10 Ways to Use Free to Boost Your Platform

July 2, 2020  •  Marketing Strategy

Earlier this week, we talked about how to create an email magnet to grow your email subscriber list. Whether you realize it or not, this is not just list-building, it’s marketing.

And there are many more ways to use free marketing to grow your audience than an email magnet. How can you be sure you’ve leveraged every opportunity to grow your audience?

Free is Good…But With Purpose

Who doesn’t like getting something for free? Just walk the aisles at Costco or Sam’s Club on a Saturday afternoon and you’ll notice swarms of people at every sample station. It’s part of the shopping experience! Except, how often do you really buy those products after having a sample? For most people, not very often. It is the store, not the product, that benefits most as shoppers enjoy the endless free samples.

While “free” is a great way to draw attention to your product, it comes with a downside. When your audience expects everything to be free, they will hesitate to pay for something when you need them to. However, it can be a brilliant marketing strategy. Many individuals and companies are using this strategy very effectively to:

  • Build mailing lists. This is the email magnet we’ve talked about. Our founder, Michael Hyatt offered a 94-page ebook, “Creating Your Personal Life Plan,” to everyone who signed up to receive his blog updates via email. In the first six months, Michael generated 23,326 subscriptions. He routinely updates his email magnet to this day.
  • Generate customer reviews. When Michael was CEO of Thomas Nelson, the company launched a program to get its books into the hands of bloggers who could quickly spread the word to their readers. They made it easy for bloggers to choose which books they wanted to review in exchange for an honest review on their blog. The free program recruited 20,000 bloggers and thousands of reviews for their books.
  • Provide product samples. Assuming you have a great product—and this is a prerequisite!—the best thing you can do is “seed the market” with free samples. For instance, if you wrote a book, you could give away a limited number of copies on your blog. Better yet, you could give free copies to a successful blogger to give away to their large audience for you!

Try Platform University!

Want to give Platform University (your one-stop shop for building an online audience) a spin? Get your first week of Platform University for just $1. Cancel anytime. Try Platform University for Just $1

How does this apply to you?

Simple. You should use free to drive your marketing strategy. This can help you build your platform and launch your products. Here are ten quick idea-starters to make free work for you.

  1. Offer free samples of your product to potential customers. This could the first two chapters of your book, the first two songs from your album, or a recording of you performing live.
  2. Offer an ebook or special report in exchange for newsletter subscriptions. Hubspot is a master at this.
  3. Offer a free copy of your product to bloggers in exchange for an honest review on their blog. Start with the bloggers you know and follow.
  4. Offer free copies of your product to bigger bloggers to do a giveaway on their blog. You can offer fewer copies for smaller blogs and more copies for larger ones.
  5. Offer your time for free to people who buy various quantities of your products. Gary Vaynerchuk did this here and it helped drive him to the bestseller lists.
  6. Offer a free copy of the product in another format to customers who buy in your main format. For example, offer a free copy of the audiobook to everyone who buys the print book.
  7. Offer a free ticket to anyone who gets two of their friends to buy a ticket. You will make it up in terms of merchandise sales and additional visibility.
  8. Offer free bonuses (e.g. workbook, group discussion guide, video course, etc.) to anyone who buys your main product.
  9. Offer a free membership in your paid forum or club to anyone who buys your main product.
  10. Offer a free seminar or performance and then sell your products at the event.

And these are just ten ideas. There are literally hundreds of other ways you can use free to drive your marketing strategy and create visibility and excitement for your products.

About John Meese

John leads a team focused on simplifying online marketing for professionals as the Dean of Platform University and lives in Columbia, Tennessee, with his wife and three beautiful children. You won't find him on social media, but you can connect to him personally on his blog: