length of time, they built credibility. WestJet over Christmas used FREE as a way to not only show they value customers, but they did something no one saw coming. The setup a kiosk where you scanned your boarding pass and Santa appeared asking what you wanted for Christmas, hours later when those who participated landed, Westjet presented each of them with the gift they asked for by sliding it down the baggage carousel for them to pickup. It was brilliant, it was dubbed a #WestjetChristmas, and it was risky too. It doesn’t matter how much they spent on the gifts, they got it back and then some with the PR that came from it.
Watch the video:
No, not everyone can do what WestJet did, but you can do something. And no, not everyone needs your product or service, but someone does, and they’re looking for you, online and off. Keep in mind, what you think should be given away for free, may not be of value to your customer base, it’s a double-edged sword if you get it wrong. You must know your client base, understand some of their basic needs. You must have some data to work with to get the strategy right, to make sure it succeeds. Don’t just give something away for the sake of giving it away, make sure you think it through, and build something around it that makes it engaging, people want to be a part of it. Hire the right people to help you, don’t rely on your own brain power, get outside help, they will see your business from a different paradigm.
The Future of Business is leading people on a journey, giving them something they didn’t really need but wanted, to be a part of what you are doing anyway. Plus, your product or service actually solved a problem, or helped them get to the next level. You provided value because you valued them first. The Open & Free Business Model is a way to make a difference in your business, to make a difference in your customers view of you and your business. Use your business to make the world a better place.
Every year Christmas rolls around I have no clue what I want for Christmas! I usually say, just get me socks & underwear. You can never have enough of that stuff, they grow legs! The reality is, whenever I need or want something, I just go and buy it. I know, I take away the opportunity for someone to bless me with something I actually want. This year though, there a couple things I would like to have for Christmas, let me share.
1.) New iPhone or Blackberry – my cell phone died a very quick death from three stories high : ) slipped out of hand..ooooppps!
2.) An External 1 TB Hard Drive
3.) A MinoHD Camera
4.) Flat Screnn TV ( 42″)
5.) PS3 or XBOX (I have PS2 & WII)
6.) Maybe some cool reading material
7.) And maybe one of my Vision / Goals for 2010 : ) ( My Vision / Goals )
What about you, let’s be kids again and dream & wish for something, what do you want for Christmas?