Freemium Marketing Strategy – the Good, the Bad and the Villain!

Freemium marketing (mashing up “free” and “premium” words) consists in offering your services (normally) free of charge, usually on a standard version, and with it hopefully trying to make a name for yourself in the market and building your database. After that the aim is to introduce your new acquired data base with upgrade premium options that need to be paid for of course!


The Bad Freemium

I´ve always been a little disappointed about freemium products and the whole freemium approach. It seemed that all the different approaches I´ve crossed eyes with, where either:

  1. Too light, which meant that the offered free service was not compelling enough and therefore failing has a customer acquisition and market awareness tool;
  2. Too heavy, meaning it delivered too much for free, failing to leave your database asking for the premium stuff;


The Villain Fremium

Freemium games are, for me, one the biggest villains in the freemium marketing approach!

One example: League of Legends generated in 2015 almost 1 Billion in microtransitions revenue. Get this, some players have complained of spending has much as $2,000 since they first began to play. And there’s stories of teenagers stealing mom´s credit card to pay for the upgrades and “champions” buy out.

Remember the not so old phrase “if the product is free, you are the product”?

Do you get why I call them the freemium villains?


Apps are the world of freemium and by the looks, they’re here to stay.

Apps: Freemium rules!!!



The Good Freemium

Of course, the best for last! Some freemium´s are actually very good!

Let me present you with 3 examples that rock:


  1. The Take it App

They’ll let you print 5 polaroid style photos for free, and after that you get to mail them all over the world for $2,95 (2,7€)……nice!!!

They state that “prints are in 3.55 x 3.95″ (9 x 10 cm). They’ll remind you of the timeless Polaroid prints. Your message is printed at the back of your prints.”

The freemium part ends after 5 photos, and believe me when I say it´s addictive enough to catch on!!!


  1. Google Penalty Checker

This one is for SEO geeks! They let you freely check up to 2 domains, but for more you got to pay. Pretty smart don’t you think? This is a tool designed for web agencies. Have you heard of online web agencies with less than 3 customers?

Already drooling over the tool? Check it out and give me your thoughts!


  1. MailChimp

This one we all know. If you have less than 2,000 subscribers, they’ll let you send up to 12,000 monthly emails for free! But the fun part (email automation, database connectivity, segmentation and the best reports) are paid. Gotta love Freemium!!!

I’ve personally tried the free stuff and it works just to the point when you start thinking in the premium version.


And this is it! Hope I’ve managed to help.

See ya!!!


4 Replies to “Freemium Marketing Strategy – the Good, the Bad and the Villain!”

  1. The best ‘freemium’ model I’ve seen uses freemium for social good. Non-profits use the revenue from premium tiers to sustain the business and provide services to the free tier. The free tier is in itself full featured. In the SaaS world this has become know as Software as a Profound Service or SaaPS.

  2. Hi David D.
    Many thanks for your comment!
    I’m very interested in the subject, can you further detail or send me some more information please?
    Best regards!

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