Submitted by Ali Brown
As a small business owner, you don't want a website where people land, look, and leave. It used to be enough to just offer a monthly newsletter with tips and tricks to get people to sign up in seconds. But, with everyone online now, that's not enough to cut it. These days, you have to get creative to draw people to your list, and one effective tool that works well these days is giving away something of uncommon value.
Read on for TEN types of giveaways you can host on your website to help your business stand out from the crowd:
1. Discounts or coupons. One "characteristic" of humans that crosses all socio-economic levels is: we LOVE a good deal. (Even Oprah likes "Clinique Bonus" time.) You can offer regular discounts and coupons in your ezine, particularly if your service or product is something that people use regularly such as makeup, hairstyling, massages, ink for your printer, etc.
2. Ebooks. Ebooks are still revered as an incentive to opt-in, as long as they are on a topic that your target audience really values. You need in-demand information (generally 20 pages or more), as well as a gorgeous book cover image (check out KillerCovers if you're looking for a professional service that can help).
3. Audios. Audio with informative content is attractive to clients because they can listen to it in the car, download it to their iPod, or play it at home -- wherever they learn best. Plus, they can keep listening to it as many times as they need. You can offer an audio file as an mp3 link, but for greater impact, send them a CD with an attractive cover and case.
4. Teleclasses. Create a free teleclass on a hot topic, record it, and then offer it as a giveaway in audio and transcript form. This sets you up as an expert with whom your web visitors will want to stay in touch.
5. Gifts or Samples. Sometimes the best way to sell a product is to offer a sample (think along the lines of ice cream samples at Ben & Jerry's or a bonbon tasting at See's Candies). Consider giving away a "taste" of your product. This works great if your product is part of a series, because it can let them see your style, your depth of content, etc., and if they like what they see, they'll likely want more.
6. Contests. If your product, or any part of it, is too valuable to give away, you might want to host a giveaway. An author who just self-published a hardback book, could give away a free, autographed copy on a weekly basis. Or, host a contest for a winning cover design and offer to cross promote the winning designer's services. It's always fun for people to see the contest winner's names listed on the website, so make sure to add that little feature in for added incentive and legitimacy.
7. DVDs. It's easy to create a video these days with handheld camcorders like the Flip SD, and video gives you the advantage of being able to talk directly to your audience. You could tape a live workshop or presentation you've already set up, where you're speaking to a live audience, or, if you're a little camera shy, even a PowerPoint presentation can be a great visual tool. As long as you keep the content relevant and engaging, you'll have a great free DVD that you can mail out as a giveaway.
8. Free Reports. A report can be shorter than an ebook (less than 20 pages, usually) and you have a little more flexibility as far as formatting and voice is concerned. You could choose to follow a narrative form, which is a great way to let people in on who you are, what your story is, how you became an expert, etc. Or, you can write it as a white paper, which is a longer, more formal marketing report that uses a problem, solution, state of the industry type of format, infused with hard-researched statistics.
9. Trial Memberships. Giving a 30-day free or low-cost trial is a terrific way to give customers a sample of your unique expertise and win them over as paying clients. Just make sure that their access doesn't give them carte blanche to months and years of material that they can download and then run.
10. Informational Series. Another freebie you can offer is a series of mini-lessons or mini-courses, which is actually a series of emails you've pre-written (a.k.a. "autoresponders") that is released to the prospect on a weekly or bi-weekly schedule. Let's say, for example, you are an SEO expert. You could offer 10 mini-lessons leaking the "Top 10 Plugins for Your WordPress Blog" or 7 mini-courses summarizing the "Top 7 SEO Strategies for Driving Traffic to Your Website".
So get the full details on my List Building System here now.
About the Author
Ali Brown is fast becoming regarded as the voice for women's entrepreneurial success. After launching her first business from her tiny NYC studio apartment in 1999, she has grown it into what is today a multimillion-dollar enterprise that ranked in 2009's Inc. 500 list of fastest growing private companies in the nation.
Ali has been featured as an expert in the New York Post, Investor's Business Daily, and on TV including Fox Business Network, ABC News Now, E!, and morning shows around the country. She was named one of 2010's Enterprising Women of the Year and was ranked on Forbes.com as the #1 Woman for Entrepreneurs to Follow on Twitter. She was also honored as one of Ernst & Young's Winning Women of 2010.
If you liked today's issue, you'll love Ali's dynamic courses and programs to help you start, market, and grow your business. Learn more at www.AliBrown.com.