Call me old fashioned, but I hold that if something is promised or promoted then it should be free. When something is offered as free, then there is an implied promise that it is absolutely, free – not free if or free when or, one of my least favorites, “Buy one and get one free!” That second item is not “free”, it may be a bonus, or the item can be honestly called, “two for the price of one”, but the second item really has a cost, as both items are half-priced.
Cost is not just about money. Your time can be more valuable than money. We live and breathe in time, not money. No one who is dying ever asks for, “Just one more dollar before I go.”
If you have to do something to get something then an exchange of goods and services has taken place. On social media,and especially now popular on Twitter, under the hashtags of #giveway or #free there are many scams. People are frequently asked to ReTweet (RT) a tweet about a “giveaway” or “free” item in order to qualify for that item. Sometimes this is just for the chance to win an item. This is a scam, not a giveaway. The item is only offered in trade for the service of a RT. Thus the item is earned. It may seem worth a RT for the opportunity to gain the item, but even so, it is a scam. Even if you get the item, the original offer is inherently a lie and hence a scam. Do you want to participate or encourage others to participate in that?
Giving away bonuses is wonderful. I like to give and get bonuses –but a bonus is not a free gift if it is given only if one buys or does something. It is a bonus. Who does not appreciate a good bonus?! Also, who turns down a good twofer, as in two for the price of one? Yet call a twofer “Buy one get one free”, and there is a lie concealed in what could be a good offer.
Perks, rewards and bonuses can all be legitimate and very good deals. These are used with great success via crowd funding sites. I am about to launch my a crowd funding campaign on Indiegogo and have prepared what I considered to be great perks, fantastic opportunities of art, recognition and fun to reward contributors who help me change the world with a brand new vision. On crowd funding sites it is made very clear that there is an exchange made, everything is stated and the terms as clear.
Elsewhere, on blogs, and in books and training programs that unsuspecting people buy, marketers are busily teaching otherwise honest people how to scam in ways that at first seem legitimate. One idea is to give something digital away for free in order to gain the prospect’s email. This is called “permission marketing”. A favorite thing to give away in order to get someone’s email is an e book. If the e book is offered in exchange for an email address the deal is not a scam. However if the e book of digital download is offered as free, and all one needs to do if give a email address so that it can be sent, the deal is a scam and a lie, even if the item is a good one.
It is now easy to freely giveaway a free ebook without asking the recipient for their email address. If a person wants one of my free e books, it is as easy as clicking on a link. Then another window opens and the PDF, or zipped EPub or Kindle file is there to immediately download. This may be considered awful marketing by some marketers; yet, when I say my prayers my conscience is clear in relation to my free ebook giveaway. You can see my method in action, and even download a free e book in the format of your choice at http://artofseeingthedivine.com/booklet.htm. Just click on a link for your preferred format for e books and watch how easy (and free) this instantaneous method is!
This blog was “inspired” by a tweet from an author who I had followed. He is a new author and who has self-published a kind of self-help or inspirational type of book, which I thought looked interesting. Instead of immediately following me back, he sent me a tweet that said,” Thanks, by following, my e-book “XXXXX” is yours for free. Simply RT to confirm.” Those X’s are where the title of his book was. Now he follows me back. I am glad because he did us all a favor with that tweet, because I truly do not think this person realizes he is involved in a marketing scam. His other stuff is on the up and up, and rather true blue. This is why I am not using his Twitter ID or book’s title to “out” him.
Essentially he wanted me to advertise with a RT for him, which is a form of sponsored tweet since I would be paid with his book. Even sadder is that strongly doubt this author thought up his scheme all by himself. He was taught this dishonest but clever marketing method by a “marketing authority.” He just did not think the ramifications through. There are many other really good people, often creative people who are not business types such as authors or artists who have fallen prey to bad advice from so-called marketing gurus.
Perhaps, my mailing list grows and has people opening my mail because the only place I ask for their email address in exchange for something is for my e-newsletter or the times I have given a free webinar as I need to send information such as phone numbers, links and codes to participants. There is no way to send an email or e-newsletter without an address. Earlier on, when the Internet was younger, people needed email addresses in order to attach digital downloads. This remains a good method for sending paid for digital woks. Yet for e books or other “free” information email addresses are no longer needed.
People are smart. If they get good value and benefit they will come back for more. If you are a member of my list, you know, I do not bombard members with email, but do send news and sometimes freebies or special discounts. Time is valuable.
Having a cleaned conscious may not seem worth making a sale to some people, but there is another compelling reason that when a potential customer or customer is offered a freebie, that it needs to be actually free: trust. Every great and successful brand is trusted. Trust is never really free but it cannot be bought –only earned over time. It goes back to the golden rule, which is the best marketing advice ever: do onto others as you would have them do onto you.
Currently, and running through an upcoming crowd funding campaign, the popular e book is available absolutely for free. If you are reading this prior to the beginning of the campaign, check the top right column on this page for a link to the e book in various formats for the Kindle, iPad and other readers, including PDF, which works universally. Get the book this inspiring book can help change the way you actually see the world, through a revolutionary, new Bible based art, and this may be a fulfillment of prophecy for the end times. Is this for real? See for yourself. Get the book — it is really for free, no stings, or emails requested.