What is a free trial?
A free trial is a short period when customers can use your product or service for free. It’s a way for them to experiment with using your product to decide whether they want to become a customer. It’s an acquisition model that helps demonstrate your product’s value to potential users.
Why use a free trial?
You can rapidly broaden your pool of potential customers using a free trial sign-up model. It’s a sales strategy that can significantly reduce your customer acquisition cost.
Free trials can effectively draw potential customers in to see the benefits of your product for themselves.
Allowing potential customers to navigate your product for themselves is a much more efficient way to demonstrate your value. There are no strings attached for them, they get to know and love what you do in their own time, and you reduce the need for aggressive sales pitches.
It also offers complete transparency, as when someone decides to subscribe or sign up for your service, they know exactly what they’ll be paying for. If your product solves a problem for your customers, there’s a high chance they’ll opt-in to pay once their free trial is over.
Customers invest their time
Free trial users may not invest money in using your product during the trial period, but they invest their time.
When canceling their free account, clients will consider the time they’ve invested inputting their data and getting to grips with the product’s functionalities. If you provide a seamless experience, it’s less likely they will go and set up a new account with a competitor.
When you offer a free trial, you can ask customers for feedback on the product, the UX, what was most beneficial for their use case, etc. This feedback can provide valuable insight for future iterations.
Gets customers in your funnel
When someone signs up to use your product for free, they’re in your sales funnel. You can send them offers and incentives to sign up for a paid account.
Things to consider when offering a free trial
When you decide to use a free trial to acquire new customers, there are some essential factors to keep in mind:
- How long will it take for the customer to get to know your product? (This may determine the timeframe of the free trial).
- How will you make it easy for the customer to understand and use the features?
- How will you encourage customers to use your product once they sign up for the free trial?
- Make the sign-up process seamless to avoid churn before people pass the first page.
- What process will encourage customers to become full-paying customers?
- How will you onboard them when they become paying customers?
Avoid automatic billing after the free trial ends
Many companies alienate potential customers by automatically billing them after the free trial period ends. Yes, you can get customers this way, but it will not help you build customer loyalty.
In the name of honesty and transparency, tell your customer when their free trial is about to end by sending them a polite message. Give them easy next steps to cancel their account or become a paying customer. That way, they make an autonomous decision whether or not they want to continue using your product.