Nothing better than free dirt!
The word gratis comes from a Latin origin that once meant, “favor” or “grace.” Today the term gratis
holds onto its roots as something that is free, or given as a favor. Usually used by businesses, offering gratis items or services can make a business stand out for how it values its customers and employees.
Customer Service and Gratis Gifts
Despite a company’s best efforts to provide for its customers, not every customer walks away satisfied. Whether it is a faulty product or poor service at a restaurant, offering a gratis gift can turn an unhappy customer into a loyal one. By giving customers that bring complaints to management a gratis, or free, gift card or sample product shows the business values its customer base and cares about the experience that customer had with that business.
Employees and Gratis Gifts
Gratis products are often used to motivate employees, especially in retail businesses. Businesses may run contests for their employees to increase sales or improve customer service. Offering a gratis prize to the employee with the most sales or compliments from customers not only motivate, but also make the workplace more enjoyable.
At first, the idea of giving away gratis merchandise or other items may seem to cost a company money and lower its profit margin. However, keeping customers coming back and retaining employees that go above and beyond will only benefit a company. Offering gratis items or services as part of normal business practices can actually help a company become more profitable.
Your gratis item should be something of value, or perceived value. Certainly, it’s got to be better than an offer of free dirt!
Photo credit by zpetch.
Here are three areas to focus on or add to your January marketing plans. Each of these will generate new leads for your law firm or other professional services practice. The best part? All of these are free, requiring only time and talent.
The practice of law, or any other service, is typically a combination of a problem + a location (e.g. “divorce lawyer in Dallas”), so claim your listing on Google’s Local Business Center and on Yahoo Local.
Ratings & Reviews
Ask current clients to rate and review your practice on Yelp. This site has grown beyond just reviews on restaurants, and organizes businesses in more than 20 categories, such as Local Services, Professional Services, and Real Estate. If you’re not part of the conversation, how do you know what’s being said? Simple instructions are found on Yelp’s Business Owners Guide.
When asked, nearly all service providers like to say they get business “by referral” so put your networking on steroids and join LinkedIn. The best ways to use this site, beyond simple networking, are by joining groups and answering questions. But don’t neglect your network! Writing unsolicited recommendations is the best way to get more of your own. And if you’re a lawyer or an attorney, join Martindale-Hubbell Connected, which is a professional network is designed exclusively for legal professionals.
Build your marketing plan from these three foundational elements, and you’ll be well on your way to growing your service-based business in 2010.