Do giveaways convince a prospect to download a demo? Based on my own scientific sample – me – and my experience in the last week, I’d have to say no.


Five days ago I received an email invite from Vocus Inc. whose software purports to help PR companies better manage and, most importantly, track the results of their PR efforts by tracking mentions in mainstream media, blogs, and other channels. This intrigued me because it parallels some of my own marketing measurement work, but Vocus offered a $50 Barnes & Noble gift card for anyone who watched an on-line demo.


What a way to save on holiday shopping, I thought. But I kept putting off the demo because I had my own critical marketing work to do. Day after day, the email sat in my inbox while more pressing work kept me from doing the demo. Then, one day, when I finally clicked through to the demo I saw the gift card offer was good only “while supplies last.” By that time, I figured, they’d probably run out of gift cards and the demo fell off my to-do list.


Does this mean giveaways never work? No. But they do send a message that your content isn’t valuable enough to click through to without a bribe. A few suggestions:


If you only have a limited number of giveaways, turn that into an incentive to act fast by limiting them to the first 50, 100, or 500 prospects who act. Don’t offer a giveaway unless you can afford enough to give the prospect a chance of qualifying.


Put the registration form AFTER, not before, the demo. That way, time-strapped prospects like me won’t be scared off by the time it takes to fill out the form, and more folks will see at least a portion of your demo.


And above all, don’t make the giveaway the prime reason for doing the demo. Making more money for their company, making their jobs easier or keeping their jobs by working smarter are worth far more in the long run than any gift certificate.


Having said all that, Vocus’ software looks intriguing, as a centralized content management and analytics platform. If any of you have used it (or seen the demo) drop me a line and I’ll spread the word…

Author: Bob Scheier
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I'm a veteran IT trade press reporter and editor with a passion for clear writing that explains how technology can help businesses. To learn more about my content marketing services, email or call me at 508 725-7258.

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