Increase Sales By Offering A Free Trial Of Your Product Or Service

by Greg DePersio

2 min read

It’s important to find creative, low-cost marketing methods to attract new customers to your startup or small business and grow your customer base. One such method is offering a free trial of your product or service. Free trials can be especially beneficial if your business is small or relatively new, and if potential customers may be a bit skeptical about buying from your business. Free trials also let you engage with potential customers and obtain valuable feedback that can help you identify ways to improve your products and make your marketing efforts more effective.

Do Free Trials Work?

Free trials can be an excellent marketing method, resulting in increased sales revenues and gains of a significant number of customers. Major companies such as Netflix and SiriusXM have used free trials effectively. Two studies of free trial offers of website subscription services found average sales conversion rates of approximately 75 percent – in other words, roughly three-quarters of the people who signed up for the free trial stayed on as paying customers after the trial period ended.

The benefits obtained from using free trial offers vary according to the nature of the product or service. Free trials have proven to be particularly good marketing tools for online businesses that market paid subscriptions to their website services. They have also been profitably used by companies that sell products with fairly high price tags. For example, free trials have been successfully offered on exercise equipment sold by Bowflex, and used for selling carpet cleaning machines.

Tweaking Your Free Trial Offer for Maximum Benefits

Don’t neglect the opportunity that a free trial period presents for you to engage potential customers. Contacting recipients of a free trial during the trial period to ask how they’re liking the product or service increases the customer retention rate. Customers who don’t choose to buy from you after the free trial can still be valuable resources for feedback. Learning why your trial offer wasn’t convincing to them may help you craft a future offer that will be convincing to them, or it may make you aware of changes you need to make to your product to make it more appealing to customers.

Some companies have massively increased the reach and return of their free trial offers by reaching out and specifically inviting influencers to take advantage of the free trial. If you can get a positive review of your product or service from an expert in your industry, who mentions it to their several hundred thousand Twitter followers, that could boost your sales.

Tweak your free trial offers by experimenting with the different variables of the offer. You can try out relatively longer or shorter written versions of the offer, vary the free trial period, or use trial offers to test different price points for your products or services.

References & Resources

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