Our Most Creative Marketing Tool: Offering Our Expertise for Free

Sharing our knowledge as a marketing tool.Everyone loves to get something for free, and this includes customers as well as business owners. We decided to cash in on this zero-down mentality to promote our computer tutoring business. Instead of investing capital to offer marketing freebies, we offered our expertise for free. Here's how this approach helped us grow our small business.

Increased Consumption From Existing Customers

To invite our current customers to buy more tutoring sessions, we offered them a free lesson: pay in advance for five lessons, and you'll receive a sixth one for free. On the face of it, this amounted to a 17-percent discount. In fact, we increased our monthly revenue because costumers committed to more lessons in order to qualify for the free bonus.

Offered More Derivative Freebies

The savvier our students became at using their computers, the more likely they were to require an upgrade to their machine. We offered free upgrade counseling from updating an existing machine to ordering or custom-building a new one. We then charged for installation or set-up only, selling any parts at cost. This added a new facet to our home tutoring business, increasing our revenue by 35 percent the first year.

Free Bonus for Referrals

Once again tapping into our existing customer base, we included a referral coupon with every receipt. The referral could be torn off and shared with a friend or family member. Once a new costumer cashed in a referral coupon, both he and the referring customer received a free lesson. After adding the referral coupon to our invoices, we saw a 20-percent increase in referrals over the first six months, and the number increased to 25 percent within a year.

Free Sample

To tempt customers to upgrade their computer to a better one, we offered a free upgrade tutorial if we were hired to install the new components or build the new machine. The free tutorial aimed to show the customer the potential of his new machine. He could then choose to take additional lessons to master different programs and skills. In the first year, we saw a 60-percent rise in customers deciding to upgrade some or all of their computers.

Free Holiday Cards

We treated our students like people, not just customers. We looked online for humorous comics that centered around computers. Using photo editing software, we turned the comics into greeting cards with our business information on the back. We sent cards to all our customers on birthdays and holidays.

Free Coupon Flyers

To reach a new customer base without resorting to junk mail, we created a business flyer that offered a free computer lesson. We distributed the flyer ourselves to friends, family, and co-workers, as well as in targeted locations, such as specialized computer stores or community centers. We received a higher than expected return rate (37 new clients per 125 flyers). And over 80 percent of them signed up for at least one additional lesson beyond the freebie.

By turning our knowledge into freebies, we were able to offer customers value without having to invest capital in handing out free swag. This concept can apply to every business. Sharing knowledge via a blog, website, free estimates, or seminars are all excellent ways to reach out to existing or potential costumers and establish yourself as an authority on the subject.

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