» Business & Marketing Tips

Case Study: $0 to $145,000 in Product Giveaways

Here's how one marketer used a simple advertising campaign to quickly build a big email list of customers.

Using this strategy, this marketer generated $145,000 in income and increased his list of customers and subscribers to over 20,000 (and counting).

The essential point here is that the ad was designed to go viral, resulting in an average of 37% opt-in rates and an astounding 8% sales conversion rate from cold traffic.

That's correct... COLD traffic.

The campaign pays for itself, which means that those who receive the free product pay enough in shipping and handling to cover the costs of both the campaign and the product and shipping.

Some days, depending on a few different conditions, he really makes a decent profit. But he never has to pay to build his list.

And, after giving it some thought, I believe it would work in almost any market.

This is how it works:

He's promoting a free product. And who doesn't like getting something for free?

Even better, this is an actual product that he mails. Everyone prefers receiving physical stuff than receiving virtual items, and they also enjoy receiving packages in the mail.

He makes a full-color ad that promotes a relatively inexpensive product for free. In his situation, the product he chose is probably worth $20 to the end customer, but he's paying a ridiculously low amount for it.

In addition, the customer is responsible for shipping and handling.

When the prospect clicks on the ad, he or she is directed to a page that describes the product, its benefits, and its scarcity.

He also explains why he's giving it away, which increases sales. People are less likely to purchase if they don't understand why you're giving anything away.

Now, take special attention to the following: For whatever reason, there is no mention of the cost of shipping and handling on the landing page. The rationale offered to the consumer is that in order to calculate the cost of shipping, the customer must first enter their information.

But the real reason is to collect the email and mailing addresses of those who do not pay for delivery and do not receive the merchandise.

This manner, you're not only establishing a list of purchasers, but also of people who are interested in the niche but don't complete the procedure to receive the free goods.

This simple trick will DOUBLE the amount of your list.

After entering their shipping information, the prospect is led to a page with shipping alternatives. Shipping is usually between $7 and $9. The prospect submits their credit card information and then completes their transaction.

You have two alternatives once they've paid: direct them to a thank you page or direct them to an upsell for another product or service.

Rather than fulfilling orders himself, he uses drop shipping. The orders are routed to a wholesaler – in this case, AliExpress – and the product is delivered straight to the clients. Products are made and warehoused in China before being delivered directly to clients on your behalf, so you never have to deal with products.

And because they are made in China, the prices are around 10% lower than they would be in North America.

Some products can be supplied to your clients for as little as $1, including delivery.

For example, if you charge $6.97 for shipping and handling, the fee will cover the product, delivery, and ad costs.

This provides you with a new buyer at no cost or, in certain cases, at a profit.

Why is this type of promotion so successful?

Because people enjoy receiving free items in the mail, even if they must pay for shipping and handling.

People are considerably more likely to share your offer on social media if it is free.

You're constructing a list of BUYERS, and as we all know, one buyer is worth countless freebie seekers.

Even those on the second list you're compiling — those who completed the form but did not enter their credit card number – were interested enough to provide you with more than just an email address.

Finally, it is significantly easier to upsell someone who has just purchased something. I can almost guarantee you will perform well if you place an upsell on this funnel that is tightly matched with the initial offer.

Why do I enjoy this type of marketing so much?

    You can rapidly develop a buyer list.

    You're shipping a real, tangible product while keeping no inventory on hand.

    Because you're using a drop shipping service like AliExpress, there's nothing for you to ship.

    This type of offer is widely shared online and has the potential to go viral.

    This strategy is adaptable to practically any market.

    When you offer the upsell, buyers have already given you their credit card information, making the following sale much easier.

What are the dangers to be aware of?

There are a few things to bear in mind...

1: Plan ahead of time

You must plan ahead of time what types of products you will promote to your new list beyond this initial sales funnel.

It is critical that your initial offer is aligned with those products, or else your list will stop buying.

You can't give away complimentary cosmetics and then try to market household cleaners, for example. However, you could sell cosmetics lessons as well as more makeup goods.

2: Explain why you're doing it.

You must explain to the prospect why you are providing this free product.

People are inherently skeptical of free things, and they will be hesitant to place an order unless you explain why you're only charging shipping and handling.

You may be testing a new product, holding an anniversary sale, or celebrating your own birthday.

As long as you give a justification, they'll stop wondering what the catch is and place their order.

3: Incorporate scarcity into your campaign.

Maybe you're only giving away a specific quantity of products, or you're only allowing individuals to get one or two for themselves, or your offer has a time limit.

Include a sense of scarcity in your messaging to encourage them to act immediately now.

4: Not available in stores

If at all possible, select products that are not widely available elsewhere. A gorgeous blue wallet, for example, is likely to be available elsewhere, but a pretty blue wallet with a particular adorable kitten on it could be a fast seller because that kitten isn't seen anywhere else.

5: Do not allow AliExpress to include receipts.

Depending on the drop shipping service you employ, you may need to inform them that a receipt is not required.

Consider this: you charge $7.95 to ship a "free" product worth $20, and the buyer receives a receipt stating that you paid $1 for the thing.

That's not good.

To avoid this from happening on AliExpress, simply specify "Please no receipt in box" in the ordering information.

6: Pick your products and dealers prudently.

Order and test the products before distributing them. A good product will help your reputation, whilst a bad product will harm it.

Check out how long it takes to receive the product and how it is packaged.

Use AliExpress' seller rating system to identify respectable vendors on whom you can rely.

PRO-TIP: Look for a similar or nearly identical product from another seller in case your seller runs out of the item you're giving away.

7: Adjust customer shipment expectations.

Make it obvious to everyone who receives the free offer that because this is a special campaign, shipping times will be longer.

The truth is that the merchandise is being shipped from China, and shipping timeframes can vary greatly. 2 to 4 weeks is typical, although 6 weeks is not unheard of.

8: Chinese New Year is an actual thing.

Other countries may find it difficult to understand, but China effectively shuts down for two to three weeks in February to celebrate Chinese New Year. This can have a significant impact on shipment times, so plan accordingly.

9: Continue selling to leads who did not pay for shipment.

If they take the effort to fill out their shipping information, there is a good possibility you can persuade them to finish the process of paying for shipping by reminding them again over the next several days.

Emphasize how much other people appreciate the free product as well as its scarcity, and you'll receive more free product sales as well as a few more upsells.

10: Requirements for a landing page

While the subject of this case study will not allow me to show you his precise landing page where he takes the name and address of the person receiving the free offer, I can tell you what it contains.

The title at the top of the page is "Free _item name_," and this is where you tell people what you're giving away.

There are two columns in total.

From top to bottom, the left column contains:

A countdown timer with the words "This exceptional offer expires in hours/minutes/seconds."

A photograph of the object being given away.

A bar indicating that the item is 87 percent sold out.

Guarantee symbols to indicate that the item is guaranteed, as well as the security of the customer's information.

A subheadline reading, "Free _item name_ giveaway"

A paragraph describing the product's advantages.

A second paragraph describing the product's qualities.

The following items are listed in the right column, from top to bottom:

"Shipping" as well as the fields for name and address

A blue bar with the words "Go to Step #2" on it.

The credit card images (Visa, Master Card, American Express, Discover)

The subheadline reads, "Facebook Testimonials."

Several brief Facebook endorsements

That's the end of it.

Of course, the next page is where the customer enters their credit card information.

This is a basic strategy that can be used in virtually any niche to develop a funnel that can go viral, grow a list of prospects and buyers, and even generate you money as you build your list.

The real money, of course, comes as you continue to send offers to your new lists that are closely linked with the initial offer.