sly : marketing

3 Reasons Why You Should Promote Free

I like to promote free. I link to free stuff all the time, but it doesn’t mean that the product or the service is actually free. I promote free trials. That’s what I’m talking about. You can learn this from people selling cars.

Why free?

There are 3 reasons why I promote free:

More people are interested

When we promote something that costs money, no matter how cheap it is, it seems that most people won’t buy it. This means that you need to get a lot of visitors in order to sell one product. If they have to pay, it causes a barrier, between them and the product.

When it’s completely free to try, most people will want to try it. There are no reasons why they shouldn’t. If they are interested in the product at all, they will try it. It’s the same as with free food samples, if there’s a vegetarian option, I’ll try it whatever it is.

They can use the product first

Free is awesome, because my readers can test the product, and they will only pay if they enjoy it. If they don’t think it’s worth the money, they’ll just stop using. No problem at all, not for them, not for the company and not for me. This is how I got started using WriteRoom.

No grudge to me whatsoever

If they end up buying, they won’t tell me about the bad offer I made. And they won’t have a grudge against me, because I tricked them into buying. They buy only if they enjoy it first. That’s exactly why I ended up buing TaskPaper.

What about a money back guarantee?

You could say that the same goes for a product with a money back guarantee, but it’s not the same. Most people don’t like to tell the company that what they just bought sucks and that they want a refund. I never do, I don’t think I have done it even once (I’ll do it if the product doesn’t work, that’s it).

Is it really free?

Think about this for a minute:

When you can use something for a specific amount of time, or a specific amount of anything (like submissions) without paying anything, well, then it’s a free trial. But, what if you would have to add your email address and your name in order to get the product? Then you’re paying something, but you’re not using money?

To me, free should be a direct download, a way to test whatever you are selling without leaving any information at all.

Is $1 free?

To me, if I pay $1 for the first 30 days, I consider it as free. That’s because $1 is close to nothing. But to a lot of people $1 is not free, it’s not close to being free. That’s because they’ll have to use their credit card or their paypal account in order to get their hands on it.

Most people won’t do it. Not even for $1.

image: flickr



22 responses to “3 Reasons Why You Should Promote Free”

  1. TechGyo says:

    Hmm we promoting our products means we will get a chance to know how users respond to it and implement the responses in real time.

  2. Peter J says:

    People don’t usually buy because they are uncertain that a product is exactly right for them. On the internet, there isnt that often the opportunity to just take something back and ask for your money back, which is why people often avoid it.

    • Most of the products I buy (related to marketing) comes with a money back guarantee, usually eBooks and Software. But I never use it, and it’s not why I buy the product. If I’m not certain if I want the product I do what you said, I avoid it. That’s why the free trial is so powerful.

      I just remembered that the free trial is why I ended up buying scrivener.

      Thanks a lot for your comment.

  3. Jonathanfigaro says:

    Free promotion sounds like the way to go. But not people like you said, ” wont give up the dollar!” Sweet post ( surfer dudes voice)

  4. SmartAboutThings.Com says:

    I think that selling a product for 1$ or close to it is really a good idea for making some money IF your product is outstanding and YOU ARE WILLING to give it at a low price. I’m thinking about android and iPhone applications especially

    • Yes, it’s a good idea, and a lot better than selling it for a higher price. But I would do it for free, but only for a limited time (a trial). AWeber (the email newsletter provider I’m using have a $1 trial for 30 days. You get to use everything for only $1 for the first 30 days. That’s awesome. But I believe that a lot more people would use it if they would make it a completely free service for the first 30 days. Then, when people understand how amazing their service is, they’ll start to pay the monthly fee.

      • Ishan says:

        Aweber’sc competitor, MailChimp(which I use) have learned this and instead of $1 for first 30 days, they offer service fully free upto first 1000 subscribers with 3000 mail limit per month and this has worked wonders for them.
        This supports the last point that even $1 is much for many people!

  5. Isha Singh says:

    nice idea about promoting free products… thanks for share….

  6. Brentheriot says:

    The reason most people run screaming from those $1 promotions has less to do with the initial dollar than it does with the fact that once a business has your paypal/CC acount info, there will be future charges on it REGARDLESS if the promo item was canceled by shopper! It happens too often, leaving consumers with lots of bad feelings, as well as legal fees on some occasions.

  7. Adam says:

    Nothing is for free. Although many offers seem to be free they are not. You always have to get something back. As you mentioned you have to provide at least your email address. And we all know that email addresses are the gold mine of online marketing, right?

    When we are talking about trials, they are really great, you will get the email address and usually also the paypal or CC details. You will make your prospects get to use to your product and then after a month you will simply take them their favorite toy, or what is even better you renew to the full plan automatically because in TOS, which most of the people do not read, there is one sentence that the company is allowed to do it.

    So as I said there is nothing for free and especially when we are talking about the online world.

    • You’re right. I have only experienced a few things that are really free (when it comes to a free trial). That’s software like WriteRoom, TaskPaper and Scrivener. They are all completely free for a specific amount of time (direct download).

      Most companies understand the value of email addresses, and that if they get it, they can sell over and over again to the same customer.

      On the other hand I have discovered several good free eBooks (direct download). They come with some affiliate links inside, but that’s all.

  8. Tito says:

    As much as many things are presented as free online and offline, I am much comfortable with the idea of leaving something as small as your email address as a sign of commitment on the receivers part. Here’s how I see it, the law of exchange states; “to get, you must first give”. The receiver wants to get a trial, therefore he or she must be prepared to let go of their information, like wise the giver, who wants to get an information, must be prepared to let go of some days as trial. Either way, both parties gave something in order to get something. It’s the way the universe works, it creates balance. People don’t value worth they didn’t commit anything to receiving, trust me, I have tried free several times.

    • You are absolutely right. I know that this is why AWeber is doing the $1 trial and why other companies want our email. It’s not a problem, I just want everything as easy as possible and a direct download is the easiest and will get you more customers if your product is awesome (people will buy after the trial has ended).

      But on the other hand if people pay $1 or add their email they’ll be more committed to try and use the product? And in the end this means that they’ll be more likely to end up buying?

  9. Vernessa Taylor says:

    Hey Jens! People used to flock to anything “free” but became leery of offers of software, services, even ebooks because of so many shady practices, like mentioned in the comments. I don’t like those $1 offers that require (and keep) your payment info either. But I’m noticing the trend towards free trials that ask for nothing but your email. (They do need an email to send confirmation.)

    I recently did a review of ecommerce services that all offer free trials. When I was deciding which ones to include, if a service asked for too much personal info before the first login, I left it out.

    Thoughtful write-up on the world of Free. Thanks for sharing it.

    • I never complete free offers if they ask about too much information either. Usually my name and e-mail address is all they get. I want to be able to try the product first. Or, if I have talked to people I trust who have used the product, then I might end up buying (or giving away way too much information about myself).

      Thanks a lot for your comment Vernessa.

  10. Jason says:

    What are your thoughts on going from free to say a $99/month price point assuming the product is a perfect fit?

  11. Jason says:

    Agreed. If the product is worth it, keeping it at a higher price point should also keep away unwanted users (i.e. tire kickers).

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