Photo by Khara Woods on Unsplash
Nothing comes for free, especially online. But where most free comes with a huge cost, there is still some kind of free that is really free. Recognising and appreciating this is not only sexy, it also can benefit your brand.
You cant find almost everything for "free" online. The websites you use, news, email, software. Most of the time this free comes with a cost. For example the cost of personal data. By using a product you provide usage data that a company then again can use to monetize trough ads or even by selling that data.
Sometimes free is a marketing method to lure someone into a product with limited functions in the hope they will pay later for the full product, or charge for add-ons within the product. An ancient psychological sales-trick that is called "foot in the door technique"
A second group of free items come from artists, developers and writers that do not want any usage data or money. They have many other motivations to offer their work for free. Some of them are recognition, exposure or just to help others. Most of these artists ask you to "buy a beer" (donate) or simply link to them when you use their digital goods or services.
As a company that creates software, sites and creatives we often use free products. And we make money out of these. Directly or indirectly. A year ago we decided to try to link or donate when it was asked. We felt this was the right thing to do. Not always this was possible and sometimes, when working for clients, it was something they asked not to do.
After doing this for a while we also got appreciation back. Not just by kind messages and emails. But when those artists reach their goal of exposure or recognition, they will help your brand reach your goals too. We received back-links, articles, full sets of creatives and more... for free.
We are proud to link to the artist that help us build our brand, and our clients'. We donate to help free software we use to build our products and we build free plugins for the community to use.
Attribution is sexy, donating too. Especially this year, where a virus makes the lives of millions of artists difficult. This is what we can do and we will continue doing it. Do you create digital goods or services for free, and want other to use it? contact us.