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Free or Pay a Little More?
By: Janet Kalandranis
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There are so many free branding options these days that sometimes the idea of paying for something seems unnecessary. There’s Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, and of course LinkedIn. Brands are able to creatively use these resources as they are and see great results. But then there’s always an option to pay to get a little bit more. But is this option worth it? Do the dollars invested return such a larger amount success that it makes sense? There’s no one-word answer, but instead brands need to research and determine if the paid option is better than the free version that every brand has access to. Yes, free is better and of course the return can be great, but sometimes paying those extra dollars helps brands truly achieve a branding goal. But always make sure the benefits and results are exactly what the brand wants and are truly differentiated from the free version.

For many brands the free option works, and works really well. It’s somewhat customizable, allows access to customers, and gives brands the opportunity to create unique programs. This is why much of the branding talk is making sure that companies know the benefits of these free and accessible programs. But then there’s the point in time where brands need to do more. They’ve exhausted all efforts in the free option and they want more success. Many times the conversation turns to the paid option within the free and accessible tools. Maybe it’s targeted advertising or a collection of customized tools that allow the brand to extend their initiative or program and create a higher return for the brand. But before moving forward brands need to do some research. It’s important that they understand what the paid option truly delivers. Is it a higher return, is it stronger engagement, or is it an even more customized targeted campaign? Whatever the specifics, brands need to make sure they understand the benefits and that these are things that truly cannot be delivered through the free option. Just because a business is paying for an upgrade does not always mean more success. So research before moving forward.

With so many free marketing tools available it’s hard to decipher which ones will work best for a brand. Of course this depends on the brand and the program the brand implements. Simply paying for a higher tiered option doesn’t automatically mean that the brand will see greater success. Brands need to know the amount of work they’ll need to put into the new tool and how it will truly affect the business. There are times when upgrading makes sense and it delivers a goal that otherwise would not have been achieved. But the opposite can also happen — brands can pay to unlock more options and unfortunately the return seems to measure out the same as before.

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About the Author
Janet Kalandranis is here to give you all the little brand thoughts that run through her head with a little dash of spice. Find her online here.
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