Free Trials for Your Small Business

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by Kelly Sullivan

After the launch of a new business, it’s important to take on a sales approach that starts drawing customers to your product in droves. Free trials are a common and effective way to demonstrate to your potential clients how great your product is. 

Free trials pull in new clients by empowering them to utilize different aspects of your product. They also build rapport from your existing clients by encouraging great reviews and testimonials. If you’re just starting out, a free trial gets you more feedback on new products which allows you to make improvements where needed.

As you probably know, people tend to be wary of spending money on products or services that they aren’t familiar with or don’t fully understand how to use. Allowing them the opportunity to explore your product for free will familiarize them with what they are already interested in, and creates an incentive for them to continue paying you. 

If you offer an online service, you should seriously consider offering a free trial. Make sure to set it up in a way that won’t set you back too far, and that will lead you down a path to returning customers. For example, if your company provides a one-time service, consider offering free estimates rather than free trials. 

Here are some key points to consider when offering a free trial for your product or service.

Pros to Offering Free Trials

  • Helps you analyze how genuine of a prospect a customer is
  • Allows a prospective customer the opportunity to test out different departments within your company such as sales, customer service, etc. to get a demonstration of how worthwhile your product is
  • Reduces the need for aggressive selling
  • Minimal risk
  • Generates a sense of urgency to buy as the free trial comes to an end

Cons to Offering Free Trials

  • The cost in dollars and time for your company
  • No guarantee that a customer will buy from you
  • The potential for more work for your team as services and support teams provide assistance
  • Prospects may continue requesting free trial extensions

Key “Do’s” to Offering Free Trials

  • Have clear terms and guidelines of your free giveaways.
  • Make sure your website is user-friendly and easy to navigate.
  • Offer demos so they can get the most out of the free trial.
  • Ensure the client knows exactly what they would be paying for if they choose to buy past the free trial.
  • Cut off service at the end of the free trial if they aren’t going to buy your product.
  • Market your free trials everywhere you can!

Key “Don’ts” to Offering Free Trials 

  • Don’t roll anything additional into your trial period or free services
  • Don’t do package add ons without charging for them
  • Don’t start free trials with no real strategy. Having some sort of strategy in place provides you with a starting point and goals to work towards.
  • Don’t overextend your time just for one sign up, or you end up working for free. This goes for free estimates as well.

People love getting things for free, although they’re not going to take advantage of a free trial if they don’t know about it. Include any details of the free trial in your existing marketing plan, and utilize whatever channels work best for your brand to get the message out. The idea is to get individuals interested fast without them losing interest.

Gaining exposure for your business is important so more people get to see what you have to offer. More exposure means more potential clients, which means more sales. If people like the free stuff they received, then they are likely to share their experience with others. By offering your target market something free (and valuable), you capitalize on the leads you get and convert them into paying customers. 

As always, at the end of the day, figure out what works best for you and your product or service. You’re the boss, so the decision is yours!

Want more from Outgrow Your Garage?

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