FREE Stuff Pays: Lessons From The Grateful Dead

The Optical Journal - Optical News With Independent Views

After listening to another webinair on successful Social Media by small businesses, one of the thing that struck me is all of the 9 examples give away Free Stuff, whether it is information, contests, T-shirts and it works. Why- Because each and every one of likes FREE STUFF. We attend FREE  Webinairs, We go to Vision Expo for FREE Stuff, we buy things with buy one get one, we renew magazine subscriptions for a free gift. Face it, we are into FREE STUFF. I do not know one person who is not attracted to free stuff. And if you are attracted by free stuff, so is your patient.

Being around optical professionals, one of the things we consistently hear about is should you charge for adjustments and screws when the patient has not bought the product from you? Why should you giveaway lens clothes and cleaning solutions, when the patient should buy them? The reality is free stuff pays off. On the internet- tons of ‘free trial contact lenses’ are offered, free eyeglass frames are offered for a LIKE, buy one get one.. the list goes on..

Witness Google- remember the old days that you actually paid for email services (aol.com) . Google took over the market in a very short time by offering free stuff- and more free stuff, and more free stuff. You don’t have to buy a MicroSoft Office program anymore- Google offers spreadsheets, documents, email, trend searches, images, calendar, photos, videos YouTube, finance and so much more- FOR FREE- which is one of the reasons they are the top search engine in the world. Google, by giving away FREE STUFF is considered one of the fastest growing companies in the history of the world, and if you think about it, Google has affected almost everyone.

In his book What Would Google Do? Jeff Jarvis examines how Google built an entirely new open book business culture and free enterprise. I highly recommend this book if you are seeking a direction for your optical office.

Giving Away FREE STuff is not new-

Take the Grateful Dead, that still today is one of the top artists of all time. (#55 and they stopped playing in 1995) How they did it- by giving away FREE STUFF. How they did it- they offered for free, food, lodging, healthcare and music to anyone who came to their concerts. Plus- they allowed free taping and sharing of all their concerts. In fact of the more than 2300 concerts they gave a little over 2200 concert were taped. In fact, (a huge marketing ploy) they actually encouraged the taping of their concerts by setting up a taping section for their fans. The result- a huge cult of Dead Heads, that consistently spread the word about the Grateful Dead- all by giving away FREE STUFF.

What does free stuff do?

  • Encourage customers to make a purchase.
  • Add value to the sale.
  • Enhances customer services
  • Turns maybe’s into sales
  • Help to build mailing lists and email lists.
  • Increase new patients and customers.
  • Keeps your name in sight when you personalize free stuff.
  • Encourages referrals
  • Help you showcase your services.

Moral of this story-Giving away free stuff no matter what you think about it is good for business.