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By Guest Blogger Lisa N. Alexander

marketing bootcampOMG.

They were everywhere.

Advertisements for Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday filled my inbox and jammed my mailbox. They were littered across my social media networks; they crowded the airwaves and even filtered into my online groups.

Everybody had something to pitch, hoping they’d end the year in the black and surely the White House said a prayer for a surge in spending to help economic growth.

As the first big shopping weekend of the holiday season drew near I pondered what I could possibly do, what could I offer with all the ads promising slashed prices and discounts galore.

I pondered.

What was a B2B to do?

I decided that I wouldn’t sell a thing. Instead I would give something away. I thought this unique selling proposition (USP) would definitely set me apart and stand out in the season’s raging sea of advertisements.

Earlier this year I hosted a marketing bootcamp; I covered eight marketing topics and decided to give away one of those sessions…Design 101. I bought a domain name, built a quick landing page and placed an ad on Facebook and put up a flyer in a few groups. This would be my test to see if this crazy idea would be worth expanding next Black Friday.

Here’s what happened

  • From November 23 to November 26 my Facebook business page saw likes increase by 5.5 percent. Not too bad given my ad’s parameters.
  • Twenty-four people signed up to receive the free session and 41 percent of those people had no previous engagement with my brand.
  • The jury is still out on conversions because those who took advantage of the free offer have a few more days to purchase the entire bootcamp at the discounted price. (It is the holidays and lots of people like to wait till the last minute.)

Experiment takeaways

Will I do this again next year? Definitely. This campaign allowed people to experience my brand in a way typically not available to prospects. Forty-one percent of the people who requested the free session had never engaged with my brand previously.

Free stuff in general. Everyone usually has something they give away for free. It’s how we build our lists right? Amazingly, the other 59 percent of the people who took me up on my free offer were people who were familiar with my brand. To be quite honest I was shocked to see some of the names of the people who requested the session.

My blog is a great source of information, I have a business event list that I put out just to subscribers and other freebies but the session pulled in a different caliber of audience. Giving away something of value hands down seems to be the best draw. So it’s not just about giving away something for free, it’s about giving away something really good for free.

Closing the deal. Next year, I’ll definitely shorten the sales window, no more than a week after receiving the free session.

So that’s it. My USP for Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday connected me to new members of my target audience and I was able to offer this group and even those familiar with my brand something they truly valued. I’ll call it a success even without my sales numbers which I’m sure will drive some in the C-suite absolutely nuts.

Known as The Marketing Stylist™, Lisa N. Alexander helps entrepreneurs and small business owners grow their businesses through strategic marketing and planning. Lisa describes this process as helping clients develop their WOW factor for their big marketing red carpet events. Web launches, advertising campaigns, social media marketing, new business launches are all big marketing events that require the expertise of a stylist and her clients love her work. Lisa is also an author, public speaker and was featured as a mom business with a “stellar” unique selling proposition.


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