The Power of ‘FREE’

A little while ago I visited a shopping center where a line of excited shoppers stretched from the Mac counter in David Jones, to the entry of Myer all the way at the other end of the center, more than 800 meters long!

My daughter Mika and I were in there for a quick shopping trip and I just had to stop and ask what all the fuss was about.

The lady that was trying to control the line said “FREE LIPSTICK!”

Really? Wow… Lining up for 3 hours to get a Free Lipstick?

This what got me thinking about two things:

1.   What a clever marketing strategy Mac has going on here…

2.   What people will endure getting something for free… Like a $30 lipstick.

Let’s look at the first point. Mac obviously did their numbers – they had to invest in creating the free giveaway product to get what in return…

–      Build their database for every free lipstick claimed which will eventuate in so many future purchases – lifetime value of a client TICK

–      Extra purchases on the spot as people claim the lipstick – no girl can just walk away with one thing from a cosmetics counter – TICK

–      Mac looking super popular for bystanders creating what Francesca calls the Sheep Effect – attracting people that otherwise would have never bought Mac and converting them into Fans – TICK

–      They are not losing $30 per lipstick – as it only costs them a few dollars to manufacture (maybe $3 – average cost per lead for most businesses) TICK

–      They did it on a Saturday when most people are not in a rush and happy to waste 2-3 hours of their weekend in line – TICK

–      People going home and telling a lot of friends about their awesome Free gift (even more Free advertising for Mac) TICK

Now let’s look at us human beings that would endure and sacrifice time to feel great about claiming a FREE Gift…

–      We get a false sense of Saving money – and hey who doesn’t want that.

–      If others are doing it, it’s ok for me to join – I will feel part of the tribe otherwise I may be ridiculed. We love to belong.

–      We have a story to share about the experience especially if done with friends – it’s in a way bonding with girlfriends.

–      Deep down we know this is a waste of time, but it’s the principle that matters – just like when someone owes you $5-$10 you hate not getting it back and talk about the principal.

–      Free is always going to attract at the front end – even though you know they will get you at the back end.

I have used my books as giveaways and free lead-magnets many times in the past as the perceived value of a $30 book oftentimes far outweighs the client’s effort to get a copy.

Just like Mac, I know that the cost to me (less than $3 to print a copy) is far less than getting an opt-in email, goodwill, or potential ideal client reading my content and potentially wanting to work with me further.

Books are great to giveaway at speaking and networking events. Not only does someone get to walk away with a little piece of you with them, the free marketing you get when your book and name is announced as a door-prize or event sponsor is enormous.

So, I am curious – what do you offer in your business for FREE?

How does it have massive perceived value and why would people give you their contact details to claim it?

Natasa Denman

P.S.  Get your FREE (see what I did there) eBook copy of ‘Shut up and Write Your First Book’ HERE