How do you guarantee something that’s free?

June 28, 2010 by Dean Rieck
Filed under: Ask Dean 

Ask copywriter Dean Rieck!I get a lot of questions from readers of this blog. So I’ve decided to start an occasional feature called “Ask Dean.”

First up, a question from Joseph about guarantees. Specifically, how do you guarantee a free product?

Hi. I just read your article about offering guarantees to allay customers’ doubts about purchasing products. The article was great. However, I have a question: how would this relate to a company that offers their product for free?

I volunteer with a non-profit organization that gives away study Bibles for free. When people order these Bibles, they have certain doubts that have to be answered before they will order the Bible, even though the Bible is free.

Is there any kind of similar “guarantee” that can be offered to people when a product is free?

Thanks for any help.

Joseph

That’s a great question. No one has ever asked me that before.

What’s interesting about this is that guarantees generally offer money back. They assure people that there is no financial risk so they are more likely to buy something.

So if the thing you’re offering is free, do you need a guarantee and how would it work?

While guarantees are almost always applied to financial transactions, there’s no reason to restrict it to that. Any time a prospect needs assurance, you can write a guarantee to address his or her worries.

Or another way to say it is, a guarantee helps to reduce “perceived risk.” If you’re giving away a Bible, there is no financial risk, but there may still be perceived risks, such as “Am I going to get on a mailing list?” “Is this a scam?” “Are people going to show up at my door?”

When you offer something free, people always wonder why. What’s in it for you? What’s the catch?

So let’s write a quick guarantee for the free Bibles:

Our “No Catch” Free Bible Guarantee

We offer this new Bible to you free of charge. Why? Because our mission is to spread the word of God and help you find the peace and happiness you deserve in this life and the next. This mission is funded solely by donations, not by sales. There is no catch, no cost, and no obligation. Order your Free Bible today.

Joseph may want to massage that copy a bit, but it’s headed in the right direction. And it’s a good example of how to guarantee a free product.

Notice that there is no “if” here. A normal guarantee would say, “Here’s what we promise and here’s what we’ll do if you feel we don’t deliver on that promise.” But since there’s no transaction, there’s no practical answer to the if.

This guarantee is really more of an assurance in guarantee form. Simply decide what the concerns are and write the guarantee to address them.

What do you think about this? If Joseph were your client, how would you write the guarantee? Would you use other language, such as a “promise” or an “assurance” instead?

Got a question? Use my contact form and ask me.

Related posts:

  1. How to write a powerful, response-boosting guarantee

>>> Subscribe to blog by RSS or E-mail

Smart Comments

4 Comments on How do you guarantee something that’s free?

    [...] How do you guarantee something that’s free? Published: June 28, 2010 Source: Pro Copy Tips I get a lot of questions from readers of this blog. So I’ve decided to start an occasional feature called “Ask Dean.” First up, a question from Joseph about guarantees. Specifically, how do you guarantee… [...]

  1. Joseph on Jul 15th, 2010 10:43 pm
  2. Dean,

    Thanks for answering this question. The post was really helpful.

    Joseph

  3. Dean Rieck on Jul 15th, 2010 11:40 pm
  4. Joseph,
    Thanks for asking this question. Just goes to show that there’s always something to think about in marketing.

    [...] in a post where I talked about writing a freelancing book, I got an interesting [...]