Who said nothing is for free?

Written By: Nicole Seekely

So many people wonder how companies can
afford to give away freebies. I received 250
business cards for free the other day and my
friends couldn’t understand how I got so much
free stuff. I said, “You just fill out a
survey and they send you something.” But
there’s much more to it than that.
One of the main reasons companies give
out free samples is to give customers an
incentive to go to their site. Often times,
users will buy additional items if they’re on
sale. Giving out freebies is not only a
cost effective way of promotion but also
can be a viral marketing strategy since most
people who request the freebie tell their
friends about it, who tell their friends about
it, etc.
Still, giving away free offers can create
a major dent in the company’s budget. Some
businesses offset the price of the freebie by
having sponsors. There are many ways to go
about this. Many have co-registration
checkmarks on the form, or request the person’s
e-mail address to keep them updated on new
It’s important to keep the cost of the
freebies down even if there are sponsors.
Generally, freebies are .50 cents to a dollar,
but it depends on the kind of arrangement each
company has with the post service.
Another big reason companies offer free
samples is to get return customers. Giving
away freebies is a great way to generate trial
and awareness. Obviously, if a user receives a
product in the mail, tries it, and likes it,
they’re going to probably buy it next time
they see it in the grocery store or online.
Normally companies expect 10 percent of
consumers to redeem a coupon. For freebies,
the request or return rate is often higher.
When asked about the kind of feedback
they get, some companies said they generally
see an increase in the response rate from 5
to 50 percent. Some days there are lots of
requests, and other days it’s steady. It all
depends on who finds out bout the freebie.
If the publisher of a large newsletter hears
about an offer, a company can expect more
requests than usual if they publish the
offer in their newsletter.
There are also other reasons or ways of
offering freebies. One company, Girl Power!
(health.org/gpower) is a national education
campaign that was developed and supported
by the U.S. Department of Health and Human
Services. They are able to give free
materials because the government recognizes
that those items are good for the health of
the people in America. There are a lot of
other U.S. Government organizations that
provide free materials.
Lastly, most companies that give away
freebies don’t anticipate the high response
rate that they receive; therefore a lot of
times they can’t afford to give away all of
their freebies. Freebie hunters can help
this by only requesting freebies they are
really interested in. Also, freebie hunters
use unethical practices such as giving out
wrong e-mail addresses, or other information
which is what helps the marketer afford to
give out freebies. If you don’t want to be
added to someone’s mailing list, then don’t
request the freebie.

About the Author

Nicole Seekely is the publisher of The Panda
Pages weekly e-zine. You can contact her at
gymaholic7@pandapages.f2s.com Also, visit her
website at http://www.pandapages.f2s.com for
freebies, cool sites, and more. To
subscribe to her e-zine send an e-mail to

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