You hear it all the time; free this, free that – even I do it.
When I was a little boy (just a vague memory now) my Dad used to say to me “Son there’s nothing free in this world” and I used to think to myself (oh what a wonderful world) yes there is… in Asda you can buy one Pot Noodle and they’ll give you another for free.
Lets look and see who was right
Well in fact we were both right – to a degree. What my Dad was trying to say was that on the surface things may look free but 9 times out of 10 there is a reason (a hidden agenda) lets be honest, could you afford to give your products or services away for free every single day of the year and never earn any money – No. For those of you who said yes please email me your details because I’ll have what ever it is you are giving away.
So why would anybody give anything away for Free? Lets take a look…
I’ll start with this one as it’s the reason that I give away a free 1 hour SEO Consultancy (Shameless plug – I know) SEO is such a mistrusted field, we’ve all received the daily emails of “Sir I see you no on page 1 of Google, we can help for 1 dollar” or the other end of the scale were thousands have been spent with little return. As an SEO Geek I’ve got to build that trust up so if I can show somebody my expertise and it’s not going to cost them anything, the chances are they will come back and use a payed service or refer somebody else who will. So as you see this is Free with an agenda.
Bog Off – The Draw
Sorry I wasn’t implying that you leave, it means “Buy One Get One For Free” – so is it free? Well again it’s a sales ploy. What is trying to be achieved is to draw you in to a store to up-sell other products. We’ve all been into a store because they’ve got a great offer on and I can almost guarantee we’ve bought something else along with the bargain – especially true if it’s a supermarket. Most of the time these offers only last for a little while or you are limited to how many you can purchase – Why? Because nobody (Even the big brands) can afford to give away things for free for too long. Purely it’s to draw you in to get you to buy more profitable items
Ongoing Marketing – The Hook
This is the best one. This allows a business to build a database that it can continually market to. We’ve all seen the adverts, get your free sample just go online to www….., I can guarantee that the sample you requested isn’t going to be coming your way without an email or telephone number (*required field) then a few days later that follow up email “How did you find your sample, did you like it – well here’s a coupon so we can really get you hooked on our product – then you will buy it regularly at full price – thank you very much”
The Gift – Branding
This is the one that every child in the land loves. You go to a fete, a fair or a business launch and you fill your pockets with pens, badges, mugs (may not get many of these in your pockets mind – but give it a go) I can guarantee that these items will always have a brand stamped on them somewhere for all to see. (That reminds me – anybody know what happened to those little furry bugs with the rolly eyes and a ribbon for the advert – loved them) So you see there’s even an agenda behind the big give away.
So there you have it – Is free really free…