This reached the point that close friends were questioning my business model and how do I intend to survive with such method.
Of course, through the years, that free prize business model has refined and by experience, it really works especially when it is something valuable. Some of these includes:
- Free attendance, drinks, food, and raffle items to DigitalFilipino.com get togethers and networking events. If I recall correctly, I've organized 4 to 5 big ones held in venues like AIM Acceed and National Sports Grill in Manila. Have organized similar activities in Cebu City, Davao City, Zamboanga City, Tacloban City, Legaspi City, Virac Catanduanes, Cagayan De Oro City, among others. These activities were key in boosting the growth of the mailing list community and got sponsors some exposure as well.
- Free reports and presentation files
- Free e-learning lessons (e-books)
However, not all free prizes are repeatable. Their relevance is dependent on the time it was given and what were the wants (rather than needs) of the target audience then.
I just finished reading the book Free Prize Inside by Seth Godin. I agree that ideas need to be cheaper to build and faster to market. This is why giving free e-learning lessons, such as the e-commerce workshop online at that time, came in handy as the offering can already be given while the materials are still being developed.
It also satisfied a lot of those who joined then that got them to refer the program to other folks. Some even forwarded the lessons that were sent through e-mail. This success led to the DigitalFilipino.com Club and publication of my 2nd book.
I created three more similar programs although the quality of work and time spent in building is not the same as the first one. As a result, the benefits that was hope to be gained was not realized.
But those that didn't work out should not stop people like us from creating new free prize innovations that can generate valuable long term results.