The Free Give-Away – It’s Better Online

Grand Central Station

image credit: bennie719 on flickr

You have probably all experienced it and even taken advantage of it – companies giving away free samples of their products outside of train stations.

Hell, I’m guilty of taking their samples sometimes, although I generally don’t bother as they are usually giving away stuff that is bad for you.

But every time I see these companies spending what would be quite a substantial amount of money on these give-aways, I cannot help but think they would be better off giving away samples online instead.

What do I mean by this?

Simply to use your online channels to send people the sample, creating buzz and a desire to actually want your product over just giving it away to random people you will probably never see or hear from again in the vain hope that they may try and like your product.

Below are 7 reasons to use an online channel instead of relying on a mass hand out to random people:

7 Reasons to Give-Away Online

  • You could use the give-away to collect potential customers email addresses so you can communicate and engage with them at a later date
  • Save money on staffing those stations with people handing out the free stuff
  • You would get more people who actually want to try the product as opposed to random people just taking it because it’s free and then dumping it into the nearest bin because they didn’t want it in the first place
  • You could create buzz online for the give-away. There are numerous sites that exist just to promote give-aways. Also, you could leverage any relationships built up previously with your target market (in the way of bloggers, for example) to promote the give-away
  • You could offer it to your Facebook fans only, thus giving people another reason to Like your page and hear your on-going messages
  • You can manage the flow of free samples better from one central location
  • You open up many more options to market your product and to build better interaction and longer-lasting association to your brand. For example, you could create a game or puzzle around the give-away, challenging people to “win” the sample instead of just getting it for free

Still Not Convinced?


image credit: RambergMediaImages on flickr

Then have a look at Billy Boy condoms, who send out a free sample to everyone who Likes their Facebook page, or Nature’s Path muesli bars, who teamed up with The Ellen DeGeneres Show and sends a free sample after you take a quick poll telling them which bar “makes your mouth sing.”

Challenging Yourself

It’s basically the difference between being a lazy marketer and doing what everyone else is doing, and challenging yourself, trying to be a little different than your competition. And it’s about working smarter, not harder.

Sure, you may not give as many of the product away online as at the train station (although this is debatable as well), but you may just be able to gather a list of hundreds of potential customers you can reach out to in the near future – what is that worth to your business?

Has your business ever tried a give-away promotion? How did you fare?