click tracking

How to Use ‘Free’ to Your Advantage

There’s a huge difference between marketing a service as ‘free’ and marketing it as ‘premium’ with a free incentive. Never underestimate the negative connotations that ‘free’ has on the anticipated quality of service.

As marketers, we tend to assume that free is always a good thing. And so our landing pages are plastered in free registrations, free bonuses and free instant access.

The worst offending affiliates will explain that something is free before explaining what it actually does. They sell the $0 before the product!

Does that make sense to you? It doesn’t to me.

A lot of items are free in this world.

I could run outside and steal my neighbour’s garbage. That’s free.

I could spend £20 at Pizza Hut and get some free BBQ wings. But will I? Probably not. I don’t like wings.

Unless you establish a real desire to attain what is being offered for free, free does not sell.

So, why do affiliates continue to worship the supposed ‘benefit’ that X costs $0, when the user could barely give a shite about ‘free’. He doesn’t want free. He wants a good deal.

Note: Hey, at least they’re selling it as a benefit rather than a feature. Otherwise we really would be shooting basic psychology in the balls.

Free only becomes a powerful asset in your sales copy after the user has established “what I think X is worth to me“. And not a moment before.

This is where so many get it wrong. They never allow that worth to be established.

You have to establish value to create desire.

Here’s an example for a dating offer I posted on the Stack That Money Forum last week (sign up!)…

Meet the finest men in New York City for just $37/month*
Sign up in the next 15 minutes for an exclusive FREE peek at our men

*Most of our women only pay $37 once. Don’t be surprised if you find the man of your dreams before your trial membership expires. Yep, it sucks for us, but it’s unmissable value for you. This is your last chance to sign up free, so hurry!

Instead of taking the angle that the offer is free and therefore unmissable, it’s much more powerful to ask probing questions of the user’s own valuation system.

To put it more bluntly, here’s the thought sequence that we’re dictating…

  1. The service is not free.
  2. It must be a quality service.
  3. Women are paying $37 to find love in their first 30 days.
  4. Would I pay $37 if it meant finding love?

Most women are going to answer yes to this dream scenario.

Now that we’ve created an anchor where the possibility of finding love is worth at least $37 (in the user’s own head, where all effective anchors reside), we can drop our bombshell.

Hold on, If I sign up in the ‘next 15 minutes’… I don’t have to pay a penny? But what about all those women paying $37/month?

We’ve already established $37 as a bargain price. Now we’re hitting our target with a simply unmissable deal (free instant access!) compounded by the scarcity of time.

Act in the next 15 minutes or an exclusive peek at a premium service is gone forever.

There are many affiliate offers that use free incentives to attract sign-ups, and we are more than happy to oblige when it comes to making those incentives our number one selling points.

It’s amateur. We should be embarrassed.

The word ‘free’ should never appear in a landing page headline.

Our role is to establish a desire that is worth much more than any free service can provide.

Once we’ve created that desire, ‘free’ is the sucker punch that seals a knife-edge deal. It should never be the primary selling point.

Remember: Marketing always leads back to selling something – it wouldn’t exist if we only dealt in freebies.

Recommended This Week

  • If you haven’t downloaded it already, make sure you grab a copy of my freshly brewed Affiliate Marketer’s Survival Kit (add your email below for access). It’s 50 pages of up-to-the-second info on what currently works in affiliate marketing.

  • Be sure to check out Adsimilis, the official sponsor of Premium Posts Volume 5. Adsimilis is one of the most effective networks in the world for a CPA marketer to sink his teeth in to. They are particularly dominant in the dating vertical, with industry leading payouts. If you are a dating affiliate, you need to be on Adsimilis. Simples.

Want to master affiliate marketing?
Finch's Best Tips...
Subscribe to Finch's quarterly newsletter and receive a 40-page preview of Premium Posts (*Instant Download*): the industry's most complete guide to affiliate marketing.

About the author


Hi, I’m Finch. A 26 year old high school dropout (slash academic failure) who makes a lot of money from the Internet.


Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Copyright © 2014.