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30-Day Free Trial? Yes Please!

Submitted by on July 3, 2012 – 8:14 amNo Comment

30-Day Free Trial? Yes Please!

Getting people to part with their hard earned cash is a challenge for every business, but one of the major stumbling blocks that stops people actually buying a product or a service is trust, and this is particularly true if you run an online business.

Trust in the product or service and the business itself.

That’s why over the past few years we’ve seen a plethora of review websites spring up, a great example being tripadvisor.com for reviewing and booking hotels.

We trust first what other people tell us rather than believing the marketing hype of a business.

So how do you compete if you haven’t got an existing reputation to fall back on?

The 30-Day Free Trial Method

If you sell a digital product or service then this technique is proven to work exceptionally well. Some companies also prefer to do a $1 trial but the essence of the campaign is the same and the difference it makes to the uptake of your product is phenomenal.

The idea is simple: You give away use of your product or service free for 30 days. After that they are automatically billed a set monthly amount, unless they cancel it themselves.

It’s a way of letting people try out and also get tied in to using your product or service for no money upfront.

This is actually a very clever marketing tactic and not just businesses being kind to their customers.

There are certain key factors that make this tactic work:

1. Customers can use the product or service straight away and it doesn’t cost them anything. Therefore, your first acquaintance with that customer is to give them something for nothing. The whole “should I buy it?” objection is removed. There is nothing to pay so why not? This alone dramatically improves the uptake of your product or service.

2. Customers DO have to enter their credit card details for the free trial and the onus is on them to cancel before the first recurring payment is due after 30 days. If you have a decent enough product that customers have enjoyed over the 30 days then they will automatically let the payment go through. PayPal subscriptions are set up to allow you to implement a zero cost first month so it’s very easy to set up if you want to go down the PayPal route.

3. With some products and services, customers have to interact somehow with the product, either by uploading data to it or linking it into their website etc. Having gone through this entire process, customers are less likely to leave it after 30 days, and so continue with the ongoing subscription. Spotify is a good example of this in that you create your playlists and then you don’t want to lose them, so you keep paying!

This is a very powerful marketing technique but the best way to understand it is to see it in action. Here are some sites to check out and see how they are using the technique:

  • seomoz.org
  • aweber.com
  • spotify.com
  • growveg.com/freetrial.aspx

They all use slightly different techniques in their approach in getting customers on board using free or $1 trials. The reason some use the $1 trial is that generally if you can make a customer pay just $1, which is an amount that most people would be more than happy to pay, then they are more likely to continue paying after the trial period finishes. $1 customers tend to be better long-term customers than the totally free trial ones.

What works for one business may not work for another, so try different offers and landing pages and test, test, test.

So go ahead and give it a try yourself and see how dramatically it increases the uptake of your product or service.

AUTHOR BIO: Mike James has been marketing online for over 10 years and currently works in the online travel industry with his latest project being about Malaga airport and Malaga car hire.

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