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Unread 30th Jan 2010, 03:49 PM   #1
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Free vs Complimentary
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If you are promoting an offer for something that is "free" do you prefer using the word FREE or COMPLIMENTARY?

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Unread 30th Jan 2010, 04:25 PM   #2
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Very good point. Try both and see what the results are

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Unread 31st Jan 2010, 01:26 AM   #3
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"Complimentary" has a very service industry/airline-ish flavor to me. You know, like the complimentary cup of coke-flavored ice and five micro pretzels.
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Unread 31st Jan 2010, 01:30 AM   #4
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The word "Free" is known as a well-established people magnet in marketing, advertising, and copywriting circles.

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Unread 31st Jan 2010, 02:07 AM   #5
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"Free" for me.

"Complimentary" sounds creepy!

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Unread 31st Jan 2010, 02:38 AM   #6
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FREE FREE FREE - Everyone wants something for nothing!
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Unread 31st Jan 2010, 05:17 AM   #7
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I think you mean COMPLEMENTARY. I'm sure everyone would like to be "complimented" by your free gift, but it's unlikely to happen - unless it's a talking teddy bear.

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Unread 31st Jan 2010, 05:21 AM   #8
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Complimentary always meas there something i dont know....
its the same with free but atleast they are tru to the words
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Unread 31st Jan 2010, 08:13 AM   #9
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OK some email filters kick out anything with the word free in it - FREEdom even. That is why I use {gratis, comp, zero cost, bonus} to get around the filter.

Also, for sadsense users. Many advertisers filter out for the word free to prevent their ads from on "freebie sites" showing up. So make sure it does not appear. That means anywhere on any of your pages.

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Unread 31st Jan 2010, 08:42 AM   #10
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Sounds the same.
If you're going to use it in copywriting, test it and report the results.

We would love to hear it.
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Unread 31st Jan 2010, 09:12 AM   #11
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Free, is a proven sales and marketing tool. Always stick with what works.
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Unread 31st Jan 2010, 10:51 PM   #12
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Re: Free vs Complimentary
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good results here, me personally think complimentary with an I is the best, thanks to alexa who caught my drift, more like we appreciate your business, go here for a complimentary (blank) basically thinking it can work, but I will try both and track and return results

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Unread 31st Jan 2010, 10:54 PM   #13
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FREE. Everybody knows what it means and it works.

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Unread 31st Jan 2010, 11:17 PM   #14
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I can't find my test results.

I have tested that one to death though.

The correct answer a vast majority of the time is...

Complimentary

At least in the umpteen tests I did.
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Unread 18th Nov 2012, 10:18 AM   #15
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Here's a quick explanation of "Complimentary" vs. "complementary"

These two words sound exactly the same and are easily confused, but it's important for credibility to use the right one.

"Complimentary" (with an I) means "free of charge, given as a compliment or gift." Obviously, that's not what we do except when we offer freebies.

"Complementary" (with an E) describes that which "completes" the whole. Notice the similarity in spelling between "complete" and "complementary."

I hope this helps for your future copy.

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Unread 18th Nov 2012, 10:30 AM   #16
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I would prefer free because it will get more attraction than COMPLIMENTARY
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Unread 18th Nov 2012, 11:29 AM   #17
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I'd go with "free" because it sounds more real to me and not as stuffy.

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Unread 18th Nov 2012, 11:36 AM   #18
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"free" fore sure. Lets face it - everyone likes stuff for free

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Unread 18th Nov 2012, 12:20 PM   #19
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Re: Free vs Complimentary
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I would go with free for the promotion but use complimentary on the page for an unexpected bonus.

Complimentary according to dictionary.com means a free extra for an action taken, as in a complimentary ticket for the sauna when you book into a hotel.

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Unread 18th Nov 2012, 12:25 PM   #20
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FREE of course. Does anyone actually use the word "complimentary" in IM anyway?

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Unread 18th Nov 2012, 12:53 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ceenote100 View Post
FREE of course. Does anyone actually use the word "complimentary" in IM anyway?
Yes.

And according to post #15 above, it's at least one person's regular winner, when split-tested against "free".
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Unread 18th Nov 2012, 12:56 PM   #22
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I always use the word FREE... coz it never fails to catch attention...
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Unread 18th Nov 2012, 01:48 PM   #23
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In all my experience, FREE works best with the exception of email messages, since FREE will get you autospammed so I use complimentary.
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Unread 18th Nov 2012, 03:13 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KristiDaniels View Post
I can't find my test results.

I have tested that one to death though.

The correct answer a vast majority of the time is...

Complimentary

At least in the umpteen tests I did.
Me too. I did a split test on e-mails to my list, and "Complimentary" won. I don't remember by what percent, but it won.

My guess is that the word sounds more like "I'm doing you a favor" than "You pay nothing". Ever go to a nice restaurant or hotel? They say "Complimentary".

Anyway, I've also heard of a more extensive test (I think by Ryan Deiss), and "Complimentary" won there too.


And the next person I hears say the word "Legit" is going to get choked through the computer! Do you know who says "Legit"? People that just came out of prison. Who else says "Legit"? People that wouldn't use the word "Complimentary". So There! :rolleyes:

OK, I was just having a little fun there.

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Unread 18th Nov 2012, 04:12 PM   #25
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Quote:
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Me too. I did a split test on e-mails to my list, and "Complimentary" won. I don't remember by what percent, but it won.

My guess is that the word sounds more like "I'm doing you a favor" than "You pay nothing". Ever go to a nice restaurant or hotel? They say "Complimentary".

Anyway, I've also heard of a more extensive test (I think by Ryan Deiss), and "Complimentary" won there too.


And the next person I hears say the word "Legit" is going to get choked through the computer! Do you know who says "Legit"? People that just came out of prison. Who else says "Legit"? People that wouldn't use the word "Complimentary". So There! :rolleyes:

OK, I was just having a little fun there.
I just did a quick scan through one of my gmail accounts. Out of 19 headlines that promised "free" items, 17 of them pulled a bait-and-switch to BOGOS or free with purchase offers. I have a feeling that many people are starting to understand that FREE does not mean free anymore.

I only found two headlines in the same sample that offered complimentary items, and both were no-strings freebies (if you discount the fact that I had to physically go to their business to cash in). In both cases, the complimentary items complemented items the business wanted me to buy, but no purchase was required.
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Unread 18th Nov 2012, 04:49 PM   #26
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Re: Free vs Complimentary
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I think using "FREE" is preferable, it can be easily understood and just plain simple

"Complimentary"... like something I've heard in bar / pub, just like "Complimentary Drink" or so

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Unread 18th Nov 2012, 04:50 PM   #27
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I would also think it could sometimes depend on the niche. If it's the MMO niche then by all means go with FREE but if it's something a little more upscale - even a gourmet tangible niche or something, then I might expect to see "complimentary copy of..."

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Unread 18th Nov 2012, 04:56 PM   #28
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Everyone knows what "free" means. Not everyone understands what "complimentary" means.

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Unread 18th Nov 2012, 04:56 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis Gaskill View Post
The word "Free" is known as a well-established people magnet in marketing, advertising, and copywriting circles.
Couldn't agree more. It's also more "INTERNATIONAL".

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Unread 18th Nov 2012, 05:10 PM   #30
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Being a simple kind of guy, I just promote a "free bonus" offer, contingent upon the successful completion of a purchase transaction. Buyers get a free product which is complementary to the sale, and I get complimentary comments on being legit.
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Unread 18th Nov 2012, 06:05 PM   #31
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Quote:
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I would also think it could sometimes depend on the niche. If it's the MMO niche then by all means go with FREE but if it's something a little more upscale - even a gourmet tangible niche or something, then I might expect to see "complimentary copy of..."

Tiff
I agree. It is more upscale.

You other guys and gals: Did you notice that the three of us (I'm tired, it may be two and I'm hallucinating), that actually tested, found complimentary to win?

I'll also say this. The people on my list are not upscale people for the most part. They own small businesses. No wine stores, Cigar emporiums...just guys that fix cars, change the oil, inspect your home, get rid of termites, and other very "blue collar" jobs.

In my retail store, I say "Here, with my compliments". For some reason I don't say "Free" in most conversations.

Maybe I just want to sound more legit. ....I mean Legitimate. :rolleyes:

Watch; People will still debate this, even after all the results have show the answer. I love it.

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Unread 18th Nov 2012, 06:21 PM   #32
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According to the FTC, free means ****FREE****! Complimentary could mean some added bonus that goes with it, or free.

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Unread 18th Nov 2012, 06:26 PM   #33
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Free is better. Complimentary requires me to think a little bit.

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Unread 18th Nov 2012, 06:28 PM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by areevez View Post
If you are promoting an offer for something that is "free" do you prefer using the word FREE or COMPLIMENTARY?
People search for free things. I personally do not know anybody who would search for 'complementary' items.

You cannot use 'FREE' in advertising on Google. They will not allow it. You can, however, use 'Free'. The word 'free' is a huge attraction for crowds that works and is used in advertising widely.

I do have a warning: anything free attracts tire kickers. Use free stuff to attract people but try to sell something immediately.




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Unread 18th Nov 2012, 06:29 PM   #35
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Would love to see the split test results on this on a site that gets decent traffic. Interesting!

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Unread 18th Nov 2012, 06:33 PM   #36
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Free means no money involved where complimentary means you buy something and this is an added bonus.
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Unread 19th Nov 2012, 05:38 PM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shan54 View Post
Everyone knows what "free" means. Not everyone understands what "complimentary" means.
Apparently, not everyone knows what "free" means. They know what it's supposed to mean, and exploit that for offers that are anything but.

If there is room to parse sentences to get any desired meaning, people will use it. Heck, we even have an ex-President who wanted to debate the meaning of the word "is"...:rolleyes:
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Unread 19th Nov 2012, 06:06 PM   #38
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Between Free or Complimentary or No Cost or Zero Cost, or Gift, or nothing to pay, or kostenlos or libero or gratuit or gratis or whatever you want to put... copywriting speaking... FREE often pops up more is shorter and people related to it more.

Of course you can always split test and see which word converts best.

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