Shock and Awe

Shock value is so underrated, and I don’t think people do enough of this in their marketing. Let’s look at Oprah for a great example of shock and awe.

Several years ago, Oprah shocked her viewers by giving away cars to everyone in the audience. This was something that had never been done before, but she was very smart in doing it. She was probably sponsored by the car company, and that company received massive advertising as a result of the shock of it all. Everyone was talking about it — even on competing networks so whatever cost was involved for the car company was minimal.

Oprah got good press. The car company got good press, and a bunch of people received a brand new car, so it was a win-win for everyone in the scenario.

So how can you take what she did and use it for your small business. What can you give your audience for free to get them talking about your products?

I’m not talking about crap — when most people think about giving away something they usually give away an item that has no real value. It’s an old product; something they don’t use or teach any more and a product no one really wants anymore. The only thing that accomplishes is making you look like a cheap idiot.

Why not give away something of real value? Give away one of your new products — now, wouldn’t that be something!? If you were going to do something like this, it can be for a limited amount of time to build buzz. You could even put a condition on it. Say, “Here’s my free product, but give me a testimonial about it.” This way you can receive further benefit from it.

That’s also a great way to generate a bunch of testimonials fast. When you get that new product in the hands of all these different people, they’ll probably talk about it as well. While you can’t force people to do it, you can ask them to blog about it, Tweet about it, maybe post a Facebook message about it. This way you’ll get some buzz around that product and create more demand for it.

Limiting the number that you give away is something you need to do if you want to put a real value on it. You can say for the first 25 – 50 — 100 people. I would also recommend that you do this with a digital product to keep your cost down.

Basically what you are doing is investing in advertising. And to grow your business, you have to invest in advertising.

Whether you do it through Google, Bing, Yahoo, Buy Sell Ads, classified ads, etc., you are paying for that advertising. With giving away a digital product for free, it’s not costing you out of pocket.

Yes, there is a certain percentage of those people who might have bought it anyway, but the value you gain from the good will of those who received it and getting those testimonials will far outweigh any money lost.

Start thinking about how you can create some shock value in your company and put your money where your mouth is and start investing in your advertising!

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