Giving Stuff Away Increases Sales! . . . . . . WTH?

March 3, 2008

After reading this blog entry  on the Long tail and this blog entry  on Seth Godin’s page I thought I would write a post about free.  I covered free in a previous entry but believe that it deserves another post since it is becoming a major part of marketing.  I found this graph interesting that was part of the Long tail’s entry;

Notice how the book sales were steadily falling until she gave away more than 1.1 million copies of her book for FREE, but yet her sales still grew and put her towards the top of the charts on Amazon.com .  The point is that giving the books away for free got people’s attention and as mentioned in Seth’s blog you have to earn attention but sometimes you can buy it.  While technically you are not buying the attention from the customers, but you are waving your potential revenues from the product that you are giving away for free.

What you get from this attention is what makes it all worth while. You get your foot in the door of the consumers potential future purchases, and to some companies that can be worth millions.  Giving something away for free is a great way to get noticed, but you also have to make sure that you don’t make it look like a trap.  Most consumers have caught onto the whole 30 day FREE trial that ends up in you having some company ask you 600 times a day on your computer to buy something or to install the full version of the software.  The trick is to make it 100% free with no strings attached, and you will be surprised at the return rate of the consumers.  I know I return to a lot of companies that I receive free products from, that is if I’m impressed with them.  There is no point in giving away useless cheap junk, because that does not attract the customer back to you.   You give me a 5 cent pen when I buy something off you, or when you’re trying to get my business, sure I may think of you later, but if you give me a 20 dollar tool or part free of charge I’m going to remember you and most likely return, and I’ll sign my cheque with the other guys pen.

-TAG

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