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I’ve written in the past about how to market your free consultation. In that article I suggested creating a nice-looking gift certificate for your free consultation that others can give as a gift to their clients. For example, a bookkeeper can create a certificate for one hour of QuickBooks setup advice that local business attorneys can give to their clients who are incorporating. While it will be obvious that the attorney in this example didn’t pay for the certificate, it’s still a nice gift.

Today I’d like to suggest another tactic that lets you take this gift certificate idea one step further.


What would you be willing to give away in order to get prospective customers to give your business a try? If you can come up with something that feels more like a “nice gift” than a typical freebie you should consider giving the following marketing tactic a try:

  1. Think of something of value that would give potential clients an opportunity to “sample” your offerings.
  2. Create attractive gift certificates for this item or service.
  3. Give these gift certificates to non-competing businesses that target the same people you do.
  4. Have these businesses give the gift certificates away as “thank you for your business” gifts to their clients.

Perceived value is key
A big key here is that you must give away something with such a high perceived value that a reasonable person would spend money to buy it as a thank-you gift for their clients. It cannot be a discount or a gift with purchase or anything that a visitor to your website would see that you always give away for free anyway.

For example, a hair stylist can create a gift certificate for a free blowdry. This is something that salons charge for, that is a non-risky way for someone to “try before they buy.” The hair stylist can approach people who are in the business of helping women look and feel their best (such as clothing boutiques, nail salons, weight loss clinics, massage therapists, etc.), and give them these gift certificates for distribution as “thank you gifts” to their clients.

This is a real win/win
With this tactic the businesses that distribute your gift certificates look like they bought their clients a valuable gift, and you get great exposure to potential clients, all of whom are being introduced to you on a very positive note.

What Others Are Saying

"Geez, Linda, you sure write well!"

Ray Johnston
President, Lido Property Management