Why ‘Free’ doesn’t always rule

there’s a bit of a marketing myth that ‘free’ beats pretty much everything else.

True, who’s going to argue with a free beer, a free pizza, or heck, a free report?

But, you need to be aware that the lure of free ends right there, after that free report.

Strange as it sounds, people don’t value ‘free’ anywhere near as much as they value ‘paid for’ stuff.

Here’s a fine example:

My daughter takes ballet-lessons.

And once a year, they do a big performance where all age-groups do a dance they’ve been practicing for the last year.

Now, right at the end, all students get up on stage and there’s a terrific applause (lots of proud parents;-)


(and yes, the focus is intentional …)

But, once that has semi-died-down, the ballet-teacher gets up on stage …

… and the audience goes mental!

“Standing ovation” does not even begin to describe it.

That’s how incredibly grateful we are for her allowing us to give her good money every month so she teach our youngest daughter some ballet.

Now, look at the opposite:

Give people free education, and you nearly have to beat them with a stick to turn up (yes, I’m talking about schools;-)

But, take the opposite, like an evening school: it’s paid. People are keen to attend.

Ecole superieure in France, Ivy-league colleges in the US, public schools in the UK …: super-hard to get into, often not exactly a bargain … and people are queuing to get in.

So, yes, all the examples are from the field of ‘education’ (and I agree, not many people would argue with a lifetime supply of free beer), but I hope you see the value for your own marketing efforts:

absolutely, use the ‘lure of free’ to get people in the door (so they can see for themselves that what you have is right for them), but after that … beware of giving away too much ‘for free’.

People simply don’t value it, won’t take action on it, and it certainly won’t help in positioning YOU as an expert/go-to resource in your field





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