There are few thrills in life that excite me more than getting something for free. Not only do I love getting freebies, I humbly consider myself an expert at making it happen. I have a large drawer full of things that I have “won” one way or another, from sparkly pink nail polish to a sunscreen stick to a poster of Emma Watson that I will never hang up. (But who cares, it was free!)
I win freebies by entering contests online, providing my e-mail address, clicking “like”, and putting my business card in the “win a free lunch” jar at every restaurant where the opportunity is available. By entering everything, I have to win something—and I do!
One of the best things I won was a $65 bottle of Coach Poppy Flower perfume. I won this perfume by playing a silly ring toss game at a Coach fundraiser party. I have already used this perfume many times, and I especially appreciate it because I probably wouldn’t ever splurge on something like that for myself. Some of my other cool freebies include: a birthday gift every year from Sephora (last year it was a mini makeup kit with mascara, eye shadow and lip gloss and I can’t wait to see what it is this year!), a digital camera from my senior year after-prom party, mini Suave hairsprays that were sent to my sorority house and free panty coupons from Victoria’s Secret. I love it all!
However, it is only fair to disclose that not all of the freebies I have won have been wonderful. Looking back, one of the worst freebies I won was a T-shirt from the American Reunion premier that has a picture of the Red Cross logo and says “Orgasm Donor”. I wouldn’t be caught dead wearing this shirt, but I was still excited to win it! Some of my other slightly lame freebies have included a Ford scarf from the Susan B. Komen Breast Cancer run (which is actually a slice of fabric with an ugly print on it) and a dark goth-black eye/lip stick that would only be suitable for Halloween. I know this doesn’t make sense, but somehow I still felt a sense of accomplishment for winning even the most distasteful items that realistically should belong in a trash can.
I’m not the only one who loves getting a good freebie. According to Crowdtap, 98 percent of people get excited about freebies and 93 percent of people sometimes or often actively search for freebies. Even multi-millionaire celebrities get excited over their Oscars gift bags. This year in the Oscar goodie bags there was: a $135 bottle of hand sanitizer, a $15,000 bottle of fancy Italian Disaronno liquor, jewelry, a coupon for a free safari, cosmetics, and more, totaling a whopping $62,023.26. Admittedly, everything in those Oscar goodie bags were much better prizes than even my beloved Coach Poppy Flower perfume (except maybe the hand sanitizer), but the point is, even celebs who could certainly afford anything and everything in their goodie bags are thrilled with their freebies.
As crazy as it may seem, brands have found that giving away freebies can be even more effective at times than traditional advertising. Freebies entice word of mouth marketing both online and offline—people love to share their excitement over their winnings. Quite simply, the thrill of a freebie is more powerful than anything that can be gotten from a print ad or billboard. But what some brands may not realize is that consumers are more than willing to give brands something in exchange for a freebie. When Crowdtap asked consumers what they would give a brand for a freebie, it found:
- 93 percent of people would give a brand their e-mail address for a freebie
- 90 percent would like the brand on Facebook
- 84 percent would take a survey
- 76 percent would give their home address
- 65 percent would engage in social sharing for the brand
- 63 percent would subscribe to a newsletter
- 53 percent would submit a photo
- 51 percent would check in on Facebook or Foursquare
- 21 percent would submit a video
Because consumers are more than willing to repay brands for a freebie, brands may want to think twice before giving a freebie to consumers for truly no cost at all. Asking for something in return for a freebie may be a great way to generate content.
I confess, winning freebies is one of my favorite hobbies. I love the thrill and excitement of getting an unexpected gift, no matter what it is. I plan on adding items to my drawer full of winnings for years and years to come, and the more exciting the freebie, the more likely you will be to read about it on my social networks.
Written by Natalie Birzer, Product Development Intern