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Free (Usually) Isn't Worth It

Bringing new clients in the door is and always will be critical to the success of your business. An introductory offer is always alluring to newcomers, if the price is right. But offering your services for free often backfires.

Why not free?

Everyone loves free service. But that’s precisely the problem: a free offer attracts too many people, and the majority won’t stick around once they need to pay. Investing a lot of time and attention into someone who has no intention of becoming a client is not worth it.

How to price your introductory offer

The best intro offers are the ones that find a sweet spot. It should be cheap enough to be a good deal, but not so cheap that it attracts people who won’t pay for your services at the normal price.

About 50% off your normal price is a good place to start, maybe a little lower if you’re a new business, maybe a little higher if you’re already well-established with a loyal client base.

The offer also needs to last long enough to make coming to your business a habit, so the upsell feels like a natural progression. Often, a month is just right. And if you’re class-based, make sure the intro offer is a better deal than your drop-in rate.

When free actually is worth it

If you offer a service where an initial consultation is essential to gauge where the client is (e.g., personal training, music lessons, chiropractics), it makes sense to make their first visit free. Similarly, if you offer a service that is relatively unfamiliar to your market (e.g., acupuncture, Ayurveda, reflexology), a free first visit may help a new client dispel any misconceptions or fears about what you do.

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