Does Free Make You Excited ... Or Suspicious?

44 replies
In days gone by if you saw the word free it would get your attention. But with so much use or overuse of the word among Internet marketers, does it make you excited or suspicious?

Is it time for a alternative word, or can the word free still be effective?

What's your personal approach toward the word free?
#excited #free #make #suspicious
  • Profile picture of the author tamalanwar
    FREE does makes me excited when I see it's a great value. When I read from great people I will get it for money, for an opt in or whatever. But free has different classes.

    If you trust one then FREE is great, otherwise it's something you won't like to have.

    Last week a new local cable company offered me a free for life internet, I said what's the catch and refused it.
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    • Profile picture of the author sandrasims
      Originally Posted by tamalanwar View Post

      FREE does makes me excited when I see it's a great value. When I read from great people I will get it for money, for an opt in or whatever. But free has different classes.

      If you trust one then FREE is great, otherwise it's something you won't like to have.

      Last week a new local cable company offered me a free for life internet, I said what's the catch and refused it.
      Agree...

      Now if the cable company had offered one month free internet or free upgrades for a limited time that would have made sense. Free can't go beyond what the customer knows is logically available.
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  • Profile picture of the author Benjamin Ehinger
    Originally Posted by The Niche Man View Post

    In days gone by if you saw the word free it would get your attention. But with so much use or overuse of the word among Internet marketers, does it make you excited or suspicious?

    Is it time for a alternative word, or can the word free still be effective?

    What's your personal approach toward the word free?
    I believe "Free" still works with the masses, but me personally, I run from the word. I have found that "free" nearly always means "no cash out of pocket up front". Most things that are free either come with less benefits and features or will eat into the profits you could have been making.

    Just my experience.

    Benjamin Ehinger
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    • Profile picture of the author alex.jeffreys
      nothing in life is FREE ...

      ( tell me anything you think is ... and i'll show you a cost attached )

      but FREE marketing works so well ( always has - always will )

      I agree there must me some *ALERT* attached when you see free.

      but it works ever so well ...

      ... if you check out ANY of my free information you'll see i try to make it better than most paid products out there ...

      why?

      to educate the suspicious people why they should be excited

      there are 4 stages of people when it comes to business

      (1) suspicious

      (2) prospects

      (3) customer

      (4) clients

      so my FREE stuff takes people from Suspicious to Prospect
      and I give my prospects as much value to educate them why they should be a customer ... and then i treat my customers so well that they repeat custom.

      hope that helps ...

      Alex Jeffreys
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  • Profile picture of the author Zack Lim
    I will always expect some offer to come up whenever something is being offered for free.

    But if the freebie is good or it gives good content, I wouldn't mind getting more details on the main offer that they are promoting. Haha it has work on me and I am sure it will work on many other people too.

    In my own opinion, this "Free" marketing strategy will continue to work as long people are around.

    Just my humble opinion

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  • Profile picture of the author NeilC
    At least by offering something "free" you're giving people a chance to make a more informed decision which is a good thing to do.

    Unless the "free" offering is just some cheap sales pitch with nothing really worth checking out which is bad practice anyway.
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    • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
      By itself, the word "free" does neither. When it's combined with the words around it, it could be either or both.

      Someone offers me a free sample. The catch is, they want me to buy the item, and this is their way of getting me to try it. Fair enough.

      Same free sample offer, but they need my credit card to send me the sample. The yellow flag comes out. Turns out that by accepting the 'free' sample, I'm also accepting a continuity deal in the fine print. Not fair, and no sale.
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      • Profile picture of the author HeySal
        Originally Posted by JohnMcCabe View Post

        By itself, the word "free" does neither. When it's combined with the words around it, it could be either or both.

        Someone offers me a free sample. The catch is, they want me to buy the item, and this is their way of getting me to try it. Fair enough.

        Same free sample offer, but they need my credit card to send me the sample. The yellow flag comes out. Turns out that by accepting the 'free' sample, I'm also accepting a continuity deal in the fine print. Not fair, and no sale.
        Totally agree. It will be a cold day in hell before anyone gets my CC info for a free product. I have a little trouble with the idea that people are so free with their finances.

        If a free product has info/use that I need or want, I will happily check it out. I neither feel obligation to buy or to read a bunch of follow-up sales material for other stuff that I have no interest in or need for. You put it out free, I didn't ask for it.

        However - if I check out that free product and it is really a good product (considering it's a freebie. I don't expect miracles for nothing) I will be more inclined to buy from that vendor if they have a product that I actually want or need. If the product is junk that was put out just to capture an email, that person's emails won't be hitting my box for very long. If someone is going to use junk as an example of their work, which is what a freebie is meant to be, I am not risking my wallet to them.
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      • Profile picture of the author PatriciaJ
        Originally Posted by JohnMcCabe View Post

        By itself, the word "free" does neither. When it's combined with the words around it, it could be either or both.

        Someone offers me a free sample. The catch is, they want me to buy the item, and this is their way of getting me to try it. Fair enough.

        Same free sample offer, but they need my credit card to send me the sample. The yellow flag comes out. Turns out that by accepting the 'free' sample, I'm also accepting a continuity deal in the fine print. Not fair, and no sale.
        I wouldn't give my credit card details out for a continuity deal freebie either. Book clubs, Readers Digest even.

        Free makes me curious but it doesn't excite me now or make me overly suspicious.

        I was looking at mini netbooks recently because my laptop is too big to carry around and the shop was advertising free internet on the ones I was interested in. I asked the assistant if that was for real and he didn't know. When we checked it out it was free for one month and then cost £20 a month after that. My broadband at home is cheaper so the free offer was expensive really. Smallprint counts.
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  • Profile picture of the author Bill Cook
    The more I watch, the more I see that Free can be used to great advantage. Unfortunately there are people that misuse free and have all sorts of strings attached, or don't give anything of value, but some may just say that you get what you pay for.

    On the other hand, if you give away your best information for free, then people will usually trip over themselves to see what you will actually do for them when you pay them.

    If you give away junk for free, then you will have a reputation of giving away junk. If you give away great information, then you will have a great reputation that you can leverage for much greater success.

    Bill
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  • Profile picture of the author RodriguezC
    when I hear the word free just makes me think they want my email and then sell me something, but sometimes is worth it because they really offer good content and good services!
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  • Profile picture of the author Jonathan 2.0
    If it's something I'm interested in, I'd pay money for the information let alone getting it for free. I think it's all about good marketing.
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  • Profile picture of the author ArticlePrincess
    When it comes to the internet, free always makes me suspicious. I would suggest offering it just for $1 instead of free.
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  • Profile picture of the author winseosoft
    For many folks , when they see something free , loses value and they on't give it a real try.
    When you add a price you add value to your stuff.Is been tested and makes sense.
    After all...nothing really good is for free.
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    • Profile picture of the author TopKat22
      Originally Posted by winseosoft View Post

      For many folks , when they see something free , loses value and they on't give it a real try.
      When you add a price you add value to your stuff.Is been tested and makes sense.
      After all...nothing really good is for free.

      I've received great value for free trials before many times in many different areas on and offline.

      Also, I currently and in the past both online and offline offer/have offered high quality, what my clients consider very valuable, free services.

      I don't think you can make a blanket statement as there is free stuff that is offered that is really not valuable and free stuff that is very high value and I think is then an indication of what you will get if and when you ever decide to purchase from this vendor.

      You would think, wow, if I got all this for free, I wonder what I get for the introductory package? Anyway, that is how it has worked for me as the buyer and the seller.

      :-)
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  • Profile picture of the author Seth Bias
    It all depends on what is 'free'. Like if Im out and they offer me a free hamburger that is awesome!! But if I am online and they offer something for free after trying to upsell me 4 times then spam my email... no so awesome
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  • Profile picture of the author Nathan2525
    Originally Posted by The Niche Man View Post

    In days gone by if you saw the word free it would get your attention. But with so much use or overuse of the word among Internet marketers, does it make you excited or suspicious?

    Is it time for a alternative word, or can the word free still be effective?

    What's your personal approach toward the word free?
    Free definitely still attracts. Another good alternative that I read
    about in an Influence and Persuasion was to give it a value.

    At no cost to you. (Value $17)

    It's all opinion until you test. Give it a test.
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  • Profile picture of the author Suthan M
    FREE?

    why not, I am asian after all ! We will take FREE all day long :-)
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    • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
      Originally Posted by Suthan M View Post

      FREE?

      why not, I am asian after all ! We will take FREE all day long :-)
      It's not purely an Asian thing, Suthan. A friend of mine (blond, blue-eyed Scandinavian-American) has a saying, "if it's for free, it's for me..."
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    • Profile picture of the author WebPen
      Being in IM has definitely changed my view of the word. As another wise poster mentioned, very few things are truly free.

      For example opting in to get a "free" report isn't free- it requires giving up your email address

      On the flip side, I suppose a report can be free if you don't have to opt in to get it.
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    • Profile picture of the author Benjamin Ehinger
      Originally Posted by Suthan M View Post

      FREE?

      why not, I am asian after all ! We will take FREE all day long :-)
      That is just funny.
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      • Profile picture of the author InfinityNetwork
        It depends. If a reputable company is offering me a free physical sample of their product, I'm all over it ... must be the Scottish blood! If I see something online that is free, I usually tend to be suspicious about what the catch is. Sometimes I will continue to look into it further, for example, if someone offers free traffic with a new search engine account I will read or start to sign up and see if they require a credit card number or not to get the free credits.

        Having said that, the company I work for offers a free basic level membership, with some limited functionality, and we definitely do get people signing up to try it, and a percentage of the free members then buy paid memberships for full access. So "free" in marketing can definitely still be effective these days!
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  • Profile picture of the author MikeyMillward
    I believe free still attracts the masses, but for me personally it sets off alarm bells coupled with glossy sales copy and broken promises. If you saw my spam folder you'd know why!

    Perhaps offering a sample at a lower cost to build buzz before a full product release is a better idea?
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  • Profile picture of the author TopKat22
    It depends on what I'm looking for and the value of the free item.

    If I am searching for something and I find exactly what I'm looking for and then find out I can try it for free for a long enough time to actually see results, I'm thrilled.

    I think free is still very valuable to most people when under those circumstances.

    I used it very successfully in my offline businesses because it gave people a chance to find out more about my services without making a financial committment.

    Have the initial free services lead me to a 95% conversion rate offline.

    Online, currently, my conversion rate is 51% as of this morning for the last 2 weeks and I think that is due to the factors of a very targetted audience and a high value for the free items.

    :-)
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  • Profile picture of the author Mauricio Lopez
    It's funny you mention this because I to was starting to wonder if the word "FREE" was being overused in the IM world.

    I conducted my own test on my squeeze pages for the words "FREE" and "COMPLIMENTARY" Both proved to be effective with a slient advantage using the word "complimentary."

    Perhaps give it a go on your pages and see what happens... Im still a strong believer in giving away something of value to my prospects to build my lists...
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  • Profile picture of the author Tony Marriott
    I guess you referring to the fact that "free" stuff is the mainstay of list building, lead capture and the front end sales funnels. Taught by every guru and non-guru alike.

    If I had a $1 for every time the words "free report" has been published on the internet I wouldn't need IM for sure.

    Maybe it is still effective when targeting newbies in IM or markets out side of the MM niche but the more savvy IM'r is definitely more wary.

    From recent experience with WSO's for example I have found that paid offers actually out perform free ones. I mean when offering (in my view) a comparable quality product not a "free report". (Wow another $1 ).

    My belief is that free WSO's are believed to be lead generators and so the expectation of the product quality may be lower.

    However conversely, if I send out a free offer to my list (and I send high quality products consistently) I can expect a higher than average open rate. Again I believe this is due to the expectation.

    So I'm pretty sure "free" is here to stay for the foreseeable future but you need to look at where, when and how it's used.

    At the risk of being "verbally beaten" I think the free stuff will always have some level of audience in IM, from same group who struggle to have enough faith in themselves and other to make a financial investment in their own futures. The very thing that will hold them back and make success seem so difficult and elusive.
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    • Profile picture of the author The Niche Man
      It's interesting how the word free not only means no money needed, but also no risk of getting spammed. Most people have come to the conclusion the word free means having to enter into some sort of implied agreement. That's why free offers don't have "the juice" they once did.
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      • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
        Originally Posted by The Niche Man View Post

        It's interesting how the word free not only means no money needed, but also no risk of getting spammed. Most people have come to the conclusion the word free means having to enter into some sort of implied agreement. That's why free offers don't have "the juice" they once did.
        You can put a lot of that juice back by removing the 'implied' from the agreement. Make it a straight up swap of value.

        "I'll send you this report in return for your email. I'll send you additional emails from time to time that I believe you might be interested in. If I recommend something that has value to you, buy it through my link, and I take another step toward paying the bills. If you don't see value, don't follow the link - no harm, no foul. If I miss the mark too often, cancel your subscription. I don't take hostages; the key to getting off my list is at the top and bottom of every email I send. Now it's up to you. Either way, I wish you well..."

        That might suppress my overall response a few points, but the people who do say yes are the people who get me. If they grab the freebie and run, I still wish them well. No hard feelings.
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  • Profile picture of the author steady
    I think for the non-techie people, the word "free" still catches attention.
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  • Profile picture of the author timpears
    When I see 'free', I get skeptical. Two days ago I got an email telling me about a product that his subscribers would get for free, and in reading the email he said it was just $1. So already we know it isn't free.

    First off the link didn't work, then I did some hunting as I knew this seller. I found it just minutes after it went live. The price was $7, not $1 and not free. I wrote the seller to express my displeasure and he gave it to me for free. So I guess it turned out to be free for me after all. But if I had not complained, even the second higher price would not have been available.

    But so often when I see 'free', there is always a catch. There isn't any free lunch. So I am always wary of what the catch is.
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  • Profile picture of the author sitywyde
    I think that FREE is expected... BUT I myself understand that TRUE value must be paid for...For most that are ALWAYS looking for FREE STUFF... Let me just say...You are missing out! RISK Equals REWARD
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  • Profile picture of the author wildjohnny
    There is no such thing as free lunch.

    Free always make me suspicious. And almost always it's with reason.
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  • Profile picture of the author JulioMedina
    It really just depends on the product and if it seems like a gimmick.
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  • Profile picture of the author John Redlinger
    When I see the word "free" I look for reasons that mean it is a bad deal. That may be a touch of cynism in me. The word "free" leaps out at you and all the ad writers know it.
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  • Profile picture of the author Brad Spencer
    Originally Posted by The Niche Man View Post

    In days gone by if you saw the word free it would get your attention. But with so much use or overuse of the word among Internet marketers, does it make you excited or suspicious?

    Is it time for a alternative word, or can the word free still be effective?

    What's your personal approach toward the word free?
    Free for IM usually means rehashed junk. The adswap guys killed the usage of that word "free" and its entire meaning by giving away garbage that is far from "free" (Full Disclosure: I built my original list which started my WSO business from adswaps...though quit when it got saturated with people who couldn't market sex to a sex addict)

    I avoid using it unless someone has been presold on "me" such as forum posts, guest blog posts, an interview, or some other piece of content where they've seen me in action and know my "free" report/product will actually help them.

    Cheers,

    Brad
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  • Profile picture of the author SamirRastogi
    Sometimes using the word Free can be good but depending on the context, it can be considered spammy and suspicious. In those situations, I prefer to use "at no cost" or "at zero cost" or something along those lines.
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  • Profile picture of the author jahangir87
    Yeah Free has value to me when I got them from a trusted site or trusted person.I never avoid a free stuff offered by an IM personal like Chris Farrell.
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  • Profile picture of the author UncleDearest
    Free does absolutely nothing for me, but I suspect it's still quite a powerful word. I've trained my mind to scan that word, much like banner ads on the sidebars of a website. I don't even like discounts. I want value, whether it's free or expensive. Wow, after writing this I realized that I'm actually turned off by the word!
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  • Profile picture of the author Marcus Demanse
    Kind of sets alarm bells in my head, especially if you see the word on the internet. I automatically think that they're saying it's free upfront but there's always a catch behind it.
    Probably better to paraphrase.
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  • Profile picture of the author mikesdebp
    I don't think it matters what we think!

    Time and time again, marketing studies show that FREE is one of the attention-grabbing words that people respond to when they see or hear an ad.

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  • Profile picture of the author alex.jeffreys
    I LOVE "free" as it gives me a RISK FREE peek into what the value is that I COULD buy into.

    if the free stuff is great ---> then i'm acutally HAPPY when a pitch is attached as "free" gets me ready to buy.

    works on me ... works on my prospects.
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    • Profile picture of the author Steve Lim
      Originally Posted by alex.jeffreys View Post

      I LOVE "free" as it gives me a RISK FREE peek into what the value is that I COULD buy into.

      if the free stuff is great ---> then i'm acutally HAPPY when a pitch is attached as "free" gets me ready to buy.

      works on me ... works on my prospects.
      I feel great for free stuff, but of course if the free stuff are good quality is even better!! But I think when people use their money to purchase something, they might get more appreciate compare to those free stuff, and the more expensive of they purchase, the more discipline they will take to apply what they learn..
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  • Profile picture of the author Tomos Wyn
    If somebody says free then I'm instantly weary.

    Nothing in life is truly free. If they advertise it as that, like many here have said, I'll probably stay clear of whatever it is. But that's just me - many still jump on the free bandwagon and many will continue to do so in the future.
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