During the first few weeks of launching, should you give your product away for free to get people to use it and possibly spread the word about it?
Is that a good marketing tactic? It's a strategy that is often used by authors -- they give away copies of their book in order to get reviews and people talking about it.
I'd recommend you charge for your product from day 1. Here's why:
It depends on the type of product you are selling, marketplace you are in, and expectations of your prospective customers.
If you save people time or money, you should charge for your product from day 1.
If you need to educate people on the utility of your product because it's something innovative, giving it away for free will allow you to get some users onboard and get early data and feedback on usage.
If you are in a market where free products are very common and competition is high and/or customers do expect free versions or samples (or trials) of the product, giving away your product for free can become your engine of growth because certain customer groups eagerly promote free products they like.
Freemium model isn't dead, it's just not for everyone, but still works for many companies and products.
I had this one competitor who grew their site to 1.5 million uniques per month in about 3-4 years by giving away all their product for free, they monetized with advertising. They then added subscription plans and from what I can tell, the traffic didn't drop off at all. The tens of thousands of backlinks they got from being free are still sending them traffic, which they now successfully convert to paid subscribers. I feel I owe them for a lesson on "the power of free".