Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Does The Word FREE Turn You Off?

Some things just plain puzzle me.

The effect that the word
'FREE' has on some people is one of them.

Now, I've done lots of promotions (and still do fairly often) in my online stores offering free gift with purchase, some more successful than others. And I know that the success of this strategy is completely dependant on the number of people viewing the offer, and are willing to buy. But this particular topic is one I'll save for another day.

What I'm talking about here is offering something totally free, no strings attached, no hidden fees, not even a self-addressed-stamped-envelope.
A few months ago, I posted a Squidoo Lens titled "Find Free Mineral Makeup Samples Online" (www.squidoo.com/freemineralmakeupsamples)- offering a list of companies that offer free (and almost free) samples of their products on their website. Of course, Bellissima is one of them, but there are many other fine companies listed as well. I've twittered about the lens, promoted it on my sites and in listings and tagged it properly for search engine optimization. Not one person has visited it this week!

Another aspect to this is my website, where I promote our free sample offer. We will send 5 free samples to anyone in the US who requests them - totally free of charge. It's mentioned on both the Home Page and on the Contact Us Page, where there's a simple form to fill out (http://www.bellissimamineralmakeup.com/). Now, I know that my site has had over 350 visitors this week and at least 65 have viewed the Contact Us page, however I haven't had one request for free samples!

Statistics tell me that thousands of women are trying mineral makeup for the first time every day. Is it that we're so jaded that we, as consumers, think there's a catch? If it sounds too good to be true, it is? Am I being a bit naive in thinking that by offering free samples, I'm not only getting Bellissima products into the hands of prospective buyers, but I'm also initiating a relationship with my potential customer, establishing a sense of trust and loyalty and promoting a healthy alternative to traditional cosmetics? The phrase 'I can't even give it away' comes to mind. And it's a bit baffling - to say the least! I just can't seem to wrap my head around it.
So tell me, why does the word 'FREE' turn you off?


  1. I'd have to say that it does a bit. It just doesn't seem possible for anyone to get anything free anymore. Even sending away for free samples always means a ton of spam either by email, phone or post mailbox. I typically avoid it all together. I wonder if there was another way you could advertise that - or say that there would be no spamming?? Hmmm...it is ironic though...

  2. i love free! and so do consumers, just look at the 'freemium' culture that is taking off. why dont you shout about it a bit more - its such a good offer it should take pride of place on your website rather than down the bottom of the page....and i know this is silly, but '*'s definately make me think there is a catch - you could have terms and conditions without the * maybe? but i think your free offer is great - and I'll definately have some!

    i know this is really lazy of me...but i say it just cos others might be the same....in order to get the free samples i would have to go back to your webpages and choose the colours - maybe you could have a picture of all the possible colours right next to the form so people can easily see what to choose? c
    laire x


I am incredibly interested in what you have to say - please leave a Comment about what you've read!