Very few offline publishers of content for PR and marketing professionals have made a success of direct marketing content by giving away single free samples -- Lawrence Ragan Communications and Communications Briefings most notably among them. In fact most direct marketing test campaigns prove the old line is true: "Sell the sizzle, not the steak."
But these days many online marketers to marketers are having great success with free sample chapters.
Famed relationship marketing gurus, Don Peppers and Martha Rogers were among the first to test free sample chapter giveaways back in 1997 when they offered readers of their free company newsletter a link to a sample chapter of their then latest book, Enterprise One to One.
Although they weren't able to gather precise response data from the campaign, the marketing team felt "confident it did raise sales." So, when promoting their latest book, One to One Manager this past October, the team went full out offering a free chapter not only through their house newsletter; but also through an alliance with FirstUSA's Web site; and, during a weeklong event at Web site ClickZ.com's email discussion group.
"Don and Martha personally participated in the forum the entire week," One to One spokesperson Kathryn Kavicky said, "The conversation was geared around the book and anyone who wanted to tune in could download the free chapter prior to sending in questions. Responses were wonderful. You can tell people were reading the book by the precise nature of their questions."
Robbin Zeff, author of Advertising on the Internet, 2nd edition also believes mentioning her book's free chapter offer in related email discussion groups made a difference in her sales. She says, "I had between 50-150 download requests, but I don't have data on how that affected sales. The advice I would give is to have the tracking set up beforehand." Useful links related to this article:
One to One