Free is still the most powerful word for creative marketers!

Free is still the most powerful word for creative marketers!A friend of mine who owns a small boutique shop wanted to build up her customer base before the holiday season began. After several weeks of frustration trying to come up with a creative marketing idea that would be unique, profitable and draw a large number of new prospective customers to her business, she finally, in desperation came, to me for help.


  • First, I had to sell her on the idea that a FREE offer works if it’s the right offer.
  • Second, she needed another business in the area that would offer something FREE and participate in her promotion.
  • Third, she was to capture the name, address and telephone number of every person who patronizes her business during the promotion for future mailings.
  • Fourth, she had to be willing to move out of her comfort zone.
  • Fifth, She had to offer FREE knife sharpening for every person without obligation of a purchase and serve FREE coffee and cookies to people waiting in line. About now you are probably asking yourself why FREE knife sharpening. The answer is simple. A lot of cooking and carving goes on during the holidays in November and December. What man or a woman wants to stress over carving a turkey or ham with a dull knife.


  • The beauty and health spa down the street was the participating business that offered makeovers and beauty supplies for the drawings held during the weekend promotion.
  • Postcards were mailed to existing spa and boutique customers inviting them to come and have their knives sharpened free. Customers were invited to bring their families and friends along, and were offered a VIP discount on any purchase made that day.
  • They placed several ads in the local newspaper.
  • They circulated flyers around the community.
  • The boutique hired a professional to sharpen the knives who also had a display of carving knives that customers could purchase at a discount. (The agreement was that a certain number of knives sold would offset the cost of the professional’s fee.)
  • The boutique and health spa split all advertising cost.


  • A whopping 419 people filled out cards with their name, address and telephone number for the drawings.
  • An additional $5,472.00 in sales for the boutique during the three-day promotion.
  • The entire stock of knives sold.
  • Sixteen new people made an appointment with the beauty and health spa for full makeovers, which also had an additional increase of sales of $1,941.00.
  • A successful promotion with minimum cash out and a huge return in new customers and cash in the bank.

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