Whether it's a contest with a prize, a free sample, a free trial, a free consultation or a free instructional e-book, make sure you offer something of value that will wow your visitor into wanting more. One of the best give-aways I've seen is from the wood whisperer (http://www.thewoodwhisperer.com/giveaway)/ where they give away awesome tools and woodworking equipment. It only happens once a month so it's not like they're giving away something to every visitor. However, they are giving away a high-value item. Theirs works more like a raffle. They even encourage multiple entries with the requirement that you Tweet about them! Brilliant! With entries for their freebie, they're getting an email address and a Twitter shout-out to use for their own marketing purposes. In addition, everyone that visits that site for this freebie has the potential of becoming their next customer! Why not do this for yourself?
Who doesn't want to get something for free? Not only do I want stuff for free, but I want all my friends to have it too. I just told you about the woodworking site didn't I? The same will be true for your give-aways. Be sure to make your freebies and give-aways something specifically for your targeted audience and, better yet, something you would want for yourself. 30 minutes of your consulting time? A free e-book of recipes? A hand-stamped piece of jewelry? The possibilities are endless! Blog coach, Molly Greene (http://www.molly-greene.com/2-easy-ways-to-offer-giveaways-on-your-blog/), used her MailChimp account to give a free download 'welcome' gift to anyone that subscribed to her blog via their email address. Smart girl! Click on her site to see how to do it yourself on MailChimp.
It harder to get a new customer than it is to retain an existing customer. If you can get people to come to your site and sample your product, chances are they'll stick around or come back and see what else there is to buy. You're creating a positive buying experience even though you're giving something away. Whether you're creating a contest with a prize at the end or providing a freebie to those who subscribe to your blog or newsletter, give-aways are one of the most effective marketing tools you have at your disposal. What will you give away?