Using The Word FREE In Advertising – Use It or Not?

Should you use the word FREE in your advertising ads? The word FREE used to be a proven age old tactic that drove in the sales, but Americans have gotten used to it.

The word FREE…

  • Brings in the garbage customers
  • Places a 0% value on what you are offering (unless there is a very good value proposition)

Garbage customers are time wasters, not only does it bring in people who want something for nothing but the customers who want something for nothing are more likely to waste yours or your salespersons time, energy and money.

My Story With The Word FREE In Google Ads

I was doing Google Ads for a major automotive company, we spent over $100k per day on ad spend. Using the word ‘FREE’ to lure people in was actually approved somehow as a snippet text. We said ‘Free Local Offers’… it looked like a HUGE success. We had leads out the yin yang. Unfortunately, it took 3 months of the leads circulating the system to discover the leads were crap. It took that many more months to weed out the word and restore quality to the lead-gen process. The damage the word caused, reduced the sales of the people we were generating the leads for, caused salespeople to lose time, money and even some jobs. I disagreed with the usage, and knew it might happen, but it was a nice expensive lesson. – Thomas

If you run a business based on quality, you need to stay far away from the word FREE.

Benefits of Having A Value Proposition

The word free when used in conjunction with a good value proposition is sometimes acceptable. For example ‘It’s a $50 book and we are giving it away for FREE’. Or in this article by Neil Patel, he mentions how Costco uses FREE samples to get customers to buy.

A word from Neil Patel On Using The Word Free….

Free is awesome.

Use it. Say it. Do it. Offer it. Love it.

However, don’t let things get out of control. When free spirals into a free-for-all of cheesy marketing messages, unvalidated value, and unproven claims, you begin to lose credibility.

Use free the right way.