Free Gas Anyone???

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It’s the promotional offer more and more business owners are making these days. With prices per gallon at, or over, $4 all across the country, gas has become a valuable giveaway. 
Gas giveaways aren’t anything new, promotions like these were common during the gas lines of the 1970s. Unlike their simple predecessors, today’s giveaways are creative and carefully timed, cutting across a much wider range of industries. Corporate giants like Hershey’s and Chrysler, nonprofits and local radio stations, professional baseball and pro basketball teams, bed and breakfast places, even congressional candidate Dan Seals have all used gas as a promotional tool in an attempt to balance the pain of paying so much per gallon.
Any business where gasoline is at all related to what you do can make use of the latest trend in promotions. Whether it’s a gas card of a predetermined amount, say $50 to $100, a free fill up, or a discounted per gallon price at the pump during set hours — gas giveaways get attention. Of course you’ll get more mileage (ugh… sorry!) out of a promotion like this if you treat it not as a gimmick, but as a way to help customers (or potential ones) manage during tough times — building goodwill (and relationships) that last. 
But what if your business doesn’t have a direct tie to gas, but is bound to be effected by the expected drop in driving? In cases where spending isn’t essential (like travel or entertainment), gas giveaways can be especially effective. By offering a free fill up or gas card to customers, you’re helping them to justify spending they might not otherwise do at all. Marketing experts also point out that another motive that drives (again, sorry) the gas promos is the idea that most of us allocate money for necessities, and when we get a break on that, it feels all the more satisfying.
Satisfaction and justifying what we’d like to do anyway are powerful motivators.
Judging by the response to the free gas promotions, consumers are indeed hooked on gas giveaways. And who wouldn’t be when you hear about contests like the one sponsored San Francisco Bay Area 76 stations, offering a chance at “free gas for life” not to mention 4,000 other prizes? 
This isn’t the first time gas prices have been mentioned here. You might want to check out an earlier discussion on how rising prices could effect your business.
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