Remember a few years back when you found something cool online for free – a book, a report etc.?  As a customer that used to be super cool.  As a marketer, it was a sure-fire way to build a strong customer base.  It has changed though…

Over time, it went from something that was amazing to something that just cluttered your inbox, your mailbox etc. with “stuff.”  The freemiums lost a lot of “wow” factor for customers as everyone started doing it. For marketers, it not only lost the “wow” but it changed from a great way to attract future customers to a great way to attract freebie seekers.  The real customers are just not taking you up on the freebie anymore.  Why?

What started as a way for a good company to offer a good freebie and develop a good customer has been inundated with sleazier, cheaper, lazier companies offering a crappy freebie and making good customers gun shy.  As a result, the good customers are now afraid of freebies because they view them as lame. As usual, the lazy, dishonest folks ruin a good thing.

The upside of these folks destroying the free model, is that they have trained the customer on the value of products/services. What is the next incarnation?  It is likely going to be offering a sample or entry-level product/service at a discounted price. I’m not talking about offering a discount on something crappy – but something of real value. The key will be to charge something.  Yes, you want the value of the discount to be great but putting a price on it will weed out the freebie seekers that have no intention of being customers.

What are your thoughts?  Do you do freebie marketing?  Do you perk up when you see freebies marketed to you?

by Chris Doelle