Home – New Forums Marketing mastery Does free work?

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  • #978684
    SavvySME
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    There is a lot of us in the service industry offering free assessments. Have we done them so badly that now when I create a genuinely free offer that it falls flat on its face? I’m not longer a consultant and I no longer sell any services, but I’m offering free consulting in return for a registration which is a registration to a free product (I’m just bored waiting for our platform to be built) and I find it’s not really converting well.

    For those offering free assessments and consultation, have you found that it hard to get someone to take the bait because they have been burt previously (forced to buy after the free service) or have you experienced success?

    If you are a small business and need some advice I suggest you put me to work:
    http://www.savvysme.com.au/advice/

    #1108822
    JacquiPryor
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    Hi Wendy,

    As you know – I have been at registered at your site and followed your social media accounts etc.. however, this post was the first I knew that you were offering any sort of free consulting etc. So, not sure how you are promoting it but wonder if it’s not converting really well because not enough people know you are offering it?

    Actually – now I have just said that – I can see the offer is pretty hard to miss at the website :) But, I don’t think that was there when I registered, which was only last week – so maybe it just hasn’t been long enough yet?

    For those offering free assessments and consultation, have you found that it hard to get someone to take the bait because they have been burt previously (forced to buy after the free service) or have you experienced success?

    My ‘free’ thing is the offer of a free trademark search via my website – and honestly, I experience quite good results from it. a) I get quite a few people take up the offer to begin with and b) a reasonable portion of those people take the next step in the process, which is where I charge a fee. (Obviously not everyone, but enough that I can’t complain :))

    When I first started I put a bit of money into a google ppc campaign, targeting that particular free search page and definitely saw results from it. Now, I put money into my Google account when things are slow just to generate some buzz again… and, have found that I need to do this less and less often, as I am gaining enough interest in the free search I offer through organic searches now.

    #1108823
    Divert To Mobile
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    I offer free services after a prospect has become a client. I find it builds the relationship and often generates more sales and quality referrals. Ive noticed offering free upfront often attracts the wrong prospects.

    just noticed i didnt answer your question.
    Yes a lot of decent folk have been burned by the free bait and theyre the ones who end up not being attracted to it.

    #1108824
    spinninghill
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    I offer no obligation, free colour advertising on our site and very few people enquire.

    I think this is an element of distrust when it comes to “Free” stuff.

    #1108825
    Shaukat Adam Khalid
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    Avoid words like free, complimentary, no obligation and other over used words unless you have a huge reason “why” immediately after mentioning it.

    there is no such thing as free because even “free” comes with a cost – time or worse, hard sell. similar to free investment seminars and free in home appointments or free consultants.

    interestingly, if you use “free” in an email it will most likely go to spam even if you have your SPF record straight but that’s another topic.

    also comes down to approach and positioning. lots of factors involved in effective selling and yes, it can be harder to “sell” free than paid.

    with the affluent, you have to avoid using words such as “free” altogether because they like to brag about how expensive their consultant is.

    someone said fee advice is exactly what it’s worth and those who’ve been around tend to agree.

    #1108826
    SavvySME
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    Good points Khalid :)! I’ve changed my signature to be more transparent as to WHY I’m doing it :). and Jacqui, your right, this was a change we made on Friday only, and we are currently testing out the conversion rate of this landing page.

    Thanks so much for your help everyone!

    #1108827
    victorng
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    Free doesn’t work. You’ll shortly receive an invoice in the mail for this advice.

    :p

    #1108828
    LuckyDip
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    Everything I do on Lucky Dip Design is free but I’m not trying to sell anything off the back of it so I don’t measure whether it works in that regard.

    Free is definitely overdone though – even the email marketing program I use runs a check before you send out your campaign and if you have included the word ‘free’ in your message it notifies you that it will likely go straight to the user’s junk/spam folder, especially if used in the subject heading.

    #1108829
    spinninghill
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    LuckyDip, post: 121162 wrote:
    Everything I do on Lucky Dip Design is free but I’m not trying to sell anything off the back of it so I don’t measure whether it works in that regard.

    Free is definitely overdone though – even the email marketing program I use runs a check before you send out your campaign and if you have included the word ‘free’ in your message it notifies you that it will likely go straight to the user’s junk/spam folder, especially if used in the subject heading.

    I’ve never heard of this – thanks for the heads up!

    #1108830
    Khaz0r
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    Free has been the new ‘F’ word in marketing over the past couple of years.

    In the business I work for offering the free no obligation trial of our services is probably the most successful marketing offer we use.

    Yes we do get tyre kickers, but the businesses we target and the contacts we hope to reach does help limit the number of businesses signing up just for the freebie.

    Why has it worked for us?

    1. Not all businesses are familiar to the service we offer so they want to know what it’s all about. The freebie offer gives them just that.

    2. We are in the business services sector where there are about 20 other Australian competitors and another handful worth of global competitors that have entered the Australian market. When a business is unhappy with their current provider they try our services and more often than not they are pleased with what they receive and if the price is right for them, they’d sign up.

    Free still works.

    #1108831
    Barchie
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    I’ve offered free periods of service and free incentives and have found that the majority of the people i ended up attracting don’t have a any money to spend in the long term. (seems a little obvious now FREE = no money)

    On the other hand, a small percentage of the people i did attract have stayed on to become great customers, but overall i don’t think it was worth the time spent. I ended up putting a lot of time into running the free campaign, taking calls, meeting with clients and at the end of the day, my time had gone to waste.

    The response rate to advertisements increased greatly. I think it could be worthwhile if you are merely trying to gain exposure & whatever it is you were offering for free did not consume a lot of time or money.

    #1108832
    Shaukat Adam Khalid
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    Not a goos idea to offer free sessions unless there some kind of qualifier like a certain level of income or spend.

    Secondly, better to give the free in front of an audience or via ebooks/video/DVDs.

    Third, the serious prospects are happy to pay upfront As long as there is some kind of money back guarantee. Make sure you charge premium for this.

    Barchie, post: 121754 wrote:
    , but overall i don’t think it was worth the time spent.
    .
    #1108833
    kathiemt
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    I didn’t know your name was Wendy till Jacqui mentioned it – perhaps personalising your site and letting people know who you are might help? Anyone can offer ‘free’ on the web but it’s about who that person is and is what they’re offering really of value? How do people tell how long you’ve been in business or doing what you’re doing?

    Given all that, I’ve never seen your website before and it looks smart and professional. Perhaps share who your marketing experts are? That might help people to understand what the true value of the ‘free’ offer is.

    By the way, I tried your LinkedIn address in your ‘about me’ info here and it wasn’t working. You might want to check that. Also the badge for LinkedIn on your website doesn’t actually lead to your LinkedIn profile. Nor does Facebook – it’s more to share information about you but if people know nothing about you they’re unlikely to want to share something. Probably better to link the badges to your actual profile pages – or have I missed the point?

    #1108834
    James Millar
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    Have a look at the “penny gap” economic theory. It’s often used in context of websites with subscription revenue business models but the core theory has relevance to any free business offer. There is a massive non liner gap in consumer demand for a product / service when you go from free to just 1 cent.

    It demonstrates the need for caution when considering the use of free offers – what people will try and what people will buy are two very different things.

    Helping build better businesses and better lives with expert financial and taxation advice. [email protected] www.360partners.com.au 03 9005 4900
    #1108835
    kathiemt
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    JamesMillar, post: 121780 wrote:
    Have a look at the “penny gap” economic theory. It’s often used in context of websites with subscription revenue business models but the core theory has relevance to any free business offer. There is a massive non liner gap in consumer demand for a product / service when you go from free to just 1 cent.

    It demonstrates the need for caution when considering the use of free offers – what people will try and what people will buy are two very different things.

    umm, you speak/write like an economist. Do you want to try that again in plain English for those of us who haven’t studied that theory? :D

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