Contributing writer and columnist, Business Insider
Everyone loves getting free stuff. But what businesses have to figure out is whether there’s a paying to giving things away.
Here are three benefits that make not only give things away to prospective customers or clients, but give the business a little free love, too.
Free Press Ed Brown, the owned of Manhattan’s eighty one restaurant, said he felt the tightening of wallets over the last few months. In February he decided to offer a free dinner to 165 guests at his high-end restaurant. Brown timed the event to coincide with the restaurant’s one-year anniversary and launch of its economy friendly menu. His goal was to figure out how to be newsworthy during a time when value discounts are everywhere.
“We decided to go far outside the box and offer the first 165 respondents a free meal.” The results were undeniably fruitful for his business. “I got 1,200 responses and e-mails from people who want to be marketed to.” Since Brown’s big media event, he’s seen a steady influx of business.
The catch? That free meal spread the news of good, affordable food that you now want to eat often!
Free Advertising The Blackhouse a t-shirt company created by CEO Benjamin Kelley around President Barack Obama’s campaign for president, has given away 20 percent of its production so far. Its parody $20 T-shirts featuring a black White House in honor of President Obama was a gimmick Kelley’s been able to continue to sell. Part of Kelley’s strategy is giving his shirts away to key celebrities and stylish consumers.
“We first targeted specific events and venues with liberal people who were excited about the possibility of Obama as president,” says Kelley. “Now we’re selling because of word of mouth.” Capitalizing on the exposure a celebrity garners has been particularly beneficial in spreading word about the shirts.
“I gave t-shirts to (rapper) Q-Tip and his crew and (actress) Rosario Dawson and some of her friends,” says Kelley. “Hopefully they will receive some press while wearing the shirts.” For Kelley the free advertising is priceless. The exposure potential of a well-known celebrity seen wearing his shirt is worth the $7 loss he takes for each shirt.
The catch? If a celebrity has a cool shirt, you want a cool shirt!
Free Fun The Pond at Bryant Park offers free ice-skating for the public three months a year. Upsilon Ventures, the company behind the ice charade, transforms public spaces into temporary community projects as marketing tool. While families enjoy the free rink, they are also as whizzing by the 120 surrounding shops at Bryant Park armed and ready to temp shoppers. “It’s about drawing an audience,” says Bryan Darrow, a publicist representing Upsilon Ventures. “Once the crowd gets there, they spend big at all the cool boutique, craft shops and restaurants.”
The catch? You’re having so much free fun, that a few new purchases surely make the day even more perfect!