When exposed to a great service, people will continue to pay for that service if it delivers value. Providing a free trial allows your business to cut in front and introduce consumers to your industry directly – this introduction may be all that’s required to convert them to regular subscribers.
In this post you will see the allure of the free trial, companies that are doing it well, and how providing one for your company could be a business decision.
The Allure of the Free Trial
Why do people like free trials (and stuff, in general)?
It’s best to break it down into the types of people seeking free trials – there are:
- Freebie Hunters – These people just want free stuff because they’re often cheap and ride trials as long as possible until the next one comes along.
- Researchers – People that are thinking about purchasing a product/service but want to partake in the experience before handing over their money.
- Laggards – People that heard of the service through a trusted source and finally coming around to check it out.
There are other types of free trial users but if there’s one thing in common it’s that people want to try before they buy. It’s to help prevent buyer’s remorse – if they can experience the product, learn if it truly lives up to (or exceeds) their expectations, then it’s worth the subscription.
Best Practices & Examples
The following are a few examples of companies leveraging free trials as part of their lead generation efforts:
- Netflix –The Netflix trial gives users a month to try the full service; during that time it gives people the ability to binge watch entire seasons of shows and countless movies. At a price point so low, with no cancellation fees, and such a wide variety of content, it’s difficult for trial members to go back to basic television, which can be upwards of $80 a month even with the best Verizon FiOS promo code.
- Office 365 –Office 365 users are no longer tethered to their machine; they are given full access to the Office suite but with cloud capabilities. The allure of subscribing comes from the fact that Microsoft gives little extras like 20GB of online storage via SkyDrive, 60 minutes (each month) of Skype calls, and regular updates. At less than $10 a month (available to five PCs or Macs), it’s a very affordable option for individuals and small offices.
- Amazon Prime – Prime hit 20 million subscribers by the end of 2013 and continues its momentum into this year. Amazon offers the service as a 30 day free trial; it’s one of the few that comes absolutely chock full of huge benefits including 2 day delivery, access to Amazon Instant Video, free books on Kindle, and growing collection of music. The combination of all these inclusions makes it a logical choice for those that want access to music, movies, and frequently use Amazon for their shopping.
*If you’d like to see a real-world example of free trials in action I’d highly recommend you read this post comparing free trials vs money back guarantees.
The Business Benefits
Offering a free trial of your product or service comes with a myriad of benefits toward branding, growing your presence, and lead generation:
- It gives users the ability to fully test your product/service, which gets them comfortable with the offer and may become such an essential addition they feel it would be detrimental to return to their previous state of non-ownership.
- It gives bloggers, reporters, and other content producers the ability to test and report about your service, which aids in building brand awareness.
- It creates a list of qualified leads, which gives you a foot in the door for pitching the continuation of the service without having to wade through a list of untargeted leads.
- It lowers the cost since you let them play with the service rather than holding their hand and using up a customer service rep’s time.
What’s stopping you from providing a free trial for your business?