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  • Diana Schneidman

Free is too darned expensive . . .

Or to say it another way, “’Free’ is a four-letter word.”

A fundamental principle in marketing—and in life—is that free is good. We all want free.

Until now.

I am so sick of free that I’m ready to puke. I run from it.

It is too expensive in terms of time and inner peace.

“Free” information was once a gift. Now it is a pain in the rump. Downright repellant.

Here are some of the places I have come to hate it.

The first, of course, is the free giveaway, also called a “taste,” a “pink spoon” (as at Baskin-Robbins), or “ethical bribe.” It is the inducement for signing up for newsletter lists, as well as for buying information products, writing Amazon book reviews, and so much more.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t mind a weekly newsletter. Sometimes it is quite interesting or at least worth a passing glance. But I do mind a veritable flood of newsletters and blog posts.

Then there are “special” events involving scores of gurus, all giving their free gifts and free teleseminars on some life-changing theme. The more that is offered for free, the less I want. If I have to wade through a list of crap and make decisions, I want none of it.

I have also signed up for some email from my political party because I want to be a somewhat involved citizen. However, they turned my email over to candidates from other geographic areas who frequently email me, often asking for money.

The thing is, I have a mild interest in these candidates. I suspect the one who emails me most may be testing the waters for a run as President. I don’t want to halt his emails entirely, I just want less.

One obvious possibility is to cancel almost everything I receive (except for spam—much of it does not provide a link to turn it off). The problem is that I am somewhat interested in what they say, I just don’t want so much of it.

If you read a lot about internet marketing, you may recognize the fundamental issue: if I am not spending money with these people, they don’t care. “Get lost,” they would say. “See if I care.”

However, I do sometimes spend money with my second- or third-tier emailers. Also, even if someone’s message does not resonate with me, I may refer them to a client or friend who is the perfect match with their niche.

As the end of the year approaches, I am seeing predictions for marketing, the Internet, and such for 2015. Three predictions especially repel me:

  1. More video. We’ve been told that video is “good” for promoting our businesses because Google “likes” video. (Coincidentally, Google owns YouTube.) However, that is just the tip of the iceberg. Video is popular for corporate websites because it so darned hard to avoid. You can overlook the ads on web pages, you can turn down audio, but you are pretty stuck with video ads if you want access to “free” content.

  2. Companies will work harder to promote “relationships” with the public via Facebook, websites, etc. Instead of primarily one-way traffic (outbound), they will foster two-way communications.

  3. Companies will gather and analyze more data to understand and profit from their audiences.

I find all three trends depressing.

  1. Video is too time consuming when I can scan written copy in an eighth of the time.

  2. I don’ want a relationship of any type with any company larger than two people (plus support staff), even if they give out coupons and discounts. I am so so sick of surveys!

  3. The big-data trend is the most distressing if I think about it, but at least it’s easy to avoid contemplating it because it happens behind the screen.

Here is my own small contribution to solving the problem:

  1. I publish my newsletter only once a week. If I am tempted to publish more often, I sift through my ideas and choose one.

  2. I under-monetize my business. I earn more money from my freelance research and writing services than from Stand Up 8 Times. But I do welcome you as a client, whether for my book, my one-on-one coaching on how to land more freelance and consulting clients, and public speaking.

I confess, my problem may be laziness, at least in part. Therefore, I may increase my marketing in either of these areas without advance notice.

But for the time being, I enjoy my business as it is. Thank you for your reading and your support.

-Diana


Originally posted 12-15-14

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