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ChangingMinds Blog! > Blog Archive > 05-Oct-12


Friday 05-October-12

 Valuable giveaways

One of the ways of persuading people is to give them something for free. Because then the exchange principle says they are obliged to do something for you in return. In fact you can ask for something worth much more than the value of your 'gift'.

A typical way this happens is when people give you something on the street (such as a flower) and then ask for a 'donation' in return (or even somehow convert a gift into a flat-price sale). Charities (and others) have picked up on this and begging letters that come through your door may well include a free pen. Hey, look, you can even use it to fill in the donation form.

Another, different way this principle is used appeared through my door this week. I subscribe to a monthly computer (PC Advisor). I started years ago with a 'free trial' offer and am still suckered in. It's ok really as I use the magazine to keep up with what's new in the marketplace.

Anyway, let's get to the point. The magazine comes with a free DVD full of trial software. This month, however, it was very slightly different. In the top right corner was an orange triangle (grabs the eye) with the words 'DVD worth ?117' in it. The magazine has always had other monetary value statements and this was no different with a black circle lower down with 'free full program worth ?35' marking a bit of utility software.

But I've always pretty much ignored the ?35 sign and usually quickly scan it for anything useful and throw it away if not. But this time I hesitated and put it on the table next to me. Why was this?

Apart from the more attractive use of colour (orange rather than red), the ?117 sign breaks the ?100 barrier, at which I start to think 'hey, that's a lot of money'. Throwing it away hence seems like throwing away lots of money. So if I leave it there, I am more likely to install the 'free' programs. Which actually are mostly things like a 'three month trial'. And before long, I could get sucked in, just as I was when 'trying out' the magazine, many years ago.

Hmm. Excuse me a minute. ... There. I have now put temptation firmly in the bin!

Your comments

This is a great tactic that some businesses use to get more customers. Especially the free trial offer, because once you try it, you are more likely to end up purchasing it in the end. Ideas like this are great ways to advertise and market what your company offers. You never know what will get people hooked on your item!

-- Rebecca P

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