I’m about to reveal the most powerful marketing word in the English language. It’s been used eons before marketing was created. You hear this word multiple times a day. You’ll see it on TV ads, newspaper ads, and online services. You’ll even hear politicians use it to promote their grandiose plans.
What is the word?
Just mentioning the word “free” stirs the emotion of getting something for nothing. It may be a cliche and overused marketing technique but is still used today because it works. Human psychology doesn’t change even if the medium delivering the message may change.
You hear it used all the time: “buy one get one free”, “try free for 30 days”, “free shipping”, “gluten-free”, “act now and get a free gift”, “free healthcare”, and “attend our free investment dinner”. The variations of this theme are endless.
Many users of Facebook’s service don’t understand while they don’t pay for it, it isn’t free. You are effectively the product yet users are often surprised to discover this fact. Facebook is a profitable company because of the targeted ads they serve you. If Facebook ads didn’t exist, you would have to pay more than $10/month. Most individuals wouldn’t pay for Facebook since they are so accustomed to not paying for online services.
The freemium model is a common business technique.
If you think college and healthcare is expensive now wait till it’s free. You have presidential nominees in the Democratic Party who want to offer free stuff. There is no such thing. It requires taking money from productive individuals by force. It’s an easy way to create identity politics and envy in others. It’s us versus them (which is another powerful marketing technique).
Yet people fall for the concept of free all the time no matter the source. Now you might think I’m mocking these ideas but I’m not.
These are all powerful techniques you can use in your own marketing. In your marketing efforts realize the power of free content, free webinars, free courses, and free services. If positioned properly you upsell a high-end product with a free intro offer.
Free removes an implied risk by the prospect – it will cost them money. They can use your product without paying. Free allows the prospect to try your product and get ‘hooked’ on the benefits. Then they will gladly pay for the service once the free trial is over.
Mind you it still may cost a prospect other things like time. Prospects typically don’t think in terms of time but only money. People will drive 60 miles to get something free. It’s a fact of life most are motivated by money. In some circles getting something for free is almost a competitive sport.
It also appeals to our altruistic tendencies.
By offering free content it causes one of the basic psychological tenants discussed by Robert Cialdini in his book Influence. Reciprocation is a powerful force that makes others feel guilty about you giving away free content. They are motivated to give back from your selfless giving. This will cause prospects to purchase your paid services.
Use the power of free in your marketing. Use it effectively and use it often.