We all like the word ‘Free’, or do we?

25 Sep

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Well….. it all depends on what ‘Free’ actually means. I know I like the word ‘Free’ in everyday life; free food, free entry, free samples, it’s all win:win to me. However, and this is my fancy ‘but’, I never really had the same response to this when it was ‘spamming’ my email inbox numerous times a day. Now ‘Free’ was just annoying me, the internet is full in-factual information and I was more likely to give my bank account details out over the phone to a friendly chap, who only wanted “five minutes of my time”, than I was to believe that the cyber world were showering me with valuables.

This leads me on to an article that I have read debating the question ‘Does the word ‘Free’ affect email deliverability and click-through rates?

And the answer is positive! Apparently ‘Free’ is no longer a dirty word in terms of email marketing and it will still effectively grab your recipient’s attention without raising any red flags within SPAM filters. Still not convinced?? Well the lovely people at HubSpot have put their thinking caps on and tested this for themselves, and admittedly the results were really quite revealing.

So ‘The Test’ involved HubSpot sending out two separate emails. One worded ‘Download the Free Guide’, the other leaving out the word ‘Free’ and evaluated their results under the titles ‘Deliverability Results’, Click-Through Rate Results’ and concluding with their findings, ‘Marketing Takeaways’. Now as someone who is beginning her career in the world of Social Media, HubSpot delivered results without me feeling like I’m drowning in cyber jargon!

To cut a long story short, comparing the two emails within the SPAM world in terms of deliverability, it turns out the results were quite similarly received. The software tools: 1. ‘Return Path, 2. HubSpot identified a hazardless small ‘red flag’ alert with the questionable word ‘Free’, but basically nothing that made a significant difference to how each email compared. So a draw!

Now for the good stuff! The proof in the pudding if you may; the results of the Click- Through Rate’. One email won miles ahead, and this to my surprise was variation B- the email that EXCLUDED the word ‘Free’. Now don’t get me wrong, we all still really like the word ‘Free’, and in certain circumstances we want our instant gratification , but maybe we the subscriber, in particular the subscriber to HubSpot, might just prefer SEO to that all powerful, silver bullet of a word in the marketing world. All in all, it is extremely interesting to see the results of this test. I feel like I should end with a bit of ‘props’ to one of my
favourite words. We like it, we love it sometimes, it’s a nice treat and although it will not affect your email deliverability, it might be best to consider a different word to your savvy audience.

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