Worthwhile things you can offer for FREE to earn natural links
So from the recent post on ways to earn links rather than to buy or build them in SEO, I thought I would go into further detail about ways you or your business can offer something for free in order to earn links and shares through social media.
The idea is very simple, offer something for free with the incentive of getting something in return, whether that be a link, a share or just general exposure from other methods.
I have prepared some examples of well known ‘freebies’ that exist online where the brand does not gain anything financially related to the product itself but brings in exposure, trust, shares and people talking about it and linking from their website if relative.
Google – The king of free tools
First of all we take a look at Google, arguably the biggest thing in Search Engine Optimisation, and what is Google? – the answer its a FREE search engine, it also offers a range of FREE tools including Google Fonts, Webmaster tools, Analytics, Maps and a whole range of other stuff not to mention Google Plus… I could go on forever!
So when I hear the cries of ‘Why offer something for free? what a waste of resources’ I just point out Google and its never ending range of free tools. These tools and the constant evolution of the brand are what has made the search engine so popular today. Not only are these tools useful but they give the brand credibility and make people want more.
If your business provides professional services you may want to consider creating a free useful and unique tool for people in your industry, get peoples feedback and get them to spread the word.
LoveFim – A Free trial
A perfect example of a way to entice customers is Love Film who offer a one month no obligation free trial, if you offer something that you believe is worthwhile, not to costly and within the first month will have people hooked then offer a free one month trial. Not only is this a great way to bring in new customers and hopefully get them to pass the message on but you will be able to monitor what kind of retention rate your getting from your ongoing services.
With this method you will always get the ones that just want something for free but may find you have a much bigger customer base in the long run from people being convinced by their risk free month.
Marstons Pubs – A Free Drink
Offering something directly for free must always be well researched to ensure minimal loss if a return is less than expected which is why Marstons offer a free drink for signing up to their newsletter. With the drink being of minimal value it is likely that the customer will spend more with them as they would with your business if you offered a sample.
But where does offering something for free come into SEO, well its pretty simple, if you offer something for free it can really help your social shares and future exposure, you might get a tweet or a like on Facebook now, give away your free product at a loss but then not to far down the line your continuing with your social media and the exposure becomes much greater and you’ve built up trust in your brand which is important to your website.
You also look at the amount of Facebook groups, websites and other social media groups that are all about freebies and will not allow anything else other than free stuff, these kind of places will give you natural links that your website will in the long run benefit from.
So which is right for you?
I’ve used three examples of well known brands using freebies in very different ways to entice, gain trust and increase their exposure both through social media shares and links.
I’m convinced that any business niche can provide something for free their customer base will find useful, whether that be a free tool, product, trial, advice, event or any other means.
The main thing to remember is to do plenty of research, find out what your customer base would be interested in and make sure you don’t make to much of a loss if it doesn’t work out, sometimes initially it may seem like its not going to work but you have to look at the long term benefits of engaging and building trust within your customer base and then the hard earned links will come!