Sure, it’s the most powerful word in advertising, but the effectiveness of the word “free” really depends on what you’re getting. If you’ve ever been to a yard sale and seen a big pile of stuff for free, you know exactly what I mean.
That’s why companies offering “complimentary” visits and “free” consultations do themselves and their product a huge disservice by not reminding customers and clients the value of “free.” If a new customer doesn’t know an hour of your time costs $100 or a product costs $25, are they going to be more responsive or less responsive if they want to make a purchase or retain your services–especially if you just gave it away for nothing?
That’s not to say a free consultation or sample is not a great way to introduce potential customers. Just remember that when you say “free” add some text saying, “ordinarily a $___ value,” or something to that effect. This way you’re still giving something away to lure business, but you’re not devaluing your livelihood either.