People are very suspicious about a free trial. As ever, it’s a few companies that have ruined the whole concept for the rest of us. It’s the mattress manufacturers with their ‘free’ 100 day trials who make you pay in full upfront. Then when you’re sweating like a pig on a spit 50 nights later, they won’t cough up without launching a major offensive that leaves you disempowered and seething with rage. Once they’ve got your money, you’ve had it. The ‘no quibble’ refund goes straight out the window.
Also it’s the ‘free to use’ jpeg converters that you can use just once before they try to tie you into a lifetime of conversions. Or the e-book that’s ‘free’ to download if you sign up to the newsletter and provide them with every known fact about you. Or the ‘free to enter’ competition that requires you to sign up to shiteysite.com where you can download travel vouchers with 14 day expiry dates that you will never use.
It seems that we’re hardwired to expect some sort of catch when we hear the word ‘FREE’. We’re told there’s no such thing as a free lunch. It’s just a way to trick you so you agree to something you don’t really want. We’re a cynical bunch. This makes it all the more difficult when you do actually have a completely free trial. When you genuinely want people to try your product or service, what do you do?
Be clear about what you offer and why you have a free trial. The chances are that you have a free trial because you want to encourage people to try the service and see if it’s right for them. Another reason is that you come across as a confident business who is happy to provide a free trial. Make sure that you’re able to demonstrate the value of the service within the free trial, otherwise there is no point. If possible make sure you can exceed expectations within the free trial period. This is the timeframe in which people should fall in love with you and be happy to continue.
In terms of your offering, be very clear on what the free trial is all about. What does the person get? How does it work? What happens after the free trial? It’s very important that you build trust at this point because nobody likes nasty surprises.
Free trials really do work. Remember it’s a two way street. If someone has unrealistic expectations or is someone who is more trouble than they’re worth, then you have found out before they come on board.
Never ask for payment details as part of a free trial. Get the details you need to be able to deliver the trial but payment details should not be on that list. Use the free trial period to work for it. This is your chance to make sure the person wants to be a client and cannot live without your service. Stay in close contact with the person, get feedback, listen and never over-promise. They will stay with you because they like you, not because you have got them over a barrel. These are clients who will value you, will refer business to you and become hugely important to you and your business. And it all started because you had a genuine ‘free trial’.