Free Trials: How Creators Can Use Them to Drive More Business

Everybody loves free. Even if we don't even want something, the moment someone tells us it's free, game on. As a creator, you've probably used free trials here and there, right? And, while you're not going to convert on every free trial you get, you've probably bought some of the products that started out as free trials. What if there hadn't been a free trial? Would you have still made the purchase?

If you answered "no," you're not alone. Free trials exist because they work. And, you can use them to drive business even if you're not a SaaS company. Yes, even creators can use free trials to boost business. In this article, we're going to cover how free trials help creators drive more business but, more importantly, we're going to show you how you can do it!

Free Trials: How Creators Can Use Them to Drive More Business:

Can Creators Drive Business Using Free Trials?

So, are free trial memberships a good way to get new members as a creator? The answer, of course, is yes. Otherwise, we wouldn't be here telling you about them. When you use free trials strategically, they can absolutely help you bring in leads and convert those leads into paying customers.

Free trials aren't right for every creator in every niche, though. That's why we're going to cover both the benefits and disadvantages of offering free trials. With that information, you'll be able to decide for yourself if free trials are right for your specific business.

Why Offer a Free Trial for Memberships or Other Content?

Free trials give potential customers a low-risk way to get to know you and your brand before asking them to commit. As you already know, that low risk for the lead comes at moderate risk for you. So, what's a creator to do? Let's take a closer look at the pros and cons of offering free trials as a creator.

Pros of Offering a Free Trial

Did you know that a customer journey could involve more than 500 touchpoints (Think With Google)? A free trial can be an incredibly persuasive touchpoint, letting the customer get to know your brand and what you offer. And customers take this seriously. In fact, 60% of people research products online before making a purchase (Valassis and Kantar). A free trial is nothing if not the ultimate research tool. But there are other benefits to free trials, too.

Building Your Audience

Free trials are a great way to grow your audience and build excitement about your brand and the content you offer. Brand awareness is vital when you're trying to get more members, subscribers, and clients and this can help you increase engagement and reach, generate more leads, and make more sales.

Providing Clarity Around Your Offer

Sometimes even the best copywriting can't convey exactly how awesome you and your products are. That's where free trials can help. When you offer free trials, leads are able to get to know you and decide if your content is going to be something that benefits them.

Getting More Leads

Free offers are a proven way to generate more leads. What's great about free trials is that even if your user doesn't convert, you still have their email address and contact information so you can nurture them towards conversion in the future.

Collecting Feedback

Free trials are also a wonderful way to get your content in front of more people who can then provide you feedback. This feedback is incredibly useful when it comes to refining your offer to attract more leads and retain customers. To get the most benefit from your free trials, be sure to create a system to follow up with people who don't convert to find out what you could have done differently to make them stay. And make sure you're encouraging honest feedback.

Cons of Offering a Free Trial

We're not gonna lie, there's a long list of disadvantages associated with offering free trials. Generally speaking, though, they fall into two categories: losing money and wasting time.

Losing Money

Some creators just can't afford to support the cost of free trials. While free trials are a powerful way to get would-be customers on board, they're also very attractive to folks who just want to hop on for the free content, as long as that free content lasts. That's why it's so important to consider your costs and what goes into offering free trials to your followers.

Wasting Time

Another downside of offering free trials is wasted time. The good news is that it is possible to find a balance in terms of how long your free trial is (too long and you're giving away more content than you need to, too short and your lead doesn't have enough time to make up their mind). We recommend choosing a timeframe to start out and then following up with leads who don't convert to see if they felt like they had enough time before being asked to convert.

Free Trial or Freemium: What's the Difference?

Now that we've got the pros and cons of offering free trials out of the way, it's time to answer that age-old question, "free trial or freemium, and what the heck is the difference?"

Free trials and freemiums both give leads access to your content for free. They differ in one very important way, however. Free trials give leads the chance to test out your entire offering for a limited amount of time. Freemiums, on the other hand, give leads access to a small segment of what you have to offer that they have access to forever, for free. For creators, this might mean that freemium members or followers get access to your email newsletter and three new pieces of content each month, for as long as they're a freemium member. Free trial leads would get access to everything, but only for a limited time.

Which to Choose?

The freemium model is popular in the SaaS market, with software providers offering "forever free" plans with limited features and functionality. Creators can successfully use this model, too. It's just a matter of deciding what freebies you want to offer. The right model to choose for your business or membership site is whichever resonates most with your target audience.

How to Use Free Trials to Convert More Followers

There are three key ways you can use free trials to convert more followers that we're going to cover here:

  • Use free trials to overcome customer objections
  • Use free trials to bring in more leads and customers
  • Use the right free trial length to encourage conversions

As you'll see, free trials can go a long way toward attracting a larger audience, filling your sales funnel, and getting more conversions for your content business.

Use Free Trials to Overcome Customer Objections

There is any number of reasons a potential customer may have to not convert. And most of them have nothing to do with whether or not your product is actually any good. Leads might wonder if they'll use whatever it is you're offering, or if it's too expensive, or how it's different from the last creator they followed whose content went south weeks later.

When you're face-to-face with people, it might be easy to have a quick discussion and help them move past their objections. But when your business happens online and largely without personal interaction, removing those barriers to conversion can be tough. Fortunately, free trials are a great way to tackle these objections head-on.

With a free trial, your lead gets a chance to check out the goods and convince themselves that it's worth it. Of course, that means you better bring the thunder.

Use Free Trials to Bring In More Leads and Customers

If you're running a membership site and want to get more members, free trials are pretty much a must-do. Free trials let users scope out your content before they have to pony up the dough. And, a free trial gives you a chance to woo new leads.

To make sure you're bringing the right leads into your free trial, you'll want to outline the benefits of your membership tiers and make the downside of not taking you up on your offer a non-starter. You could try limiting memberships on certain tiers to make them more exclusive, encouraging members to reach out during their free trial period, and making it really easy for free trials to convert to paying members.

It's also going to help you out to have a lead nurturing plan in place to get your free trial users onboarded and enjoying the perks membership has to offer so much so that they can't bear to be left out in the cold at the end of their trial period.

Use the Right Free Trial Length to Encourage Conversions

Free trials should be as long as they need to be to encourage your leads to convert. For B2B companies, the standard is 14–30 days. B2C companies tend to offer shorter free trials (seven days or less). If you can afford a longer free trial period for your content or membership business, we encourage you to offer one. The longer you give leads to be dazzled by your exclusive content, the better your chances are to convert them.

So, Do Free Trials Increase Sales for Creators?

There's no doubt that free trials can be a little tricky for creators. If you run a membership site, it's likely that you have a recurring monthly payment model, which makes it a lot easier to convert free trials. However, nobody likes being trapped into something that they don't use because they forgot to cancel their free trial. That's a sure-fire way to turn a potential lead so far off that they tell the world about it. We recommend offering free trials and sending a few messages alerting your free trial users a few days before their free trial expires, so they can make the decision themselves.

Beyond that, the info, tips, and tools we've included here will get you well on your way toward attracting, convincing, and converting more customers for your content business.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the benefits of offering a free trial?

The benefits of offering free trials are:
- Building your audience
- Providing clarity around your offer
- Getting more leads
- Collecting feedback

What are the drawbacks of offering a free trial?

The disadvantages of offering free trials are:
- Potential for wasted time (yours and your users')
- Potential for losing money

What if I didn't convert?

Don't just let those non-converts go! They can provide a wealth of information that you can use to refine your offer or even winback the sale. Reach out to leads that didn't convert to find out why.

How long should my free trial offer last?

Your free trial should last as long as it needs to in order to show the value in what you have to offer. For creators, you might offer a free month so leads can get a sense of everything that you provide to subscribers in a month's time. Ultimately, you need to decide what works best for you and your audience. You want to provide people enough time to be able to make a decision but not so much time that you're giving away more content than you need to be.

What is freemium?

Freemium is a customer acquisition model in which you provide free but limited access to your content offering without a time constraint.

About the Author
Jacinda Santora is a copywriter, marketing consultant, and owner of JMS Copy. She enjoys using her SEO expertise combined with experience in and a deep love for all things marketing to create high-quality marketing-related content