There are many factors to keep in mind when promoting “free” to your consumers. Here are a few points to keep in mind:
Eliminate the barrier of entry
Using the word “free” in marketing or advertising for a product or service lowers the barrier of entry for the consumer to your brand. You often see companies offer free trials with the same goal in mind. The trial periods is a way to grab the attention of those consumers who want to try your product or service and give them a reason to choose you over your competitors. There's no shame in offering a free trial or free sample to kick start your goals.
Provide value for a price
Understand the value of your product and service before you start marketing to your customers. Whether it's your brand, a new product, or a service you are providing, communicate the value and benefit from the very beginning. Educate consumers and customers about how your business can help individuals make their life easier. Why does the customer need your product or service? For example, if you're providing a technology to another small businesses that will boost efficiency and increase sales, you should focus on educating those business owners on the time and money you'll save them.
Focus on what makes you different
In the long-run, your competitive advantage is what will make you stand out among all the “free” offers in your industry. Understand your competitive advantage, communicate your value, and educate your community on how you can help business owners reach their goal. Do your research. Understand what your competitors are offering, how they are marketing the offer, and the intricate details. Sell on the difference and don't be afraid to test new tactics to get potential customers using and ultimately paying for your product or service.
There is a fine line to avoid when using “free” in product development and advertising. Make sure you find the happy medium of disintegrating your brand and growing your business.