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Resource Center » How to Make Money Giving Away Free Stuff

You can shake your head in disbelief all you’d like, but there actually are legitimate ways in which your company can make money just by giving away freebies. By "freebies" or "free stuff," of course we’re talking about promotional items! You’ve probably seen businesses give away promotional products all the time, but perhaps you’ve never thought about how they generate additional revenue. It might not make sense at first glance (after all, businesses are supposed to sell products, not give them away, right?); however, when done correctly, distributing promotional items and giving away free stuff can actually earn you some money.

Megaphone (8") Money-Making Tip #1: Spread the Word (and Then Spread It Some More)

Promotional products usually grab people’s attention on their own, but why wait for your personalized merchandise to do all of the work for you? Get out there and make it known that your company is giving away free stuff! Use your gift of gab (and your employees’ gift of gab) and broadcast to any willing listener that you’re giving away free gifts. Don’t be afraid to post signs, run newspaper ads, and advertise as much as you can about the free stuff you’ll be handing out! Doing so will maximize your exposure, push you into the public eye, and get people talking, which you can then use to your advantage when you actually begin your giveaway.

Want to see this plan in action? Think about car dealerships; many of them will advertise the free items they are giving away in exchange for your attendance at their special events. They’ll invite radio stations to broadcast from their car lots so they can inform large numbers of people that they are offering free pizza or customized t-shirts at the promotion. Advertisements and public announcements like this attract many people, and the ones who attend such events often end up browsing the dealership’s inventory (which can then convert into sales).

Money-Making Tip #2: Associate an Existing Product with Your Giveaway

Here’s another way to make money with promotions: include the sale of another item into your giveaway. Do you have a brand new product or service that you’re trying to promote but no one seems to be biting? You need to pair it with an existing product or service in order to promote it well. For example, if your hair salon just started offering manicures but your clientele hasn’t been interested, try offering a free manicure with the purchase of a haircut and color service. This piques customer interest because of the free stuff and it gives you an opportunity to raise awareness about your new service!

Hamburger Stress Ball
Or, let’s say that you manage a fast food restaurant and you want to promote a new sandwich. Instead of simply giving one to every hungry patron who walks through your doors, you could offer a sandwich at no cost if the customer orders a medium drink. It may seem as if your restaurant would take a loss, but in reality you’ve tied the sale of a beverage into your new sandwich promotion! Refer back to tip #1 and create knowledge about the promotion through mailings, signs, and radio and television commercials so that word spreads quickly.

Dollar Sign Bandz Money-Making Tip #3: Organize a Contest to Give Away Your Free Stuff

Who doesn’t love a good contest? Contests can be incredibly fun, and they’re another option if you want to make money by giving away free stuff. For example, if you want to increase business traffic, try offering free gift cards to the first 100 customers of the day. Customers will be motivated to come to your business and stand in line for the prize, and it’s an easy way to make a promotion enjoyable and in-demand (think of Black Friday—many people are willing to wait for hours for these kinds of contests).

If you give away a few gift cards to a handful of lucky winners, then they’re likely to spend significantly more than the amounts given away at the door. Even those who do not receive a gift card will probably still shop in the store! While it appears that store giveaways like this are giving away free money, they are really only convincing people to shop and spend money there. These contests can make enormous profits by attracting paying customers.

The secret to making money on promotional products and giveaways is to make sure that your business is attracting enough customers to offset the cost of the promotion. Effective advertising is the key to maximizing the benefits of promotional giveaways as a moneymaking tool!

Article By Jill Tooley
Jill Tooley

Jill has been obsessed with words since her fingers could turn the pages of a book. She’s a hopeless bibliophile who recently purchased a Kindle after almost 6 years of radical opposition, and she loves stumbling upon new music on Pandora. Random interests include (but are not limited to) bookstores, movie memorabilia, and adorable rodents. In addition to managing the QLP blog, Jill also manages the content development team, assists with the company’s social media accounts, and writes like a fiend whenever given the chance. You can connect with Jill on Google+.

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