Whether it’s a video call or an online conferencing platform, using “free” products can actually cost you more than you think. There’s a reason the old adage “You get what you pay for” exists—it’s true. So the real question is: What are you getting when you subscribe to a free service? Unfortunately, the answer is usually a few extra dollars in your wallet and a massive headache.
Not everything is as polarized as spending nothing versus breaking the bank. There are plenty of companies out there offering innovative products at relatively inexpensive prices. The goal shouldn’t be to find the cheapest service; the goal should be to find the best value.
FREE PRODUCTS: THE DREAM VERSUS THE REALITY
We all have high hopes in the beginning. We believe this one will be different. But sooner or later we experience the bugs, the frustrations, and the traps associated with most free services.
An Unprofessional Appearance
When you use free products, people believe you fall into one of two categories: 1) you’re too cheap to pay for a better product (meaning you don’t care about providing your customers with the best); or 2) you can’t afford to pay for a better product (meaning your company is unable to provide your customers with the best). Either way, using mediocre services not only makes you look unprofessional and ineffective, but it can also be detrimental to customer confidence.
Advertising Gone Awry
How do companies afford to offer free products? By selling ad space. Sure, it’s annoying, but it can also harm your business. Think about it: do you want to hold a video call with a potential client while the platform is leading them straight to your competitors? It’s much harder to close a deal when your prospect is staring at a captivating ad for another company.
Cash, Credit or Contact Information?
Like it or not, you actually pay for most free services with your personal information. Required downloads, installations, and registrations not only cost you time and energy, but they often pull you in to their never-ending subscription lists (and those of third-party affiliates). While you might be willing to overlook this, are your clients? How happy are they jumping through sign-up hoops to attend your online meeting?
That’s All, Folks—Limited Features
Most free service providers only allow access to the bare bones of what they can do. It’s how they entice you to purchase their “upgraded” products. You might be able to host an online meeting, but you won’t often find the kinds of features that will truly make an impact (or any difference at all).
Disruptions, Wasted Time, and Unreliability
If you enjoy fingers-crossed communication, using a free service is definitely the way to go. You’re at the mercy of unstable internet connections, finicky servers, and poor quality. Slow speeds and subpar technology can easily result in more time spent waiting for the product to load than actually talking to your team. But, hey, who doesn’t love constant interruptions in the middle of an important meeting?
FINDING THE BEST VALUE FOR YOUR BUSINESS
Gaining the competitive edge doesn’t have to result in spending thousands of dollars. “Overpriced” doesn’t necessarily mean “better”. There are companies that offer top-of-the-line products for reasonable rates—and some, like Talk Fusion, that include a surprising number of features.
Professionalism, Confidence, and the Echo
There’s something to be said for the clean, polished look of a paid product—regardless of how much it actually costs. Customers, clients, vendors—people in general—pick up on the professional appearance and confidence that exudes from a successful company. Every product you use should echo those qualities. Leave no room for doubt in your knowledge and ability.
Great Service, Hold the Ads
Wouldn’t it be nice to introduce yourself to an important lead using a Video Chat that placed your business front and center? Or a way to use email marketing without showcasing your competitors’ advertisements next to your message? There are all-inclusive marketing companies that provide ad-free online calling, video email, and more for as little as $25 per month.
Safeguard Your Personal Information
Sign-up and registration requirements are outdated. This is the era of web link invitations. Products like Talk Fusion’s Live Meetings give customers the ability to invite attendees to an online meeting through a simple hyperlink. They’re not forced to download or install anything. They get to keep their first-born child and they can still enjoy all the benefits of participating in the meeting.
Pay a Little, Get a Lot More Features
This might sound hard to believe, but the gap between “getting by” and “life-changing” could be as little as $50. You could hold free online meetings that frustrate and annoy your contacts and potentially drive away customers. Or you could host global live conferences that let you share your desktop, slides, videos, presentations, and more from anywhere in the world. Would you spend 50 bucks to take your business to the next level?
Better, Faster, More Reliable Technology
Profits make the business world go ‘round. They also fund the use of cutting-edge high-speed technology. Better technology means you can enjoy smooth online meetings, conferences, and calls without the hiccups of low-grade connections. Feel confident that your communications services will not only work, but will also impress your contacts.
It all boils down to one thing: do you want your business to save money or do you want your business to make money? Free services can be a great tool when you’re starting out and can’t afford added expenses. But there comes a time when you have to decide whether it’s worth it to stay in the same place and hold onto your pennies or to propel your company into its future.