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Do Freebies Generate Leads?

Feb 25, 2008
It is the nature of the human being. We all want something for free. This is a behavioral truth that business owners can use to increase traffic to their websites and generate targeted leads.

A purchase is not made, most of the time, at the first visit to a website. In general, a consumer will compare prices around, will visit a site multiple times and then she will make a decision. That's where the website becomes a tool to generate leads. The website needs to follow up on an initial visit with the potential customer.

One of the most common freebies is the ezine or the newsletter. Visitors will input the name and email address - at the minimum - to be updated on a certain offered product, or to receive discount offers. After a successful subscription, the visitor is called "lead". The result over time is a large mailing list of qualified prospects. In addition to the newsletter, business owners email announcements of new products or services to this custom-made pool of potential buyers.

Another way to offer a freebie in exchange for a name and an email address is by giving away a free niche report or a free e-book. This gives visitors to the website an additional incentive to take action, an important step in converting the visit into a future sale. A time limited offer for the sign-up for the freebie creates a sense of urgency in visitors, making them sign-up for it, and becoming leads.

Another main benefit of offering a freebie is that one can take the temperature of the market, test if it is a hot market or not. A significant response to an offer suggests the item is a hot topic among qualified buyers. New product developement can start based on the answer to a freebie offer.

One downside of the free offers is the possibility to attract only freebie seekers, not targeting enough a prospect. One way to decrease the sign up of these is to tie the free offer to a paid offer, which is tightly related to the feebie. The combination will make the offer unappealing to the freebie seekers.

Another freebie offered to visitors could be a free membership to a paid online community.
Membership entitles the user to access restricted areas of the site, publish a profile, and interact with other members of the community. Only a basic amount of information is required, as name and e-mail address.

It is estimated that by offering a freebie as incentive, the response rate to an offer triples. That lowers the cost of leads acquisition and the total expense of the campaign.

Freebies are good for lead generation when targeted to the right market segment, by making possible following up with a prospective buyer.
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