How Not to Handle a Give Away

If you are planning to give away something in order to build your audience and readership, do not follow Kraft Foods' business model.

The company has put out a family food magazine for several years in hard copy that's pretty decent. Recently, they either launched an electronic version or were trying to get more readers. They put an ad with a code in the print edition stating that if you signed up for the e-version you could get a coupon. Sounded good.

My Mom gets the print copy, so she decided to sign up and, of course, wanted the coupon as it was worth more than a few cents. She couldn't figure out how to get to it so she asked me to try. I did some clicking around, tried to do access it using her code but since she'd already started an account, couldn't get all the way through.

After clicking around a bit I got to their blog, where there were at least two dozen posts from frustrated people also trying to figure out what to do. There was also a place to enter if you didn't have the original code, so I did that to see if I would be sent or could find the coupon. Nope.

Then I thought maybe the coupon would be sent by email later with my first e-newsletter. Nope.
Still wanting to get to the bottom of things, I decided to contact customer service through the link at the bottom of the newsletter. A few days later, I did actually get a response.

This is where it got absolutely amazing. The reply contained at least another 5 or 6 steps including downloading a coupon clipping/printing program to my computer.

Excuse me? All I wanted was what was promised to me for signing up. A simple coupon. I get all kinds of newsletters with link to all kinds of stuff every week. If I want something, a couple of clicks and I'm there and I'm happy. I've never seen something so convoluted. So after getting that explanation, not only did I not jump through all those hoops, I unsubscribed from the newsletter all together.

Bottom line, if you want customers, keep your promises and make it easy to do business with you. It really isn't rocket science.

Good Writing & God Bless,
Cheryl Pickett

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