In the new economy, how can companies give away so much and still make money?
Today's savvy consumer knows they can surf the web and find just about anything they need to know for FREE. Hit the search engines, and you're off to finding your answers. With traditional media (direct mail, telemarketing, TV) it used to be, give away a watch, backpack, or DVD FREE with a paid offer. Now more and more dollars are being diverted to "getting mindshare"--getting prospects/customers to your online presence... engaging them with free content and a community experience, and then presenting them with your premium offer.
Here's a perfect example:
Comedy's legendary Monty Python members--you know, "I'm a lumberjack and I'm OK," the Killer Rabbit, the Dead Parrot ---were tired of seeing their legendary sketches pirated and posted on YouTube, free to whoever wanted a quick laugh. So they posted their own, higher-quality versions on YouTube--also free--but let fans know that complete DVD versions were available for purchase. As a result, sales rose 23,000 percent!
There are many examples of how companies are monetizing "free" in Chris Anderson's new book, Free: The Future of a Radical Price (Hyperion, $26.99). According to Anderson, "people are making lots of money charging nothing. Not nothing for everything, but nothing for enough that we essentially created a country-sized economy around the price of $0.00.
Bottom-line: Allure your prospects/customers with the right price ($0.00); get them to embrace your brand with helpful tips, customer forums, etc. and soon their mindshare will turn into walletshare.