It has been accepted wisdom for some years that one of the words to avoid, if you want to get your emails delivered, is ‘FREE!!!!’ This has been largely accepted to include ‘free’ but this may well be a step too far.
Spam filters are fluid. They are tested every minute of every day by those sending unsolicited emails and the companies producing and, of course, selling them have to respond, and at short notice, to any new attempts to circumvent them. It works the other way as well.
The idea that you can get something for nothing is rather enticing. Anyone involved in email marketing knows that, rather like spam software, customers soon get to know the tricks. If they are expecting something for free but only find an offer of three for the price of two it will be seen as a marketing ploy and not the suggested reward for loyalty. Those on your email lists might well feel it is time to go elsewhere.
The old trick of increasing postage charges in order to make a little profit will be seen as just that: an old trick. But it is not all bad news.
Customers’ sophistication can work in your favour as well. They know you are in email marketing to make a profit and that giving away your products without return makes this difficult. So they will expect to have to make their way through a number of other offers, this time for money of course, before benefitting from your generosity. It is a bit of a tightrope but if it was easy everyone would be doing it well and opportunities would be limited.
Currently spam filters do not automatically ban the word ‘free’. Indeed, it would appear that ‘FREE’ is also allowable, but you should be aware that it will be a point or two against you. The system most use is that of a proscribed limit. Certain factors are given a value. These are added up and if the total is over this limit then your email is classed as spam. So ‘free’ is a risk, but one you might feel worth taking.