FreeShop.com was launched in 1996 as a multipurpose online shopping site. The site offers hundreds of free and trial offers from nationally recognized advertisers, a shopping assistant that enables consumers to compare prices, various contests and special promotions.
The FreeShop site has increased from nearly 80,000 members two years ago to more than 515,000 members, an increase of more than 625 percent. What was the driving force behind this impressive expansion? Opt-in e-mail marketing, specifically in the form of a weekly newsletter.
FreeShop.com sends a free newsletter entitled “Club FreeShop,” which highlights the latest free and trial offers on the FreeShop site. The newsletter also features special promotions, links to sponsors and FreeShop contents. FreeShop generates more than 40 percent of its orders from its newsletter mailings. To receive the weekly newsletter, visitors to the FreeShop Web site simply enter their e- mail addresses in the sign-up box.
“Surpassing 500,000 members is both a milestone for FreeShop and indicative of the consumer support for opt-in e-mail marketing,” said Tim Choate, president and CEO of FreeShop. “An e-mail address is one of the most valuable online commodities a consumer possesses. The fact that literally hundreds of thousands of customers offer this information in exchange for news about the latest free offers and great deals in FreeShop is a good indicator of the strength of the FreeShop model and its overall consumer appeal.”
FreeShop’s newsletter was so successful that the company recently started a second newsletter, which is entitled “Club FreeShop Great Deals.” This newsletter includes information on special sales and brand name products at incredibly low prices from FreeShop and its partners.