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Get a Free Sign for Your Storefront -- And How to Give Away Stuff, Profitably Be one of 5,000 business owners to win a customized window decal displaying your hours of operation, and learn how to manage a giveaway so that your business still makes money.

By Catherine Clifford

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Signs.com

If you want a sign to display in your storefront telling customers what time your business is open, you can get one from Signs.com today at no cost.

The Salt Lake City, Utah-based banner and sign production e-tailer is launching a publicity campaign today giving away 5,000 free signs to anyone who goes to its web site and registers. An hours-of-operation sign from Signs.com would retail for approximately $15.

Related: What You Wanted to Know About Marketing But Forgot to Ask

Who doesn't love free stuff? While giving away product may seem like a counterintuitive way to bring in new sales, if managed well, it can do just that. Signs.com co-founder Kirk Green says he has run several smaller giveaways that have been profitable. Here are his tips for fellow entrepreneurs looking to bring in new customers by giving away free stuff.

1. Give away something that demonstrates your specific skill. The point of giving away free stuff is to introduce your product or service to people who didn't know it was available before. "When you are doing a giveaway you want it to be as pinpointed, as targeted as you can, for what it is you do," Green says. By inviting people to order a customized hours-of-operation sign and have it arrive on their doorstep, Green aims to make entrepreneurs aware of his service. Giving away a pen with the company name on it, as is common in trade-shows, wouldn't accomplish that, he says.

Related: The Psychology of Color and Branding (Infographic)

2. Make sure you are giving away free stuff to an audience that you are not selling to already. It won't help you to gain new customers by giving away free product to your existing customer base. If you are going to spend the money to give away products for free, be sure you are giving the product to people who are currently unfamiliar with your company, Green says.

3. Start small and track your costs and revenues carefully. Signs.com has run several smaller giveaways already, and each time, it collects data tracking how much it costs to give away free signs and how much revenue that promotion brought. With that data, Signs.com has the confidence to launch a promotion giving away 5,000 signs. The first giveaways were much smaller, says Green.

Related: How Your Attitude Can Win You Sales

Has your retail business ever given away any product for free? What did you learn? Leave a note below and let us know.

Catherine Clifford

Frequently covers crowdfunding, the sharing economy and social entrepreneurship.

Catherine Clifford is a senior writer at Entrepreneur.com. Previously, she was the small business reporter at CNNMoney and an assistant in the New York bureau for CNN. Catherine attended Columbia University where she earned a bachelor's degree. She lives in Brooklyn, N.Y. Email her at CClifford@entrepreneur.com. You can follow her on Twitter at @CatClifford.

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