Right before I was getting ready to leave for the Jelly Belly Factory tour in Fairfield, CA the other day, I was having a discussion with another marketer about the misconception a lot of people have about "freebie seekers" and in general the bad rap that "Free ANYTHING" has been getting lately in Internet Marketing circles.

Coincidentally, as the day progressed, my position on this subject was reinforced magnificently and like all good marketers I spent most of the tour pondering the techniques that were being used on me (quite successfully I might add) and thinking about writing this very blog post about it when I returned home.

First, before we move one step further together – understand the following:

1. I don't even like jelly beans all that much!
2. Using freebies in marketing is not new – it's been around since the dawn of time
3. There are 2 sides to the "free" debate – and together we'll address them both today

So let's get started…

At the moment, we are hanging out in the motorhome just north of the Bay area in Vacaville, California, and availing ourselves to a multitude of tourist activities, recreational activities, county fairs, amusement parks, water parks and wildlife adventures. And my bank account and I are here to tell you that NOTHING is free in this state!

Except maybe the air and the infamous Jelly Belly Factory Tour.

Yep – the tour is "free" and that's why Jelly Belly now has approximately $110 of our money – both from my purchases and Marina & Morgan making purchases with their own money.

So if you think that's a lot of jelly beans – let's look at how the "free" tour unfolded… (note the marketing techniques in bold CAPS)

First – we all lined up for the green screen photo (PERSONALIZATION) and were told we'd get to see our photos at the end of the tour (SUSPENSE). And of course, we had no idea what the green screen would be replaced with – so we had to make sure we at least took a look, right? (MORE SUSPENSE) And at a minimum – we'd want to see how cute and/or dorky our loved ones looked in the funky factory hats we'd been issued (EMOTIONAL ATTACHMENT). But no worries if we didn't want them, they'd be discarded after the tour (OTO).

Next we were led down a series of catwalks above each area of the factory where we got to see not only the live action, (FASCINATION) but were also strategically placed in front of monitors that enhanced our learning of the goings on below (VIDEO TRAINING). And at each stop of the tour we were given a sample jelly bean (FREEBIE)… but not just any jelly bean!

The first sample was a "Limited Edition," (SCARCITY) that was only seasonally available and yes, "for sale now in the gift shop at the end of the tour." (URGENCY). Next was a sample of one from their "Gross and Nasty" line. So, let's see… you let me try a toothpaste flavored jelly bean, but tell me there's dog food and buttered popcorn to sample in the gift shop? Yep – you got my attention (LIST BAIT)!

And for the lady standing behind me that dug in her heals during the first round of samples, and loudly stated, "No thanks, I don't like jelly beans," this time around, the tour guide came armed with a sample of chocolate covered raisins for her and she was hooked! (CROSS SELL)

Around the next catwalk was a wall lined with charming and touching letters in frames from around the world – people relating stories of how they proposed and nested a wedding ring in a bowl of jelly beans, and how a fund raiser resulted in thousands of dollars toward an ill child's last wish (SOCIAL PROOF).

Meanwhile, on the video monitor a promo was running describing their latest "pick the next flavor" contest (COMPETITIVE NATURE) and telling the locals to be sure and check out the special flavors that had been created especially for all the local schools' graduating class of 2010 with a % of the proceeds going to each school (TEAM SPIRIT & CHARITABLE GIVING).

And last but not least – our tour guide asked… "What do you think happens to the jelly beans that fall on the floor?" Well, ya got me!

And who would have ever suspected that they give them to local pig farmers as food for some nutritional purpose I didn't quite catch (HUMOR, PHILANTHROPY, RE-PURPOSING CONTENT – TAKE YOUR PICK LOL)

And speaking of re-purposing content – guess what happens to the "2nds?" – the duds that don't pass quality inspection otherwise known as "Belly Flops?" LOL – They get packed and sold in bulk down in the, drumroll… gift shop!

So with the tour being over – I lined up with the rest of the crowd to see our photos – and you guessed it – I HAD to have the photo to commemorate the day (if nothing else, the $30 bucks was worth it to have fun showing you the pic of me in the goofy hat at the beginning of this post!) and besides, I got a FREE magnetic photo frame with my purchase (FAST ACTION BONUS).

But our marketing adventure (um, "free tour") was not over…

We descended the stairs to the gift shop where low and behold – the first thing we saw was the "Free" SAMPLE bar. Here we could try everything that caught our attention from the tour and then some!

And because I was still thinking about the lady behind me that got the chocolate sample – I headed straight to the bar for MY free chocolate sample. And yes, before all was said and done, I left with a hearty bag of chocolate covered everything! – resulting in extracting another $10 from my wallet. (UPSELL)

Next, I eyed these cute little empty buckets with the Jelly Belly logo that were calling my name (BRANDING). I grabbed two and gave one each to Marina and Morgan and told them to go have a field day as they dispensed a little of this and a little of that from hundreds of flavors to create their own special mix (CUSTOMIZATION) – much more compelling than ANY pre-packaged assortment, for sure!

And to round it all out – Morgan's been looking for a new ball for the playground and what better memento was the one she spotted that was emblazoned with the Jelly Belly logo (MORE BRANDING).

ANALYSIS & ASSESSMENT:

I'm sure you can see from above, that none of these techniques are new or represent any smoking gun I'm revealing – but do you see how particularly well they were done? And do you also see them represented in places you go and things you do on a daily basis in the offline world as well? And how often have one of these successfully worked on you?

Yep – marketing at its finest! (Remember that the next time an OTO ticks you off :-) )

Now, I mentioned that I was going to address both sides of the "free" issue – that is, one as the marketer offering the free gift and the second as the recipient of the free gift.

A. MARKETERS BEARING GIFTS (aka – building a list of "freebie seekers") – Every time I hear a marketer say, "I don't want to build a list of freebie seekers" I shake my head.

How short sighted it is to think that someone who accepts something for free doesn't also pull out his/her wallet when something is compelling or satisfies a need.

I do it, you do it and so too will your list! (Unless of course you are not offering anything compelling, right? Hmmmm?)

If you are a marketer who turns up their nose at ad swaps, giveaway events, and other similar techniques that WILL build a viable list for you – then I'm here to tell you point blank that you are leaving money on the table!

And if you want to argue with me that you are making no money giving away products for free – I'm here to tell you that you are not properly structuring your funnel. It's not the technique that's faulty, it's your execution. FYI – the "technique" is older than dirt, has stood the test of time, and is going no where anytime soon!

I guarantee if this is your position and I analyze your free offer… I'll discover that you aren't monetizing your back end, creating cross sells with residual programs or developing a rapport with your list (especially if you degrade them by labeling them "freebie seekers" in the first place.)

I'm one of those "freebie seekers," myself – and believe me – I've spent money a time or to and I'm EXACTLY the type of "freebie seeker" you want on your list!

B. RECIPIENTS OF FREE GIFTS – All free offers are not created equal, but… one thing I will guarantee is this:

Nothing FREE or paid is worth a hill of beans if you don't USE IT!
(That includes, but is not limited to opening it, watching it, or
doing anything with it other than putting it in a folder on your desktop
and hoping it will make you rich by electronic osmosis.)

Yes, there are some so-called marketers who are putting out junk – no dispute from me there.

But I am living proof that not all free gifts are junk – my free offers are some of the highest touted products online and I have a testimonial file from hundreds that have actually put my free offers to use and, yes… made money with them! So too are the free gifts that I send to my subscribers from my colleagues.

But my inbox is also filled with people who complain that xyz offer or abc video didn't do a thing for them and therefore conclude that everything offered for free is as useless as the marketer giving it away. 

But you know what? When I ask them point blank if they read it (or watched it) the resounding reply I get after a lot of shuffing, is:

"Well, no, I kinda didn't, um, hm, I never really read it or followed the system."

Well – duh!

Or the other thing I get is… "Well, that system might work for him/her, but I have not interest in doing xyz."

Double duh!

Listen… not every system is right for every person! Not every free gift is something you'll resonate with. And there's nothing wrong with that in the least!

You don't go to Wal-Mart and buy everything on every shelf in the store – you pick and choose wisely, taking home the things you need that fit your budget, lifestyle and desires.

As a marketer, my list is comprised of people from all walks of life and who have a multitude of aspirations – my job (just like the Wal-marts of the world) is to present them to you and allow you the opportunity to be selective. I no more think that you are going to buy every product I offer than I think that you are going to be a perfect fit for every free gift that I send your way.

I want you to develop a discerning entrepreneurial "palate" – not just open wide and let me stuff any old thing down your throat.

But by the same token, I am urging you to at least be open to taking a look and finding the gem that lights up your lights. The one thing that will make a difference in your life forever!

And if you don't at least be open to trying it – then you and I both will NEVER know, will we?

For example, right now, I am in the middle of two promotions for two vastly different offers:

http://infiniteevolutioncenter.com/endorses/ssv

and

http://infiniteevolutioncenter.com/endorses/endtrickery

… One of the above is a free gift that includes live training (if you hurry) and I've previewed it, and learned 3 techniques to use with my marketing that I never before had even known about! Isn't that worthy of a glance?

… And the other one above is something I use all the time and has made me thousands each month!

But the only way you are EVER going to realize the same benefits as me from the gifts above, is if you join me in being a "freebie seeking Jelly Belly mamma" and taste the latest flavor I'm giving you for free!

If you don't like it – spit it out and move on to the next flavor!

If you love it, buy more and start your own empire today!

Either way, PLEASE share your comments below and add value to the "Free In NOT The New F-Word" debate!

To Your Infinite Evolution!
Stephanie

 

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