Do you remember the Disney classic The Jungle Book?
In that movie the snake, KAA, sang a song entitled "Trust in me." While singing he was hypnotizing the young boy, Mowgli, while preparing to squeeze out the boy's last breath.
Do you ever feel that way when you read a headline or marketing campaign – particularly one that includes the word FREE?
Call me cynical, many do, but when I read a headline that offers me something free, I immediately think, what's the catch.
In the optical industry, where I worked for almost two decades, we would frequently offer Buy One Get One FREE.
Some companies would offer a very limited selection from which to select your FREE pair. You could, of course, pay a little extra for a better frame, pay a little extra for tinting or scratch coating or no-line. It invariably ended up being ANYTHING BUT free.
Today on John's blog Duct Tape Marketing,, "Free is Just Too Expense" he talks about using the word free in advertising.
Consumers have become jaded and fail to believe that when you say FREE you mean free.
The only way people will believe Free means Free is if you have built TRUST with the consumer.
It comes back to the fact that to successfully sell to your customers you must first build a relationship. People don't buy or at least don't repeat buy because of a catchy headline in which you have used the word FREE. They buy and they refer because you have taken the time to understand their needs and find a way to meet those needs.
When does FREE really mean free?
How have you used it successfully? Where have you seen it abused?