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the best things in life are free - are they really?

Updated on September 17, 2012

Freebies can work if done right!

I spent a couple of hours yesterday (Sunday) with my kids at our local leisure centre.

When we arrived we went to pay for our tickets for our swim, only to be told it was FREE as it was family day!

"Fantastic!! " we thought, although I have to admit I instantly had images of a garden swimming pool scene from 'The Simpsons' - hundreds of kids screaming and jumping and landing on top of each other!!

"OK - Just go with it" I thought!

Once we were ready we entered the pool area only to be amazed by how empty the pools were - The baby pool, where I take my youngest, was deserted and the Main Pool, where my older kids swim, had less than 5 people!

I was delighted, as not only was this free, it was also emptier than usual meaning my family could enjoy the swimming even more than usual.

While we were enjoying the swim more people joined but not to the point that it was any busier than the pool can be when paying for the ticket to get in.

Later on an "AQUA ZUMBA" class got under way which I joined as I felt sorry for the instructor. She was giving up her time to do a free class yet there were hardly any people there who wanted to take part..even though many of us clearly needed to make the effort to exercise.

This got me thinking "Why, oh why do people not take advantage of something good when it is free?"

My view is we are a culture so used to and aware of scams or poor service. We feel if we pay for a product or service then we can rightly complain. We are suspicious if someone offers us something for nothing.

"No such thing as a free lunch!" was a saying I grew up on.

Yet online we constantly see offers where if we sign up or purchase a product we are bombarded with details of what we get for FREE in additon to what we buy.

I personally think FREE bonuses can work but only if the lure of your main product offering has captivated the mindset of the customer and your FREE bonuses are relevant and worth reading. Are they?

You may find that no matter how many FREE bonuses you offer, if your copy is poor and irrelevant to what the customer wants, your sales will dwindle and any chance of repeat business will be non existent.

I deliberately failed to mention at the start of this blog the weather yesterday in my home town was awful - pouring rain and it was cold.

This is very likely the main cause of why so few people turned up to take advantage of the FREE swims, FREE classes and FREE everything else on offer!

If like this FREE family day your product can be impacted by external factors - like economic, environmental and worse still - the media then you are in for a struggle to make your product work, depsite all the FREE bonuses on offer!

Be wary of how recession proof your offering is. Yes people love a great deal and when it is free we will usually at least take a second look, however if your "FREEBIES" are struggling to prop up a sub-standard product, which customers must first pay for in order to get the FREE Bonuses, you must revisit and revise the content to turn this around.

My perspective on the family day is different - It totally worked for me - Free swim, happy kids, Free exercise session, happy me!

Did I sign up for the family membership at the end of it all? No!!

Sometimes no matter how GREAT the FREE experience is it still wont make people spend more money.

Be aware of this and please DON'T be disheartened - It's very likely I'll continue to go there with my kids each Sunday and spend my money anyway. In the long run THEY will probably make more money out of me that way!


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