Give your customers free stuff. It's good for business

Last week when lunching in high-street burger joint GBK I was given free monkey nuts to snack on while I waited for my meal. Yes, totally free and as many as I could smash open and jam into my excited mouth. Hungry and skint, I was delighted. Since then, those humble nuts have been the deciding factor in the daily argument over where to eat lunch. They've managed to secure at least another three visits to GBK from the Smarta team. Buying these nuts is hardly going to send GBK into administration. In fact, one quick search on Google shows £32 will buy you enough to put on Christmas dinner for King Kong, Donkey Kong and Cheetah the chimpanzee from Tarzan.

A few days later, I was again won over by an unexpected freebie during a trip to Bath. The hotel I stayed in gave me free tea and cake on arrival. Yes, I could easily go to my room and make tea and I could've bought a brownie from the service station on the way there for 60p. But that's not the point. These friendly people were welcoming me with gifts- simple gifts, but free gifts. Whenever anyone asks me about a hotel to stay in when they visit Bath, I'll now shout, "Villa Magdela, they give you complimentary teas and cake".  Again, tea bags cost hardly anything and you can buy a cake from any supermarket for under £5 that'll feed six people. They were cheap freebies, but have proved an extremely valuable marketing tool, as I'll be singing Villa Magdela's praises to anyone who visits Bath.

Honestly, this isn't just me being tight and asking businesses to give away more free stuff. One entrepreneur I know, who I won't name in case you think he's got long pockets and short arms too, came smiling into the Smarta office and gushed, "anyone want a love heart? They came in my package from Firebox." This guy's an old school businessman and would rather chew pound coins than be seen sucking on sweets with 'Be Mine' plastered over them. But everyone loves a freebie and by putting those soppy sweets in the package, Firebox essentially got themselves a brand ambassador who's promoting their products to anyone who'll listen.

All of these examples prove giving away something for nothing can be great for business and is a tactic you should definitely consider. So, that leaves me with one question. Which one of you is going to stump up for the Ferrari?

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