Is Your Free Based Marketing Push Really Converting For Your Company?

When it comes to attracting customers or clients and then keeping them for years, there are a lot of different tricks that can be used in a marketing push. One of the big ones over the last decade or two has been the utilization of a ‘free’ marketing push.

What are we talking about here? The idea that by giving customers something for free, you’ll attract and keep them for years to come. Setting up a great marketing plan often hinges around offering freebies in order to get leads to see what you can provide.


But are you turning those leads into conversions, or are you just giving something away for free and never seeing any of those potential customers again? Taking a closer look at this subject can help ensure that you’re getting the absolute most from your marketing efforts and from your efforts at personalized email marketing for ecommerce.

The Psychology Behind “Free”

Free is a word that Americans love. In fact, they love it so much that entire books have been written about it and studies have been done into the term and its impact on shoppers. Here are two examples of those studies.

  • In one study, two offers were made to consumers – a $20 gift card for $7 or a $10 gift card for free. Most people took the free card despite the larger value of the other.
  • Another study found that a high quality candy offered at half its normal cost compared to a cheaper candy that was sold for one penny was chosen more frequently But remove that penny cost, and suddenly the number of people taking the cheap candy jumped from 27% up to 69%.

What does that show, exactly? That no matter the quality of a product, consumers will usually gravitate towards free items first.

The Most Powerful Free Marketing Pushes

In the real world, there are plenty of examples of when free marketing pushes can pay off. For example, free samples are a driving force behind the Costco model of operations. In some cases, free samples can lead to an increase of as much as 500% in sales – consumers can try a new product without risk and find out whether or not they like it.

Free shipping makes a huge difference as well, with big jumps in online sales coming just from adding free shipping. In fact, it’s one of the most successful ways to turn free into steady conversions in most cases.

But not everything works like that. Sometimes, free doesn’t lead to conversions.

The Power Of A Single Word

Even the word ‘free’ can increase attention in your company. Gregory Ciotti listed it as one of the most persuasive words in the entire English language, and we can’t disagree – it can help make customers pay attention to you for sure.

On your website and in your personalize ecommerce email marketing for commerce, you need to design copy and campaigns that make the word free work for you. Some things to think about include:

  • Using the words ‘Free Demo” instead of “Get A Demo” lead to an increase in click through rates by about 99%
  • Adding the word free to a sub-headline can increase lead generation by as much as 69%
  • Changing add copy from ‘Shop Online” to “Buy Tax Free” increased click through rates by nearly 50%.
  • Placing “Free Trial” beside a “Buy Now” button boosts signups by 158%.

See what we’re getting at here? The word free is a big motivator for huge numbers of consumers. But there are times when it doesn’t really work that well.

Free CAN Fail You

In fact, there are some cases where versions of ad copy without the word free actually perform better than those with the word. There are some reasons that experts think this is the case including things like:

  • Some consumers are ‘free hounds’ who just snatch up the freebies around the net without ever intending to make a purchase
  • In some cases, consumers already know that you offer something for free, so adding the text doesn’t matter.
  • There’s an assumption that ‘free’ means ‘give me all of your personal info so I can bombard you with useless and annoying emails’

Making free work for you is important, and there are some ways that you can go about doing it. But the first step is simply understanding that despite its power, it’s not always a magic bullet that will instantly net you big results.

Making Free Work For You

So how do you really get the best results from offering something for free? We’ve found a few things that can have a big impact in this.

  • Target the right people. With targeted marketing you’re focusing on getting the attention of people who will actually be interested in what you offer. A big problem with ‘free’ is that people who aren’t even interested in your goods or services will often grab the free item just because it’s free. They’ll never come back and never even try the sample. So be sure that you send out free promos to those who actually matter – your target consumer base.
  • Make the free item stand out. Whether it’s free shipping, a free month of service for buying a year’s subscription, or just a free sample, give them something you can be proud of that represents your company. Don’t just mass order a bunch of cheap stress balls and offer them for free – give them something that will capture their attention and actually convert.
  • Free can often work better when it’s attached to something else – free shipping on orders over a certain threshold or a free item with every purchase of a new product. This doesn’t capture as much attention as outright free products, but it can ensure instant conversions when it does.
  • Showcase your company, your products, and your quality first. Don’t rely on free to get their attention or they could just think that you’re spamming them or that what you offer isn’t of that much value.

Making free work for you matters in a big way, and we can help you turn a ‘free’ concept into big conversion numbers. Contact our team to learn more about how.