Colin and Carly Johnson Keller Williams Johnson City TN

Colin and Carly Johnson of Keller Williams Realty with a free Cootie Brown’s Key Lime Pie! Colin’s rapid response to our monthly email newsletter tied with David Tomita, so they both got pies. See below.

We are always looking for ways to give out free stuff.  Everybody likes free stuff. It’s fun to give and it’s fun to get.

And if you can promote your own products or services with the free door prize, that’s all the better.

“We Can’t Give Away Our Stuff!”

But some businesses (like ours) struggle at times because the goods or services they offer are more valuable, less tangible, and more time-intensive than are feasible in most “door prize” situations.

You can always give out pens, notepads, calendars, and whatnot with your logo and contact info, but let’s face it, no one gets excited about that stuff.  And you want people to be excited when they think of your brand.

Our Solution

Give out your client’s stuff.  You pay for it, of course, but it’s a great way to say “Here’s something awesome (or yummy, or incredibly useful, or insanely fun) from one of our VERY HAPPY CLIENTS!”

Your clients get the benefit of your publicity and they just sold one more widget.  They’re a little happier with you now than they were yesterday.

Case In Point

Our August 2012 Email Newsletter went out a couple of weeks ago and we wanted to say thank you to the good folks who are subscribed to us.  The email subject line was “Key Lime Pie from ITDi”.  You got the rhyme, we hope.  (See our blog post on how segmenting results in high open rates on email campaigns.)

The email started off with a statement that there was a free giveaway at the bottom.  We made them read to get to the goodies.  The last heading in the email was . . .


The first person to reply to this email telling us what kind of cheese comes on the “Sunrise” Pizza at Cootie Brown’s receives a Key Lime Pie from Cootie’s!  Hint: you might want to look for it on the website we just launched for them this summer.  Also, check out their sister-restaurant Jack’s City Grill.

Cootie Brown’s has the best key lime pie you’ve ever eaten and they just so happen to be a client of ours.  By embedding the clue on their site, we were actually getting our subscribers to look at more of our work that we are quite proud of.

David Tomita Johnson City TN

David Tomita with a free Coote Brown’s Key Lime Pie.

The responses were quick.  We had several replies with the correct answer within 3 MINUTES of sending the email. Further proof that folks are pretty darn good at skimming emails and websites to find what they want quickly.  Notice we used several headers and bullet points to make it easy to skim.

And, of course, since we have a lot of marketing-savvy email subscribers, we got several responses that recognized the advantageous methodology we employed.  “Sly move to get folks on the site. I love it!!”  “Nice site. Great marketing ploy. Keep up the good work.”

You don’t even have to give away your client’s stuff necessarily.  You can always just make your client a vehicle for the giveaway.  If your client has a good central location, make the pick-up of the goodie at the client’s office.  Or make folks go to your client’s website to find some information and report back to you to get the prize, no matter where it comes from.  The Giveaway could have just as easily been an Amazon Gift Credit, but to get it, you had to go to the client’s site and answer a question.

Each business is different, but be creative and think about tying your clients in the giveaways when possible.

Careful with Those Email Subject Lines

If you give something away in an email newsletter, take caution with your wording.  We were careful not to use the word “Free” in the subject line of the email.  SPAM filters just love kicking out emails with the word Free in the Subject Line.  Other words to avoid include Guaranteed, Cash, Click, Win, Winner, Collect.

Giveaway Opportunities

We’re always on the lookout for opportunities to give out free goodies.  We did a Gift Certificate to Jack’s City Grill at the last area Chamber Breakfast.  Give out stuff at conferences, trade shows, social events, and email newsletters.  Give us some more good giveaway opporutunities in the comments.

Heck, why not your blog?  Since you’ve been so good as to read to the end of this blog post, the first person to leave a comment telling us who was a former resident of “The Morgan Suite” at The General Morgan Inn receives a $10 Amazon Gift Credit. It was not “General Morgan”!  And, yes, that just happens to be one of our websites.