Offer Freebies to Increase Traffic for Your Green Business

Everybody loves free stuff. But today’s green consumers don’t read newspapers or clip coupons to find the best eco-friendly products and services – they rely on social media marketing to track down the best green deals in town. Freebies can be an excellent tool for introducing new customers to your eco products and services, drive traffic to your website, and improve your green business brand. So what are you waiting for? Read on to find out how to give away free stuff to help boost your green marketing efforts.

Ideas for green freebies for your social media marketing campaign

Let’s face it, there are as many types of freebies as there are green businesses. The type of freebie campaign you choose to run will largely depend on what you have to offer, your budget, and the types of green customers you have. Check out these freebie ideas to see which one best suits your green business:

  • Free content: Perhaps one of the least expensive options, giving away free content – in the form of an ebook, white paper, checklists, templates, interview transcripts, glossary lists, forms, or how-to guides – is easy and a great way to provide value without breaking the bank. Choose a topic that fits your business – “How to Grow Organic Tomatoes” for your eco gardening business or “Report: The Hazards of Conventional Cleaning Products” for your green cleaning services – and put it together in an appropriate, easy to download and readable format. If you’re not a writer, look for a provider on a freelancing website like Elance or Guru.Ecorazzi does a Twitter giveaway every Thursday
  • Free product: This is especially suitable for green businesses with their own product line, but can be used by virtually any type of green business. You could give away programmable thermostats to the first 50 people to sign up for your newsletter or CFL light bulbs for those interested in joining your online community. However, if you are a web publisher with a thriving community, you can offer to promote eco-products to your audience. Green businesses get the free promotion, you, as a web publisher, get the traffic benefits.
  • Coupons and discounts: Of course, if your services or products are a bit too pricey to be giving away wholesale, you can also offer coupons and discounts to get people interested.  For instance, you may offer 15% off for new customers to your green carpet cleaning business or a coupon for a free jug of organic milk for those who show up at your store between certain hours.
  • Free education: Helping people learn how to live greener lives can also be a great way to promote your business. You may want to record a video explaining how to remove stains from clothing naturally and offer that to those who visit your site. Or provide a webinar on the best ways to reduce waste for small businesses. Research reports are also a great example of free content that will get people visiting in droves.
  • Contests: Here’s another fun way to offer free stuff to your green customers – run a contest. That may mean giving a big prize to just one lucky winner, but will garner lots of traffic to your site and many new loyal customers, too.

Promoting your free green stuff using social media

Now that you’ve come up with one or two (or more!) ways to offer free stuff to your green customers, you’ll need a strategy for promoting them to increase your website traffic and gain new business.

Here are some proven social media marketing strategies that will help you get the word out about your freebies:

    Ecoseek offers 60 minute eco-friendly product deals on Facebook

  • Facebook: If your green business already has a presence on Facebook, leverage that by posting messages on your wall or running a Facebook ad campaign. Be sure to use Facebook to share links, add widgets, run surveys, and more to promote your freebie. If you’re not already on Facebook, set up a Fan Page for your green business or start a group around your eco business’ main product or service line. For a great example how an eco-products company leverages Facebook to market their products, check out Ecoseek’s Facebook Fan Page. While not free, Ecoseek offers select product deals via regular 60 Minute Deal posts, which keeps their customers coming back for more.
  • Twitter: If you haven’t already set up a Twitter account for your green business, you need to do so. Next, use that platform to sent out Tweets like, “Get free energy management software for your computer,” or “Free organic smoothies to the first 15 customers today!”, or  “The 25th retweeter wins a FREE electric scooter!” Better yet, schedule your freebie giveaways so that your followers know what day to look out for them. Check out Ecorazzi’s Twitter Thursday contexts as an example.
  • Your green blog: Of course, you should definitely talk about your freebies on your green blog. A great way to do this is to create a regular column dedicated to your contests, giveaways, or deals. This eliminates the random factor, as it allows your customers know where to look for your offers, and informs them of which day in the week you are running your promotions. For additional visibility, you can create an ad on your site that promotes the offer, or links to the free giveaway column.

Promoting your free eco products via direct marketing & online advertising

It is important with any kind of freebie giveaway or discounted product promotion that you have a strategy for capturing leads especially if you are using direct marketing channels or paid advertising channels that are not going to directly increase your blog readership, Facebook, and / or Twitter community. You will want to create a landing page for your offer, so that your visitor enters their name and email address in order to get your free product.

  • Newsletters: If you’ve already got a following for your newsletter, be sure to update your customers in your next regular newsletter edition by sending them to your website to find out more about the free stuff campaign.
  • Press release: There are numerous free press release sites you can use to send out a big message blast to promote your freebie offer.
  • Email signatures: Promote your freebies with regular communications by putting a tagline about your offer in your email signature.
  • Article writing: This is especially useful if your freebie is a free ebook or report, but can be used for any type of free offering. Just write up some content that’s relevant to your freebie, include links to your freebie, and post it on several article databases.
  • PPC and Display Advertising: If you’ve got a little green marketing money, you can try to launch a Google Adwords campaign or run some banner ads, and drive visitors to your offer landing page. This strategy works best if your freebie is an information download, such as a webinar signup, free PDF, eBook, or video tutorial, otherwise you will end up with marketing costs AND shipping costs, which is tough for a small green business. Make sure you combine this with a strategy to capture their information as a lead, otherwise this will end up becoming a very expensive strategy. Then make sure, in addition to getting the free download, they are automatically signed up to your email newsletter, which delivers your latest posts to their inbox. A certain percentage of e-newsletter recipients will click over to the live post on the site.
  • Offline marketing: If you’ve got a store front or are promoting your green business at a trade fair or some other event, be sure to advertise your freebie offer there as well using printed media, newsletter sign-up forms, and so on. You must combine this with a sound strategy to collect their customer information, otherwise you will find yourself wasting good money on expensive marketing collateral.

Image Via Flickr: MarcinMoga/Lolek

This post was written by:

Lorna Li

Lorna Li is a social media and green marketing expert. She enjoys helping green businesses and nonprofits with bootstrap marketing, as well as helping job seekers leverage social media for personal branding.

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