CRM Authors: Xenia von Wedel, Ian Khan, PR.com Newswire, Steve Mordue

Related Topics: CRM

CRM: Blog Feed Post

Is Offering Free Trial ‘Green’?

When we talk of popular and effective ‘Call to Actions’, free trials have always, managed to make the list

When we talk of popular and effective ‘Call to Actions’, free trials have always, managed to make the list, in both the B2C and B2B industries.

Here are few questions and thoughts which are usually considered while offering “Free Trial” options on a corporate website -

- Placement effectiveness of ‘Free Trial’ call to action?

Free trial generally is the primary call to action and gets the top billing in terms of placement – above fold along with the key value proposition or image. Sometimes it is even repeated twice in a smaller print below the fold or on the top along with the login.

- Do ‘Free Trials’  give away too much?

Well, depends on the confidence you have in your product and how hands-on are the ‘researchers’ in your domain. Free trial remains most comprehensive form of evaluation for any product or offering.

- How much time is ideal for a ‘Free Trial’ offer - 1 week, 2 week or 1 month?

From a sales perspective, it always makes sense to offer the shortest time and then on an individual case to case basis, make exceptions where required.

- How to create a sense of urgency around ‘Free Trial’?

By indicating the free trial is available for a limited time in a subscript, one can create  a sense of urgency around the call to action. You can also mention “No credit card data required” in the subscript which would emphasise – “no obligations for taking the trial”.

- Does it make sense to provide more Information around ‘Free Trial’ tabs?

Providing links to video, demo, tutorials or other resources may result in more click-through for these links as prospects would like to read more about the product & value proposition before engaging in a trial.

- Is providing dummy data in a sandbox better user experience than ‘Free Trial’?

Depends on whether your product produces data in a free trial which can show the prospects true value and new perspectives which they would find difficult to associate otherwise. If yes, then nothing can beat a free trial option.

Overall, offering free trials is a practical proposition and works wonders from a prospect’s perspective, for it is an opportunity to go beyond the marketing collateral and jargon and check if the product or service being marketed matches the claims made.

But it seems not all agree with this theory; recently an Atlanta-based marketing automation provider, wrote to one of our prospects that LeadForce1 is “green and immature to offer a free trial”.

As a B2B marketer, do you agree that offering free trials to prospects is a sign of being ‘green’?
If that was the case, would we see the biggest names ( CiscoSalesforceWebexAutodesk etc.to cite some examples)  in the industry to the latest entrants offering free trials for their products and services?

From my personal experience as a Marketing and Sales professional, I can say that, free trial is a great option for B2B companies, if data produced during the trial period highlights the value of the product and provides with a strong motivation to buy.

The free product trial experience goes a step further than making available dummy data in a sandbox environment, as it shows how valuable the product is in the prospect’s own environment, thus reinforcing the value proposition.

Why should you offer Free Trials

It is a universal rule followed by most customers around the world in any industry; they want to get the maximum returns for their investments, and what better way to let a customer know if a product/solution fits his requirement than let him test it in his own environment.

Free trials help a prospect gain familiarity with the product, its features; not just in a sandbox environment, but right in the production environment. If the prospect does not like something in the promo run, prospect can voice his opinion and feedback, which can find its way back to the vendor company, who may just be able to accommodate the suggestions in the paid version.

Since most B2B decisions are taken by a group of individuals, going with a certain vendor becomes easier if there is data to showcase the merits of the solution offered by them. Free trials help put together such convincing data.

Also, a free trial allows you to make your first contact with the buyer, it allows you to present your case and build a relationship with the decision makers, which can affect the final purchase decision.

When to offer Free Trials

Offering free trials of course depends on the kind of solution you offer and the time and resources required to put in practice the solution. Free trials are more an option for companies, whose solutions are cloud based or can be downloaded and used without much effort.

Also, only companies who believe in the strength of their solution and are confident about its value proposition should venture out with a free trial. You would not want a prospect to see through the mismatch in your marketing claims and real user experience.

Companies which opt for free trials do so because they are confident that their product is going to make a difference to their customers, who eventually, after the expiration of free trial phase are likely to buy the product because of the promise and value they see in it, after having tried it.

How to offer Free Trials

Just having a free trial lead bait on your website is not enough. Free trials are more successful, when you have a plan in place as to how you will ensure the client gets to experience and use your solution most effectively.

  • Ensure your free trial offer is visible and prominently displayed across your website.

  • There is no set rule when it comes to the timeline for a free trial, it can vary from a week to 3 months depending on the solution you offer. Decide on your trial offer period, by analyzing the time it would take for a prospect to truly understand and experience all features of your solution.

  • Provide clear instructions on how to download, install and use the solution. Your supporting marketing collateral should clearly highlight features the prospect should check out.

  • There should be a customer support available, which the prospect can approach to seek help and clarifications.

  • You should also take feedback from the prospect, once he completes 50% of his trial period. Advice him if required on how to optimize his user experience, if he missed on some aspects in the initial phase.

  • Once the trial period is over, connect with the prospect and find out about his user experience. Spend time finding out about his reservations if any, and try to convince him on how you will help him work around these issues.

Remember a prospect who opts for a trial is a sale-ready Lead and needs careful handling and Lead nurturing before he finally decides to close the deal.

Free trials are awesome as lead baits as they help build credibility and provide concrete proof, that the company’s marketing claims match the quality and content of its solution.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Merlin Francis

Merlin has over a decade of combined experience in the field of print and television Media, PR and Corporate communications. This includes her 3 year stint as an entrepreneur running a successful public relations and event management consultancy. Merlin has an inquisitive and innovative approach to strategy, which helps in giving her a deeper insight into the different aspects of marketing. At LeadFormix, she is part of the core strategic team and also handles public relations, social media and backlink building activities for the company and its clients. As an individual she believes that hands-on experience is the best way to learn. Prior to LeadFormix, she has worked in various capacities with companies like Weber Shandwick, TV Today Network, ANI Reuters Television and Asian Age. @Merlron

IoT & Smart Cities Stories
@DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo, taking place November 12-13 in New York City, NY, is co-located with 22nd international CloudEXPO | first international DXWorldEXPO and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time t...
CloudEXPO New York 2018, colocated with DXWorldEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City and will bring together Cloud Computing, FinTech and Blockchain, Digital Transformation, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, AI, Machine Learning and WebRTC to one location.
DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO are the world's most influential, independent events where Cloud Computing was coined and where technology buyers and vendors meet to experience and discuss the big picture of Digital Transformation and all of the strategies, tactics, and tools they need to realize their goals. Sponsors of DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO benefit from unmatched branding, profile building and lead generation opportunities.
In this Women in Technology Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo, moderated by Anne Plese, Senior Consultant, Cloud Product Marketing at Verizon Enterprise, Esmeralda Swartz, CMO at MetraTech; Evelyn de Souza, Data Privacy and Compliance Strategy Leader at Cisco Systems; Seema Jethani, Director of Product Management at Basho Technologies; Victoria Livschitz, CEO of Qubell Inc.; Anne Hungate, Senior Director of Software Quality at DIRECTV, discussed what path they took to find their spot within the tec...
The deluge of IoT sensor data collected from connected devices and the powerful AI required to make that data actionable are giving rise to a hybrid ecosystem in which cloud, on-prem and edge processes become interweaved. Attendees will learn how emerging composable infrastructure solutions deliver the adaptive architecture needed to manage this new data reality. Machine learning algorithms can better anticipate data storms and automate resources to support surges, including fully scalable GPU-c...
Disruption, Innovation, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, Leadership and Management hear these words all day every day... lofty goals but how do we make it real? Add to that, that simply put, people don't like change. But what if we could implement and utilize these enterprise tools in a fast and "Non-Disruptive" way, enabling us to glean insights about our business, identify and reduce exposure, risk and liability, and secure business continuity?
Nicolas Fierro is CEO of MIMIR Blockchain Solutions. He is a programmer, technologist, and operations dev who has worked with Ethereum and blockchain since 2014. His knowledge in blockchain dates to when he performed dev ops services to the Ethereum Foundation as one the privileged few developers to work with the original core team in Switzerland.
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that Telecom Reseller has been named "Media Sponsor" of CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO 2018 New York, which will take place on November 11-13, 2018 in New York City, NY. Telecom Reseller reports on Unified Communications, UCaaS, BPaaS for enterprise and SMBs. They report extensively on both customer premises based solutions such as IP-PBX as well as cloud based and hosted platforms.
"Akvelon is a software development company and we also provide consultancy services to folks who are looking to scale or accelerate their engineering roadmaps," explained Jeremiah Mothersell, Marketing Manager at Akvelon, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"Space Monkey by Vivent Smart Home is a product that is a distributed cloud-based edge storage network. Vivent Smart Home, our parent company, is a smart home provider that places a lot of hard drives across homes in North America," explained JT Olds, Director of Engineering, and Brandon Crowfeather, Product Manager, at Vivint Smart Home, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.