A killer app – "Free" + "Social Proof" + Now!

The other day, I was at the Campbell post office standing in the line waiting for my turn. It was a long line so (as usual) I was busy browsing a book. The person in front of me brought me out of my dream when he stepped out asking me to hold his place. I nodded and continued reading.

I couldn’t help notice what the person did.

There was a box to drop off a business card to win a prize at the end of the month. The person dropped off his business card and walked back. I looked at the box again. There were probably 200 other business cards in the box.

Not fully believing what I just saw, I struck a conversation with the person in front.

I asked, “So, what exactly is the prize they are promising?”

He said, “No clue on that one.”

I asked, “But you put in your business card in there…”

He said, “Yeah, what’s there to lose. There are hundreds of them who have already put in their business card. They can’t be wrong.”

We both smiled and ended the conversation there.

I couldn’t help thinking about what happened.

1. There is something “free” that is promised. Don’t know what that is.

2. Around 200 other people thought it was good to get that “free” thing and opted in to the offer

3. A new person thought that if 200 other people are not wrong, he can’t be wrong.

4. It takes only a second (and a business card) to opt-in to the offer

5. The new person takes the bait and opts in to the offer.

Just a simple example that the combination of “Free,” “Social Proof” and “Now” is a killer combination.

Have a great day.

Other articles on the concept of “Free”:

1. Jan 3, 2010: The case for “Free” (again)

2. Jan 12, 2010: The “Free” Dilemma – Bits vs Atoms

3. Feb 3, 2009: The business case for giving away your best work for free