We have all been in a supermarket or shopping centre and been offered a taster of food by someone promoting a new product. The other day I received a small packet of breakfast cereal through the door! Whichever way it’s delivered, this is known as a free trial and it is most commonly linked to consumer products like food, face creams, toothpastes etc. and computer software. In essence anything that needs to be experienced through touch or taste or evaluated for its appropriateness. This can mean a free hair treatment if you run a salon, a free round of golf if you run a golf club, it might be a free sample platter of food if you run a restaurant/take-away. If you clean carpets, you might do a free sample clean of the smallest room in the house. A free trial is essentially the ultimate “special offer”. In other words I give you something completely for free. But do they work? Yes they do!
A recent study by a research organisation called “Marketing Experiments” showed that in a real-life test comparing two online ad pages (where one incorporated a 30-day free-trial and the other didn’t), the ad with a free trial offer delivered almost double the number of orders than the ad that had no trial offer (22 orders vs. 12). However, more interestingly the number of visits increased by a much smaller percentage (972 vs. 904). This seems to indicate that including a free trial offer brings a more targeted audience to your door, who are more likely to order. But they only work really well when they are implemented properly and there are a number of factors in promoting them:
1) Don’t Make It Too Hard…
2) Limit The “Catches”
3) Make It Habit-Forming
4) Optimise Your Advertising
The free-trial can be a very powerful sales tool, but you need to evaluate how/if you can implement it for your business and how you are going to exploit the opportunity it provides to its maximum.
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