Even in the age of online marketing, there’s still a lot of debate about whether freebies are ultimately good for business. On one hand, few things draw customers like an item or a service that won’t eat a whole in their pocket. On the other, freebies are often inundating to the point of being completely worthless (both for customers and businesses).

Perhaps worse is the fact that they’re often associated with consumer marketing. What kind of freebies can come out of enterprise vendors? Even if it is ‘better to give than receive’, that old proverb may not be enough to justify a bad sales report.

Well, the best way to find out is to start from the marketing end. The art of using freebies is basically the art of getting something out of giving.

Step 1: Put a label on it. If you look at Oracle and Salesforce, it shows that even B2B vendors need a bit of branding. It leaves an impression and a good freebie could mean that impression will be carried with your prospects for a good amount of time.

Step 2: Make it useful. The main component in ensuring a freebie’s value is its usefulness to your prospect. Some of the most successful freebies become so convenient, they become commodities in their own right! Constantly observe your customers to see what problems you can help get around.

Step 3: Control costs. Freebies may not come at the cost of customers but they do come at yours. As much as you want to give something useful, it shouldn’t be too expensive to give away. Offset the cost by limiting the stock or making the freebie part of a product you’re selling.

Step 4: Gain more than a sale. While a sale is really good, a good freebie will go even further and can win you a customer’s loyalty. This is what the previous steps are really meant to ensure. When you know how to integrate giveaways with the rest of your marketing strategy, they will want more.

If you can push any item or service through these steps, you have what it takes to use freebies. It’s all about getting something from being able to give.