Offering free products or trials can seem like a fantastic idea for persuading people to use and talk about what you’re offering. There are a number of points to consider here and the impact of such a tactic has the potential for positive or negative impact.
One of the main downfalls of giving things away is the quality of consumer you attract. There are plenty of people who are more than happy to use your product without any intention of further custom. This type of consumer is usually attracted when inefficient online advertisements are implemented, which appeal to a wide and generalised demographic.
If done correctly though, offering things for free can increase the value of your product in the long run. A great way of finding high quality leads is through running hyper-targeted advertising, specifically to people who have already shown an interest in the kind of product you’re offering. A free trial validates your hypothesis that your product will be useful to a client and, crucially, allows you to target a client when there is already some stickiness – your client knows you and has used your product to good effect (hopefully!).
Once the promotional period is over, the product should change slightly, or offer something additionally beneficial – throughout the trial period you can advertise these new, better features to the clients on the trial version of your product.
For instance, products such as computer software offer free trials so that the potential customers can gauge whether or not it’s right for them. During this free trial, there may be no opportunities to save their files, and other primary features may be restricted. This way, a customer can form a certain level of trust with your product while not using its full facilities, which often leads to a subscription.
If offering a physical product, such as produce or food delivery, the real value of a free trial will be to show your prospect the value that you can add to their life. After the trial is over, you would ideally want that prospect wondering how they could have lived without your product or service and shuddering at the thought of giving it up.
The upfront cost to you may be relatively large, but if you know the lifetime value (LTV) of a customer you should feel relatively confident in the amount that you are able to spend on a free trial such that over time that client will still offer you profit.