One of the hottest topics in marketing these days is freemium, which is a business model based on giving away some part of your product as a way to create the trust and show the value necessary for a sale.

Variations on freemium have been at work in the software industry for a long time – shareware, freeware, lite versions – with great success, so I had to wonder why we don’t hear about the model more in other industries like staffing.

The reality is that in my travels I come across a few variations on freemium. Free-for-a-day is one such example. With free-for-a-day, the staffing company makes an expert available to a prospective client for a day at no cost.

The idea being that the client will agree to that offer over a competitor. Further, the client will keep the expert on at an attractive bill rate after the first day not only because the expert was helpful, but because it is the path of least resistance.  Nine times out of 10, operational staff that the expert works with will see the value and in any case will engage in the passive behavior of keeping the expert on.

The weakness of free-for-a-day is that it requires discontinuous behavior to sell it in the first place. You have to pitch the free day to both the client, and you also somehow have to have access to an expert for a day at a rate that makes the offer affordable.

I’ve seen the expert side of this equation executed efficiently in specialty shops like accounting, where the experts are staff employees who work on in-house projects and are simply made available when free-day assignments come up. I’m not so sure the model could work for other staffing lines of business like industrial or clerical.

Nevertheless, as an occasional consumer of staffing services, I find the free-for-a-day model persuasive – more persuasive than slinky toys and other tchotchkes.

Tags: Staffing, Industry, Business model, Free day, Freemium, Freeware, Shareware, Slinky toys, Software industry, Tchotchkes