09 May 2011

Freebie How-To: Part 1 ~ An Overview

I'm going to do a series of blog posts about free stuff.  The more people I talk to about my free stuff obsession, the more people I find who are surprised that it's even possible to get things for free.  This first post is a general overview of different types of freebies that are available.  Each of these categories will get its own post later on.

1) General free samples
These are the typical free samples that you can get in the mail.  When companies want to promote their products, you can usually get a small sample of the product.  This often also comes with a coupon so that if you decide to buy the product, you can also save money!

2) Free product coupons
Instead of mailing out samples, some companies opt to mail you a coupon good for a free product.  You take the coupon to your local store and redeem it to get your free item.  This saves the companies money (since it is cheaper to mail a coupon than a sample-sized item), and, you get a free full-sized product out of it!

3) Word-of-mouth (WOM) marketing samples
Sometimes, you can get free full-sized products to sample.  These samples often come from word-of-mouth marketing sites.  In exchange for the free product, you are expected to talk about the product to friends and family once you have used it.  The hope is to not only create a new customer out of you, but also out of people you interact with.

4) Instant Win Games (IWG)
Instant win games are one way to get more expensive things for free.  While a lot of IWG come out around holidays, there are always some out there.  While it's not a guarantee that you will win anything, when you do win, the prizes are typically worth a lot more money than anything you can get for free by other means.

5) Facebook/Twitter
Brands have Facebook and Twitter pages as a means of interacting with their consumers.  These brands often provide coupons to their fans/followers, and even will have contests for bigger items from time to time- such as gift cards or product freebies.

6) Hosted Parties
Another vein of websites, similar in a way to WOM, is hosted parties.  Companies provide products for the host (you) as well as samples for your guests and sometimes, activities for your party as well.  Then, you host a party which incorporates the product you are acting as an ambassador for.

7) Free Books
I'm listing this separately from the other types of samples because there are publishers and bookstores that will mail readers new releases for free in exchange for a short review.  These are geared towards both children and adults.  While the options of books to choose from is not always huge, it's a fun way to try something different.

8) In-Store freebies
Occasionally, companies will offer in-store promos where you can go into their store and pick up a free product.  While sometimes you have to purchase something to get the free item, this is not always the case.  There are plenty of times where the item is totally free, no strings attached!

9) Miscellaneous
Other ways to get things for free include calling or writing to companies and asking for coupons or samples, and using coupons while you shop.  This last post of the series will include a variety of other ways that you can easily get things you use often for free (or almost free).

I will probably post this series as 1-2 posts per week for about 6-8 weeks.  Enjoy!

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