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Does a Free Trial Marketing Strategy Work? [2023]

Does a Free Trial Marketing Strategy Work_ 2023

Everyone loves free stuff, right?

From free samples of food to free items for purchasing above a certain amount, free equals positive experience.

In terms of business, though, free doesn’t bring in money, and without money there is no business. You did invest, in order to create the product in the first place, so it’s normal to ask for a fee in return.

Ultimately, the goal of offering free products/services is to convert those users into paying customers.

Join us as we explore more on the topic.

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Why Do You Need a Free Trial Marketing Strategy?

Essentially, free trials are what lure a lot of users to try your product or service. After all, some people aren’t certain that you’re offering what they’re looking for, thus giving them the chance to try it out, and then decide if it is the perfect solution.

Let’s say you are developing a CRM. You’re a young SaaS company looking to enter the market. You release your first product, but you have neither a free trial of your software, nor a free version.

This means that a customer has to immediately pay for your product. If they’re not happy about it, chances are they will ask for a refund, and never return to your company.

Moreover, the next thing you know, (probably because you did zero research) it turns out that all of your competitors have a free trial option on their website, at minimum. What’s more, you also have to now make up for lost time since you’ve fallen behind your competitors and alienated your customers.

How Does a Free Trial Strategy Work?

These are two sides of the same coin. First, a free trial marketing strategy aims to allow users to test your product/services. This gives them a chance to get a better understanding of what your value proposition is, how they can benefit from what you offer, and so on.

Second, you give people a chance to see what you are all about so to speak. If they don’t like what they see, that’s okay. However, if they do like it, they could become your next most loyal customer, or even a brand ambassador.

In marketing terms, the second option is called a conversion. Of course, that’s the goal of every business.

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Here’s a bit of an explanation of how the process works exactly.

Free Trial Conversion Funnel Example

Free Trial Conversion Funnel Example

  1. Ad/Organic Results
  2. Landing Pages
  3. Free Trial Registrations
  4. Free Trial Periods
  5. Paying Customers

1. Ad/Organic Results

A person enters a search engine and looks for a solution to their problems. They stumble upon your page, either by a paid ad you’ve set up for the keywords in question, or via SEO and ranking on the first page.

2. Landing Pages

The user opens your website and “lands” on a certain page. It could be your homepage, or another page of your site that you’ve created for the purpose. These pages always need to include a call-to-action button, which shows them what you want them to do on this page.

In our scenario, you want them to register for a free trial of your product/service. Therefore, you need to create a CTA button that will entice them to do just that.

Some free trial best practices here are to include a summary of the benefits of your product/service, the duration of the free trial, and a short compelling headline.

Readers Also Enjoy: How To Build a Converting Landing Page for Your Product? – DevriX

3. Free Trial Registrations

The person chooses to register for your free trial. There are two approaches here, with the main question being if you should immediately ask them to enter their credit card details or not.

You might want to leave the money-talks for later, though, as research has shown that users react negatively when forced to enter their credit card information at the start of a free trial.

It’s counterintuitive. Why does a user need their credit card, if the trial is free? Instead, let them enjoy the experience, and get a feeling for your product/service. You can always include money in the conversation when the trial is over.

4. Free Trial Periods

In the next 7, 14, 30 days, or whatever you pick as a length for the free trial, users will decide if they like the product you’re offering or not.

Now is the time to showcase all the wonderful aspects of your business, extol your core values, and let the user know how valuable they are.

5. Paying Customers

Ideally, at the end of the free trial period, or even before that, the user would be so satisfied with your product that they will want to become a paying customer.

Of course, it’s not that easy to convince someone to give you their money. You need to really emphasize the benefits of your product/services, and stress why you are better than your competitors.

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Free Trial Best Practices: How to Increase Conversions?

Free Trial Best Practices_ How to Increase Conversions

Speaking of giving it your best, here are some of the best practices when it comes to free trials, and motivating users to convert into customers.

  1. Easy-to-Use products.
  2. Features That Build a Habit.
  3. Countdown to Obsession.
  4. Resolve their Issues.
  5. Build a Strategy Around the Product.

1. Easy-to-Use Products

Naturally, one of the most important aspects of a free trial is for the individual to be able to use your product without any difficulties. Your design should be intuitive, the functionalities – understandable enough to grab one’s attention, and so on.

A great free trial strategy is to have a dedicated knowledge hub, where the user can find the answers to any questions they might have. A good customer support can also make the difference between a potential user and one who leaves.

Additionally, you can use session recording software like Hot Jar to understand where users get stuck, and how they navigate through your site.

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2. Features That Build a Habit

Why do we log into social media every day? Is there a reason to read the news so frequently? What makes us check our emails a dozen times a day?

It’s all part of the habits we form. What you need to do, in order to convert users, is exactly that. See which features of your product are used most, and which ones seem to be more complicated and less utilized.

3. Countdown to Obsession

You need to figure out how long your free trial should last. It’s not random that trials vary from 5 days to 30. Different products need a different amount of time for users to get used to them.

Make it too short and users won’t be able to make a habit of using it, and once the free trial is over, they will not be sure if they want your product or not. Allow users enough time to become obsessed with your product or service.

Also, always make sure to remind people when their free trial is about to end. Send them a reminder a week, three days, and a day before it happens, so they are not unpleasantly surprised.

4. Resolve Their Issues

You should analyze users’ behavior and try to understand the pain points of your potential clients. For example, why did they start using your software – do they want to automate a tedious task, are they looking for help in their daily tasks?

As the popular saying goes, you shouldn’t sell a product, you should sell a solution. And unless you know what’s causing issues for your users, you won’t be able to offer a resolution.

5. Build a Strategy Around the Product

The strategy surrounding your product should be already planned before you lure users to try your product.

After all, a user can choose to upgrade during their free trial, on the condition that you provide exactly what they’ve been looking for.

In Conclusion

A free trial marketing strategy can definitely work well in 2023. All you need is proper research, the right tools, and a gentle willingness to improve the lives of your potential customers.

Remember to follow the free trial best practices, and keep a lookout to see what could be stopping users from paying for your services.