6 free side projects guaranteed to drive revenue and bring in customers


Google has just replaced Apple as the world’s most valuable brand.

This is interesting, because unlike the world’s other most valuable brands – Microsoft, Apple, Walmart – Google doesn’t actively sell anything to consumers.

In fact, the company is best known for the growing number of free services they provide to individuals and businesses. For example…

And on and on, with over 30 major products – not counting services like YouTube, which are listed under their own brand.

Sure, some of these services do cost something when used for business…

But the point is, Google gives a shocking amount of tools, apps and services away for free.

Another great example, more from a marketing point of view, is HubSpot providing services like website grader, marketing library, inbound conference, inbound certificates and a lot more as the image below reveals.

hubspot inbound, hubspot marketing, website grader, side project marketing

Why do they do it?

The reason is simple.

In one of our recent posts, we showed that content marketing – giving videos, articles and other information away for free – is 800% more profitable than regular advertising.

Incredible figure, right?


We will not get into the specifics of why free stuff gives you money, because we already explained it in the marketing content post…

But the Google case shows that when you take things one step further and expand to non-content freebies, you get even better results.

Moreover, certain freebies have a propensity to form habits, go viral and build your brand to a degree blog posts just can’t.

So in this post, we will take a look at how you can go beyond old-school marketing content by utilising 6 kinds of freebies that work even better – and cost little or nothing for you to make.

1. Quiz

Quizzes might seem like an odd choice for freebies. They utilise multiple clicks/touches; they require user input; from an advanced user’s perspective, they are mostly boring.

Having said all that, 84% of all media shares on Facebook are for quizzes. And Buzzfeed, a website with particularly “sticky” quizzes, sees a 96% completion rate on theirs.

Of course, that is an extreme example. Act-On (an agency recognised by Forbes and Deloitte) finds that their clients’ completion rates are closer to 45%.

Still, that is a strong number – especially when you account for the high potential for virality.

That is why you should consider a quiz, and not a blog post, for your next epic content idea.

Now, if you are a little more tech savvy – or have a budget to work with – the second freebie type you should consider is…

2. Analysis Tools

A customer’s journey starts long before they decide whether or not to buy from you.

Specifically, a customer needs to understand that they have a need or problem before they think about purchasing a solution for it.

At this stage, they are not looking for a product… But they are looking for qualified help – and if you can offer it in the form of a free analytical tool, you will inject yourself into the customer’s journey long before anyone else can.

This is why SEO services like Moz, SemRush and AdWords offer entire suites of free SEO tools, from keyword synonym finders to keyword planners. It is not a philanthropic effort, but a prudent business decision.

So if you have the capability for it, offer your own analytic tool and get a head start on the sales process!

And if you don’t have technical skills or money, here is another way to accomplish the same goal.

3. Communities

In fields like SEO, fully automated analytical tools are a perfect way to get your needs evaluated.

In other industries, evaluations cannot be automated – especially if you are B2C.

One example is fitness, where you need a real, live person to evaluate your body and suggest a workout plan. You cannot make an online tool for that…

But what you can do is build a branded online community where enthusiastic users help each other.

That way, potential customers will find you early on in the buying process – long before they start looking for products – and you get a chance to indoctrinate them as soon as possible.

One example of a company doing this successfully is T-Nation: a supplement company whose products are unknown to the masses, rarely advertised, and notably absent from the largest supplement store online (bodybuilding.com).

T-Nation’s entire business model is to have an incredibly community – over 1,200,000 strong on Facebook alone – and use that as a marketing tool.

They have been in business for 20-odd years without doing much formal marketing – and that is a testament to just how much having a community can do for you.

4. Share in-company materials

Not sure what to give away for free? How about your in-company materials?

Neil Patel routinely shares the templates he uses to make his content. Ryan Deiss – another e-marketing guru – likes to do the same.

If your team finds these materials useful, so will other people in other companies – which makes for a hot, in-demand freebie you can deploy virtually instantly.

Take Board of Innovation as an example. They even have their own tools library. That is nice, right?

5. Share analytics

In the same vein as the previous point, why not share your data with your audience?

Neville Medhora, who writes for Noah Kagan’s SumoMe amongst other companies, did just that in January 2017 by publishing the entire collection of course data from Udemy in his e-mail newsletter.

AdEspresso did the same when they analysed 37,259 Facebook ads and shared the results here.

Analytics can be incredibly valuable – and being the first to publish them puts your business forward in the eyes of potential customers.

And if in doubt, remember: sooner or later, someone will find and publish the same analytics you have got. It is about who is first to share data – not who can hold on to it the longest. Have faith that sharing information is better than hoarding it.

This principle also applies to…

6. Resource Collections / Directories

During the course of your business operations, you gather a resource list. This includes a list of professionals you count on to do quality work; free and paid digital tools; even things like brand name generators.

Now, at first glance, this may not seem like the kind of thing others would want…

But if you look at, say, Product Hunt – a “must-read site in Silicon Valley”, according to The Verge – you will notice that their #1 most upvoted product is Startup Stash: a curated directory of 400 resources & tools for startups.

How is that for impressive?

The best part is that outside of quizzes and communities, all of these freebies can be made from your in-house notes, processes and resources.

All you need to do is dress them up a little and release them to the public!

To tell you the truth, it is what we do in our newsletter, where we share the best growth hacking tips, tools and tricks of the trade.

We do not hold back or keep anything to ourselves – instead, we just give subscribers the exact same things we use in the field every day.

Why not check out our next newsletter?

It’s free – and you will find plenty more ways to instantly drive revenue, leads and customers into your business there!

Sign up now by clicking the link below – and see you on the other side!

PS. If you want to read more awesome posts on side project marketing and how it can help you generate profit and attract leads to your business, you definitely have to check these two additional posts, which we really like – a lot actually!

The first one is Side Project Marketing is the New King while the other one is about Finding Side Project Ideas. Both articles originates from Growth Supply and is definitely worth a read!

Comments (1)

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