Every Wednesday a local diner, the Village Inn, offers free pie to its customers. My husband and I drool all day Monday, and Tuesday, thinking about Wednesday. The pie at The Village Inn is delicious…and since it’s free, we do our best to take advantage, every week.
We are not the only ones who love the free pie. The restaurant is full from morning to night. The chatter and family laughter rings all the way through the small eating area, and calls of, “What free pie do you want today?” sparkle throughout. The offer begins at 10 a.m. and lasts until 10 p.m. which means you can have apple pie, strawberry rhubarb pie, or one of several other flavors after breakfast, lunch, and dinner. My husband and I normally choose dinner, but you might see us there at lunch, on occasion.
We love this offer so much, when out of town family visits, we take them to the Village Inn and watch their faces as they are offered free pie after their meal. (confession: I am partial to the strawberry-rubarb, Tom likes homestyle apple…what about you?)
I don’t know which smart marketer at the Village Inn thought up the concept of free pie Wednesday, but it’s genius. There is no doubt the restaurant makes more money on meals every Wednesday, than they spend on free pie. Did I mention you can take the pie to go – you do not have to eat it there? More genius.
How do we regular folk build on this kind of marketing genius? Those of us who don’t have a disposable product, like pie, have to tap into deep parts of our brain to find a way to offer ‘free pie’, don’t we? Do we offer an ebook for free on Tuesdays? Do we offer an hour of free consulting, every Thursday? Do we send pie to new clients or just try and take them to the Village Inn – or its equivalent nearby?
I began wondering about the challenges we face with our online/consulting businesses when I received an email from a trusted colleague whose consulting business is doing rather well. The offer was for consulting with a small list of options, none of them “free”. However, the list was intriguing and made me wonder how well it would be received by those it was intended to serve.
For instance, one offer was consulting for a limited number of hours, at a discount of 50%. I’d consider that, wouldn’t you?
Another offer, in the same email, was for a more lengthy consulting gig – let’s say a full year, also at a discount. That was more like 30% off. It wasn’t as attractive as the first offer.
A third option was for free product (ebooks and webinars that the professional normally charged a nominal fee for). The ‘free’ part of that offer was limited to one week, I believe.
My question regarding the free offers for consulting, ebooks, and webinars is this: The invite came via email to people on a limited list. Even if the list was 10,000… the people receiving it and those who open it, are already people who either work with this professional or would like to, perhaps. The resulting ROI is dependent upon the already known list of recipients. Unless those people on the list share the offer (and many probably do), my friend is not reaching new blood or new prospects. Yet, those of us in service businesses need to be meeting and engaging with new prospects daily, even as we work to maintain contact with existing prospects and clients.
One way to accomplish this, of course, is via joint ventures. If you’re on our email list you know we are part of a joint venture with Michael Hyatt – you will have seen the ebook offered and, I hope, downloaded it. Joint ventures are good not only for meeting new people, but also for the excitement they create; the expertise they share; and the improved knowledge they bring to a growing industry of talented experts. As the consulting world grows, year after year, with new blood arriving almost daily, our purpose is to have a concise focus, one that works hard to understand each client and each client’s needs, better than anyone else. Joint ventures that work bring a variety of talent and expertise to dedicated professionals, clients and colleagues alike, week after week, month after month, year after year.
The intersection of existing, engaged clients with new, prospective clients, happens during joint ventures. The weeks preparing and then promoting the joint venture spurs creativity, insight, and accomplishment. Working with established experts doesn’t hurt, either. It makes one hungry for more – more learning, more knowledge, more engagement, and more value. Things you talk about over pie, sometimes.
The Village Inn’s amazing pies are consumed not only on Wednesdays. They also sell these pies at holiday time (Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter are very big for them) which shows them how valuable their pastries are to their customers.
In this case, the joint venture is with the customers. Village Inn knows its customers will share the free pie Wednesday offer, and they will help bring in new customers, weekly. One is always hungry for free pie, wouldn’t you agree? This then leads to more sales during select holidays and more happy customers.
In our joint ventures, we are confident the products and services offered are so outstanding, so sweet and tasty, they will both satisfy your hunger for immediate success and create greater hunger for on-going success. It’s our free pie offer – that we believe in your success as much as you do. The ingredients for your pie, we’ll say, are ready for mixing and baking. Our job is to make sure you have the right ingredients, in the right amounts, and that you understand the baking time. And that you don’t get burned taking your pie out of the oven.
We believe stories are the voice of America. We believe stories are only beginning – the hunger we have to share, support, and succeed has never been greater nor more important, an it’s in our stories that we begin to build real success, with each other.
Your Publishing Pros sincerely wants to work with each and every one of you – with a focus on leadership thinking, leadership training, and on excellence in communication (writing and speaking).
If this is what you’re focused on also – share with a friend. Together, we can enjoy pie every day of the week. How hungry are you?