Few words are more powerful in the English language than ‘Free’. In Conversion based marketing, it’s the foundation of most efforts. After all, offering something for free is a great way to make sure that clients or customers pay attention to your business and what you offer them. In fact, it’s so effective that people will choose free over a more cost-effective option.
For instance, in a study done recently, people were offered the choice between a $20 gift card that they purchased for $7 or a $10 card they bought for free. They chose the free one even though the other was a more valuable overall choice. The reason? Simple – it was free.
But are you really making ‘free’ work for you and your company? Or are you chasing down conversions by shouting out the word without really gaining the kind of business you could from it? In some cases, free can be a major drawback.
The Overlooked Problems With “Free”
There are a few key reasons that free isn’t always better, and taking a closer look at them can help you understand just why some approaches with it as the foundation will fail. Consider the following.
- Quality assurance isn’t usually related to the word free in the minds of the consumer. In other words, they assume that when you say ‘free’, you’re really saying ‘junk’. You’ll have to build your brand identity to ensure that people know you’re offering quality along with something for free.
- On the exact opposite side of that coin is the fact that people will often choose something for free instead of something of a higher value at a low cost. That gift card example above is what we’re talking about here, but the same book references a study involving chocolates, where a free Hershey Kiss was chosen 69% of the time compared to 31% of the time when offered a Lindor Truffle at a dramatically reduced cost. The truffle is a higher quality, and that’s a steep discount, but people still went with free.
- The other issue that many marketers have with free promotions is that they don’t’ really offer anything that is indicative of their company or that customers would actually want. The point of conversion marketing is to gain the attention and trust of a customer, and if you’re giving them something they’re not interested in they aren’t going to pay attention to you.
So what works? We’ve found a few key things will stand out as good examples of getting the attention that your business needs to drive up sales.
This is one of the most powerful conversion tools online. People love free shipping. In fact, companies have increased their AOV by as much as 7.32% by using free shipping. Want another surprising statistic? 28% of online shopping cart abandonment comes from one thing: unexpected shipping charges. There’s a reason Amazon’s Prime accounts are so popular – that free shipping that each member gets.
In short, if you want to really get the attention of shoppers, offer them free shipping. It doesn’t have to be company-wide, either. Using ecommerce email marketing software is a perfect way to offer free shipping codes or coupons to customers to get them to see what your company offers, or to attract a past customer back to your business.
This is another major source of conversions if you know what you’re doing. A recent study found that in some cases retailers can boost their sales by using samples by as much as 2,000%. That’s not a typo – it’s a clear sign that samples can work. But how do they work? The key to remember here is that samples are best used to help people decide to buy something they wouldn’t have normally purchased.
For instance, if someone is visiting your store for a specific product, you could help them see or gain an interest in something else by offering them a sample. Offering them a sample of the product they’re already visiting for isn’t going to make an impact – but showing them something else they might like could boost your sales almost instantly.
The Visibility Factor
Are you ready for a big surprise? Many sites that actually offer something for free don’t always make it obvious. Online copy alone can be a big issue. For example – a buy now button isn’t as effective as a ‘free trial’ button. In fact, making that one change boosting trial signups by 158% for an online company. Changing a copy from ‘shop online’ to ‘buy tax free’ boosted click through rates by nearly 50% for another business.
What does that mean? Essentially, that you always need to make it obvious that you’re offering something for free, and that you make sure they know it.
Strategizing Your Email Efforts With “Free”
So how can you really generate better conversions in your email marketing efforts? In a nutshell, it just comes down to offering something for free that customers will really want. Using email marketing personalization software to send out targeted emails has always been part of effective marketing, and you can go beyond targeted messages or personalized product recommendations.
- Start by making sure you showcase the ‘free’ in the subject line. Something as simple as “Free Shipping for You for 24 Hours” can capture a sense of immediacy and get their attention.
- Offer free products they’ll care about. Good email marketing personalization software lets you send out emails based on past shopping habits, so know what your customers might be interested in when you send them any messages. This way you can showcase new products that could translate into more sales.
All in all, free will likely always remain one of the most important conversion tools in your wheelhouse. But knowing how to use it effectively and understanding how to get the most from it is something that more people need to master. We can help, and our team can show you how to add ‘free’ into your email marketing plan to get even better results. Contact us now to find out more.