The Power Of Free For Your Email Marketing Campaign

Never mind the “there’s no such thing as a free lunch” paradigm of Milton Friedman, give your audience something free to help you get something from them. Don’t underestimate the power of free for your email marketing campaign. It is much easier to get someone to sign up for something if they are getting something in return. You can offer a complimentary guide, document, or video – basically whatever you can make quickly and easily in return for another name to your list.  If you offer something for free, you will offer get something back.

In the case of affiliate marketing, you can start an email marketing campaign with a form that says something like “receive your FREE training guide”, and have the person fill out a form using his or her name and email address. It is much easier to get someone to give up their information in exchange for something. Plainly asking for a name and email for the ubiquitous newsletter does not work as well. Immediately make it known that your viewer will get something.

People love free stuff.  Use the power of free for your email marketing campaign. I remember my first week in college: Each and every student organization and group on campus could not say the word “free” enough: free food, free pizza, free entertainment, etc., etc. It is such a simple word that carries so much power that you must use it to your advantage. What about a baseball game? Sign up for a credit card (that you may or may not actually activate, but the credit card company will be happy to oblige if would want to), and get a free towel! The credit card companies are not giving away free towels for their entertainment – they want you to sign up and activate a new credit card.

It also looks good for the new viewer to your blog that you are giving something away for free (in exchange for the email address, of course). It makes your website and online business look more polished if you offer something to the public at large. Offering a newsletter is one of those things that makes your business look like something has really put a concerted effort into running it.

I recommend everyone go out and start an email marketing campaign. Perhaps you want to wait to get a little more traffic, or wait until your affiliate marketing campaign can pay for the campaign, but everyone needs to utilize email marketing to really make money. And how to get people to sign up? Remember the power of free.

Fifteen Things That You Can Do to Green Your School Campus

Every one of us has the ability to make a difference on our child’s school campus by making a few easy changes to school policies and practices. This is a wonderful opportunity to have a positive impact on your environment, your community, your school and your child. Here are fifteen things that you can do to make changes at your own child’s school this year.

Start by creating a policy that at all school events, plates, cups and glasses must be either reusable or compostable. Be clear that disposable plastic and Styrofoam are no longer allowed to be used anywhere on campus. Provide information about where to buy compostables so that people are able to easily make this change. Here are a few options that I would recommend:

Fabri-Kal Greenware
Arrow Tableware
Nature Friendly Products
World Centric Biocompostables
Green Logic

At lunch and at larger gatherings, be sure that condiments and things like butter and cream cheese are purchased in bulk rather than individual servings. I just participated in a large waste audit where we had to pick through literally hundreds of tiny foil butter wrappers that were scattered throughout the food scraps and compostable tableware, all items that were on their way to giant windrows to be composted. If those wrappers had not been removed, they would have ruined the entire batch of compostable material. Imagine how much more difficult this would have been if there had been ketchup and mustard packets too!

Have well labeled recycling/composting bins throughout the campus with clear signage indicating what goes where in order to help both direct waste flow and to educate the children about what can and cannot be recycled/composted.

Conduct waste audits with each grade so that the children can see what happens when a whole school throws things away for a whole day. Weigh each type of waste to see how much of each there is and brainstorm about ways to reduce campus waste. This process will be very educational for the children and they may have some good ideas about the ways that they can help to be a part of the solution.

Encourage the copy room staff to print double sided copies whenever possible and request that they use 100% post-consumer recycled paper that is processed chlorine free.

Consider instituting a “Pack in Pack out” policy where anything brought from home for snacks and lunches either gets eaten or returned home. This allows parents to see what their children are and aren’t eating and also significantly decreases the amount of trash and recycling that the school must pay to have hauled each year.

Ask your school board to stop using water bottles if they are using them. In order to set an example, have them bring their own reusable cups and a pitcher of filtered water. Leadership starts at the top and if our school’s leaders are setting a good example, parents, staff and faculty will note it. This will trickle down to the students as well.

Host a Zero Waste Sustainability Event to create awareness and educate parents and teachers. Incorporate a chance to network, offer incentives such as prizes for those who choose carpooling in order to limit the amount of driven trips to school.

Make sure green cleaning products and practices are used everyday to ensure a healthy and hospitable environment for your child. Create a purchasing policy that states that all cleaning products purchased by the school must be green and non-toxic in order to protect your child from hazardous toxic chemicals.

Make sure energy saving features are enabled on all computers in the school, so that they go into sleep or hibernation when no one is using them instead of displaying a screensaver. This simple setting change makes the computer use much less electricity, saving money and greenhouse gas emissions

Pack your child’s lunch in a lunch box or some other reusable container instead of a disposable paper bag. Don’t stop there – put the food reusable containers as well instead of baggies, and use a Thermos or other reusable drinks bottle instead of a juice box or disposable milk carton.

When buying new furniture or equipment, look for products that have credible green product certifications such as Energy Star, Green Seal, Forest Stewardship Council, and Ecologo.

Post reminders next to all light switches reminding people to turn off the lights when they leave the room.

Make a policy asking students, faculty, and staff to unnplug televisions, computers, microwaves, and any device that is not being used. This stops devices from drawing electricity even when they’re turned off or in standby.

Push to prohibit electric space heaters. They use up to $1000 in electricity every year, increase cooling costs, and are a significant fire hazard.

Utilizing these simple and logical green solutions, you can create a sustainable foundation for environmental responsibility at your child’s school. Not only will you be directly contributing to an effort of sustainability, but also creating awareness and educating the leaders of tomorrow.

By Merryl Brown, President, Merryl Brown Events

A College Student’s Guide to Getting Free Food

College students are known for being the skimpiest spenders when it comes to essentials, and for good reason: with rising tuition costs (as well as unemployment among non-graduates and graduates alike), expensive books, and other necessary supplies, who has money leftover to pay for things like food anymore? If you fall into this boat, or are simply looking for ways to cut back on your meal expenses, then the following guide will help you find the best ways to get food without paying a dime.

Local Businesses

Restaurants and beverage places-bars, smoothie joints, tea houses, etc.-are always looking to attract new customers, and when they are located in a college town, they’re going to take full advantage of the power of word-of-mouth marketing. They often offer huge discounts or even free food coupons to students on campus to entice them to come try their menus. With any luck, the student will love it and proceed to tell their friends about the place and possibly return in the future as a paying customer. It’s a win-win marketing ploy: business gets customers and college student gets free food.

Tip: There are also free food days at restaurants, such as free cone days at ice cream places or free burritos from Chipotle on rare occasions.


To attract members, clubs often offer food at their introductory meetings (almost guaranteed to be pizza). Some clubs continue to offer free food to its members throughout the year, making it doubly beneficial to join a club in that it looks great on a resume and you won’t starve on days you have a meeting. As a current member of my college’s speech and debate team, I not only get pizza at our Friday meetings, but I get invitations to our holiday potlucks and get meal money to pay for all of my food expenses during travel tournaments. Many other clubs do the same.

Associated Students’ Activities

Events on campus, organized by the ASB, often have free food for attendees. This can include club promotion days, holiday celebrations, spirit weeks, etc. Schools specifically allocate a certain amount of money for this organization to use on their events, and to attract more interest from the general student population, they know food will do the trick. I recently got a free hamburger, fry, and chocolate shake from In & Out just for participating in my college’s Meet and Greet Day for potential high school applicants.

Free Samples Scouting

If you are fortunate enough to live near a grocery store that offers free samples to its shoppers, then you may want to consider dropping by every once in a while. Costcos are especially known for this, although you will need a membership to get in first (they also have ridiculously cheap food, such as a full hotdog meal for $1.50 or two huge slices of pizza for only $2). This may be frowned upon by wealthier or older shoppers who don’t understand the predicament of a starving college student, but this can be an excellent way to replace an entire meal without paying for it.

So, if you’re struggling to keep the costs down while in college, finding free food opportunities can be a tremendous budget-saver. It’ll likely be a sporadic occurrence, but when you find yourself with a free meal, that’s $5-10 less you’ll be taking out of your food budget for the month.