The Power of Free

The word “free” in your email subject line can get your electronic missive sent to the recipient’s spam folder in a hurry. But free is a powerful draw in many ways. I’ve become acutely aware of the power of free over this past week because I’ve heard and read so many examples and seen so many offers.

I use MailChimp for my newsletters. It is free. Unless I exceed certain numbers or want extra features.  Then I’ll have to pay the way I would with other email programs. But if I got to the point where I needed to pay for these features, would I switch email programs or just pay MailChimp (where my cleaned list resides, my templates reside, my learning curve has been conquered, etc.)? I think I know the answer.  You probably do to0.

I use ZoHo for my customer relationship management (CRM) purposes.  It is free.  Unless I exceed certain numbers or want certain extra features.  Then I’ll have to pay the way I would with other CRM programs. If or when I get to the point of exceeding those numbers or needing those extra features, will I switch to another program or stay with the one I started with?

I just got an ad for free video project production and hosting. Up to a small number of videos with a modest bandwidth allowance for people viewing them.  If I start with this company, am I likely to switch later?  Not likely!

When you go to the grocery store you get free samples of stuff to taste. Even at Costco, where you can try pizza, cheese, crackers and all kinds of other things while you buy paper towels and paper plates. Do you need that special artichoke-parmesan dip?  No, you don’t.  But it sure tastes good.  Might as well get some while we’re here spending a lot of money anyway.

The local bakery gives you bites of breads, cookies, muffins, cupcakes and other pastries. The deli department at the grocery store gives you samples of meats, cheeses and salads. Do these sample increase their revenues?  You bet they do!

How many free e-books have you downloaded in the last month or so?  Or free videos?  All of these free things are designed to entice you to buy the products or contract for the services of the sellers.  They want to give you a taste of what they can do for you so that you will feel comfortable committing to the paid product or service. Not enough info for you to do everything yourself, mind you, but enough to get you to realize that the result you get will be better with some professional help, experience and advice than you’d get doing it on your own.  And probably faster, too, than if you have to do all the research and learn how to do what an expert has done many, many times.

So think about free. Not only its impact on you, but its potential impact on your business if you can find the right thing(s) to give away. An interesting proposition, don’t you think. Comments solicited. One free gift card to your favorite coffee shop for you if I like your comment best.


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