The art of the freebie

Offering a freebie will catch the attention of many, especially if what you offer is

a) valuable and
b) there is no other catch associated with it.

I saw that in action during lunch today. Here is what happened:

Mike Martin (president of ValEdge Solutions) and I have been friends for years. We meet every few weeks to catch up on things. Today was one such day. We had lunch at The Prolific Oven right next to Mike’s office.

The Prolific Oven serves varieties of pastries and other bakery items along with a range of sandwiches. The sandwich was great. There was also an interesting twist. Every sandwich plate had a small piece of the one of the pastries from the bakery. During the 90 minutes I was there, I observed that at least three people ordered pastries to go after they had their lunch. The sampling really worked.

This is not the only place where the concept works.

Taking inspiration from Seth, I made my eBook “Personal Branding for Technology Professionals” available for free. 97,000 copies were downloaded. Izumoto Takashi from Japan even got a Japanese version created. It may seem like there was no ROI from these eBooks as they were distributed for free. Not true. Just the sheer reach and the number of friendships that developed because of this will make it all worth it.

Having founded an open source solutions company CIGNEX in late 2000, I saw this model work for many open source companies.

You can see that technique in use in many companies that offer free trials.

Question therefore is: What can your business do to take advantage of this?

Something to think about.