Is Free Really an Effective Marketing Strategy?

Everyone loves free stuff. Go to any convention and attendees all flock to the displays where items are being given away for free. When companies like Chick-Fil-A, 7 Eleven, Rita’s or Dairy Queen give away free products, people flock to the business.

Is Free an Effective Marketing Strategy?

Giving away free products is a form of advertising. After all, the goal of all advertising is for someone to use the product or service and like it enough to become a repeat buyer and tell other people about the great product or service. The ultimate goal of advertising is seeding word-of-mouth.

The same is true for book sales. Word-of-mouth is the top of driver of sales. Publishers and authors spend money on marketing a book in hopes that people will read the book and like it well enough to start telling others about it.

Giving away free books as part of a book marketing campaign brings the following three benefits to your book.

1.  It drives sales.

Giving away free books to readers drives discovery. It introduces an author to new readers. When avid readers like a book, they tend to read other books by that same author. After all, author familiarity is one of the top drivers of book sales.

Free is a powerful sales catalyst for series or backlists, especially with ebooks. Studies indicates that ebook series that offer the first book free earn 55% more on average than series that don’t offer the first ebook free.

2.  It develops rapport.

Giving free books develops rapport. Rapport is needed to develop a relationship. There are four main reasons people do business with someone. These four reasons are:

  • They like you.
  • They trust you.
  • They find you competent.
  • They believe you have integrity.

Rapport opens the door for trust. Giving free copies of your book to readers is one way to begin to develop trust with these buyers. If these readers like your book, they will tell others.

3.  It encourages feedback.

Feedback benefits you. Reactions and observations let you know what you are doing well. It also tells you what you need to improve. When you give away a free book, you can invite feedback. After all, you want to know whether the book resonated with the reader or whether you need to change a few things so you can better connect with your target audience.

Some individuals who receive a free copy of a book will provide feedback in the form of a review, either on their own blog, website, social media sites, newsletter, or on an online bookstore. This is the best type of feedback because reviews help sell books.

Related Posts:
What Influences Book Purchasing Decisions?
Sampling: An Effective Marketing Tool
Are You Making This Connection?

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