Offering a free product trial is one of the oldest marketing tactics, used by drug dealers and multinational corporations alike. It is a key part of the customer acquisition process, but it is only a part of it. Of course, there are some nuances to getting it right, so let’s see what they are.

The first thing is to ensure that customers can find you trial. Exit popups are great for people who have already found your site, but one of the points of a free trial is to get them to come to you, so you need to build visibility, be that through SEO or advertising. If you are going for ad promotions, the key is to feature the free trail as bait, showcase how the product will benefit the user and formulate your call to action around it.

When people come, you need to encourage them to actually use the product. This may not be so easy, because signing up does not mean that the customer will actually claim the offer. Therefore, you have to make everything as easy and with as little clicking as possible. And if you can, provide a tutorial or a guide – or quick access online support via chat or video call.

Choose the product that is being offered for the free trial wisely, if you have that option. Some products serve great as a lures towards other, more upscale items in your assortment. It is probably wise to offer the best product you have for free trials, but that doesn’t have to be the case.

In order to determine the optimum duration of a free trial, you have to take into account the complexity of the product and the expenses that running the free trial offer incurs. There is no universal rule here, so use your experience and common sense: the key question is how long would it take for somebody to ascertain what value the product brings and how useful it is for them. So do some trials of your own first: test the product with users and see how long it took for them to “get it”. And see how much it cost you to support the free trial run, especially if your product is a piece of software, which usually requires extensive support for users.

It will help if you are flexible, so that you can extend the trial for the users who encounter some kind of a problem.
Remember when we said that the trial itself (and getting a customer to claim it) is just a part of the process of customer acquisition? This means that you need to figure out what you will do once the trial runs out for every given customer. How will you convert them into buyers? You can do this by offering further guidance, free bonuses or you can go the time honored route of a special reduced price for anyone who completes the trial.

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