Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Take some free advice from Slice of Life - how free can mean more business for you



I traveled on behalf of PMQ Pizza Magazine to Birmingham last week to attend the Y'all Connect social media conference. We learned from social media experts on the concept of free, the upcoming trends and how better your social media approach.

I will share lots of the ideas we received at the conference over the coming weeks but I want to kick this off with some "free" advice. 

Syed Balkhi is the founder of WPBeginner, the largest free WordPress resource site, and List25, an extremely popular entertainment site with more than 725,000 subscribers and 90 million video views. His work has been featured in the New York Times, Huffington Post, Yahoo Small Business, Wired, Mashable and other media outlets. Syed has worked with some of the largest brands in the industry, including Warner Bros., Webs and Mercer.
Syed Balkhi

His latest site is OptinMonster, a lead-generation WordPress plugin that creates attention-grabbing opt-in forms that convert.

Syed kicked off the conference with his talk about the concept of free for businesses and the models he provided apply well to pizzerias.

“Giving away something for free for a small business is a good way to gain value,” Balkhi said.

So how does one implement a free strategy?

Don’t give away your core product. Give away something that creates interest in your main product or brand using different models.

#1 The direct-cross subsidy model
            This model is used often by phone companies. You get a free phone when you sign up for their phone plan. This is also sometimes used as the razor blade model. If you buy the razor blades you get the razor free. How can a pizzeria implement this idea? Maybe a free cheese pizza with the purchase of two side items when dining-in?

#2 The buy one get one free model
The trick with this model is not to lose money by giving away the product but to incorporate a “free” item into a higher pricing point. The price of a medium pizza may be $14 but sell it for $18 for two free pizzas.

#3 Ad-supported model
 The ad-supported model works best for websites or media. Basically you provide free content to the consumer but it is paid for by ads. This is the idea of cable television or even PMQ Pizza Magazine (did you know that pizzerias can receive the print edition for free? Subscribe at www.pmq.com/Subscribe)

#4 Free Trial Model
            This is the Costco effect. Try a sample of a product and receive a coupon and you may just buy the item. This is an easy way for pizzerias to let people try their new menu items. Have a sample that is handed out when you dine in or given away with delivery orders. Follow up with a coupon or a handout on the new menu item and watch the growth in sales.

#5 Freemium model
This is where you can get a product for free such as Hootsuite, Buffer or Dropbox but once you’ve tested it out you want more data, the trick is you have to pay for more of the service. How can this apply to a pizzeria? Share with me your ideas!

#6 Status model
This is the loyalty program concept which pizzerias are likely most familiar with of any of the free concepts. Have regular customers feel like royalty with the Gold card program or any type of loyalty program that rewards return business.

As Syed said, “People love free things and they’ll spend a lot of money to get it.”

Learn more from Syed Balkhi in the Y'all Connect video of his opening keynote address. 

What types of "free" have you implemented at your pizzeria? Has social media helped with sharing these ideas? Share with me at melanie at pmq.com or comment below!