If you’ve been grocery shopping on a weekend, you know that the sample tables are the most popular place in the whole store. There is something about getting an item for free that captivates the hearts of many.

 

There is something about getting an item for free that captivates the hearts of many. Click To Tweet

 

Companies understand this and have learned that by allowing large groups to try their product for free, they can convert at least a portion of that group into buyers. The company takes a small loss in giving some of their product away for free, but they benefit much more by increasing both their brand exposure and customer base.

 

trial users strategy

 

Converting Trial Users

This concept can be applied to the digital world as well. Companies with online products or services allow potential customers to become trial users. They are given the “keys” to the digital product and are encouraged to take it out for a test drive. The theory is that the user will see how great the product is and will be willing to pay for the ability to keep using it.

 

But simply assuming trial users will automatically become paying customers is not a good business plan. Trial users often need some encouragement in order to make that conversion. In today’s post, we look at different methods you can use to help encourage your trial users to become loyal paying customers.

 

 

Give Trial Users the Red-Carpet Treatment

Looking at different ways to convert trial users is sometimes like putting the cart before the horse. This is because your first step in offering trial memberships should be to make these users product experts.

 

If you have created an effective marketing funnel, you have already spent time on building awareness about your product and explained how it can benefit the user. Your marketing has worked, and the user has signed up for a no-obligation trial. Now your job is to show them that your product is so great that they don’t want to live without it.

 

To do this, start by offering a quick tutorial when the user first signs up. This will help them navigate around your site and feeling comfortable in doing so. Next, create a drip campaign and send them emails throughout their trial that offers helpful tips and advice to make their experience great. Encourage them to use all the options available so they can see how many ways they can use your site.

 

The purpose behind these actions is to prime the user for the big Call-to-Action that you will bring out later in their trial. If they know and understand your product, its likely that they will want to continue using the product even if they must pay for it. However, if they don’t understand what your product does, it’s unlikely that they will want to shell out money for it.

 

 

Tips to Convert Trial Users into Paying Customers

Now that the trial users are experienced users, you can now work on converting them into paying customers. Here are a few tips to help you.

 

Use Time Limits

This method is used to give trial users a taste of the product, all the while setting clear boundaries. Companies will allow the use of their product for free, but state up front that they will only allow this access for a limited amount of time.

 

Netflix trial users

Source: Nexflix.com

An example of this is Netflix. They allow users the ability to try their service for free for a month. After that time, users must subscribe to the service in order to keep using it.

 

Depending on the type of service you offer, certain time frames may work better for you than others. Common time frames are 7-days, 14-days and 1-month trials. Use whatever time frame works best for you, but make it clear to users up front that their trial has an expiry date.

 

 

Use Psychology to Create Urgency

You see this method used all the time, but you may not have understood why companies do it. Companies leverage a user’s Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) and offer time-sensitive offers in order to convert them into paying customers.

 

A common way this is used is through weekly flyers. Stores will send out flyers and will advertise that week’s slashed prices. Whether a buyer needs a product or not, deep discounts motivate shoppers to go buy that product because they don’t want to miss a great deal, regardless of whether they need it or not. A bargain is a bargain.

 

The same FOMO concept also applies to online product trials. One way to implement this is to offer trial users a great offer just before their trial period ends. For example, five days before the trial ends a company can send the user an offer of 50% off their first 3 months if they end their trial early and subscribe within the next 24 hours.

 

By offering an enticing offer with a time limit attached, it creates a sense of urgency and the user may take the offer because the FOMO is too strong.

 

 

Make it Easy to Convert

If you have worked hard to educate the user about the benefits of your product, and have trained the user on using your product, there is a good chance that they will want to continue as a paying customer. But all this hard work can go down the drain if you make it difficult for them to sign up.

 

If you tell your trial users to phone your main office between the hours of 9am and 1pm with their user account number and their banking information, it’s very likely you won’t have many people signing up. People are busy and don’t want to go to great lengths in order to sign up.

 

If, on the other hand, you have a simple sign-up form that asks them to just enter their billing information online, your conversion rates will be much higher. Users can sign up on their own time and the simplicity of the process will have them not think twice about doing it.

 

By removing friction points in your sign-up process, you will see an increase in your paid user conversion rates.

 

 

Final Thoughts

Offering free trials of your product or service is a great way to increase market exposure. Many people will try a product if its easy to sign up and costs nothing. If you play your cards right and handle those trial users carefully, you can increase both your customer base and your profits. With a proper marketing plan and a willingness to give-a-little to get-a-lot, your business will flourish.

 

 

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