‘Free’ or not free? That is the marketers question

April 12, 2016 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ Sales and Marketing

Laos business directory Belief blog

Marketing people are divided when it comes to free offers, but we believe that it can be either a valuable tool in your sales arsenal or a complete flop, so here’s our free guide……

There’s the free with a warning, like ‘free*

This warns you that there’s a catch, you have to read the terms and conditions and like radio advertising who have to tell you the interest payments and risks all in the advert where the poor guy making the ad has to be the fastest rapper on the planet to tell you all the warnings in 5 seconds. Who reads terms and conditions and who swims in crocodile infested rivers when they see the sign?

Then there’s the free trial.

The majority of us who have bought things online know the free trial trick, just give us your credit card details and in 30 days you will have forgotten about it, because you are busy, and we also know there is a threshold of value that you won’t even bother taking the time to unsubscribe.

If you do a free trial make sure it means no cards or information commitment, otherwise your potential client does not believe you that your offer is really a free trial.

The disastrous ‘Risk free’

Those of us who are entrepreneurs know the first rule of success is to always accentuate the positive, using negative words will only attract the thing we are afraid of, meaning; we are running away from something rather than the more successful activity of; running towards a goal. So the word risk free is putting the negative in the mind of the potential customer. Not something we use….

Buy one get one free

This harks back to the days of snake oil salesmen, we would like to think that you are a more educated audience and you are aware of the value of things, no one ever offers 2 dollars for the price of one do they? When I hear buy one get one free I think; how much have you pre-loaded the price of the original product or service so that you still make a profit?

The Groupon model

Groupon was very successful very quickly but many business people struggled to come back after they launched on Groupon.

The Groupon model is very simple you have a product/service valued at 10 dollars you go on Groupon and offer your product for a one time offer of 5 dollars but only if the users of group have ten people or so as a collective that buy. This is a great way to use Groupon’s marketing to advertise a new product or service and to get people using it.

Challenge is to make sure your clients don’t become price conditioned to 5 dollars and that they really understand the original value and that they are privileged to get this deal.

The 1 cent model

This in our opinion is the worst deal of all.

As hunter gatherers we may have a cave full of provisions as we have worked hard all summer /autumn, and we don’t really need to climb any more trees this season to get any more fruit, but if we see an apple we can pick easily for free; we probably would, but if we have to even jump a tiny bit to get it, we probably won’t.

If they offer your favourite chocolate for 1 cent down from ten cents, is it worth looking in your pocket or purse for the 1 cent or waiting whilst the cashier has to go next door to change a dollar? I don’t think I would bother either!

But free sweets will always fly out of any shop!


Real free is a commitment on behalf of you, the seller, and it means you believe 1,000% in your product, that it will sell itself and people will, without doubt, come back and pay full price.

‘Really free’ demonstrates the power of reciprocation; if you have given away free then your customer feels obliged in some way to return the compliment next time.

Rather than free, try going in the opposite direction and charge more.

Watch how much easier business becomes when you gather composure and realise price is never the issue, it’s always something else as salespeople will tell you, and it’s your job to find out what the real issue is and satisfy those obstacles to a sale. When you have more profit you work less hard, and you can become more creative, which is the magic formula for any good business.

Charge more and offer incentives, if you sell Apples at 5c an Apple, offer apples at 9 c and throw in a real free banana and watch the monkeys line up to buy apples!

Biz-find new in Laos and are the top social media marketers and small business mentors contact Netmedia Asia for a coffee and a chat about how to sell your business to the internet….

Fields marked with an * are required