The most expensive thing about launching a new product is getting people to try it out, especially when there’s zero-risk to them. Getting someone to try out your new product or service without paying for it is one of the hardest things to do. And even then, it can be difficult to convince them to give your product a try when there are so many competitors in the market. 

Luckily, there’s a solution. And it’s something that you can use to get your product tried, tested, and proven to your audience: The free trial.

What is a free trial? Well, it’s when you offer a new product or service and you give it to people to try out for free. The free trial is basically your chance to prove to potential customers (and, in turn, earn their trust) that what you’re offering is valuable, worth their time, and, above all, effective.

Now, you should understand that a free trial doesn’t mean that your product/service is actually free. In most cases, you’ll have to pay for some kind of subscription or use of the product/service in the trial phase. But, as a trial advocate, you should see this as a good thing. Because most people don’t like spending money on anything unless they have to. And even then, they prefer to find cheaper alternatives. So, in most cases, they’ll prefer to not have to spend money on a product/service that they don’t enjoy or value.

Why Should You Include a Free Trial in Your Marketing Plan?

Including a free trial in your marketing plan is a great way to gain trust with potential customers and prove to them that what you’re offering is, in fact, valuable. 

The best part is that you don’t have to spend a lot of money on marketing. Since you’re essentially giving away the product/service for free during the trial phase, you shouldn’t have to spend more than you would on a single marketing campaign for a traditional product.

As a rule of thumb, you should include a free trial in your marketing plan whenever you’re offering a product or service that you believe is valuable to your audience — and that they can try out for free.

How Do You Determine What To Give Away For Free During The Trial?

Giving away free samples of your product/service and determining what to give away for free during the trial are two different things, however, you should approach them similarly. 

The first step in the determination process is to consider the value that the free trial gives you, your company, and your product. Value can be in many forms, such as credibility, exposure, or monetizable leads — just to name a few.

What you choose to give away for free during the trial depends on your specific goals for the campaign and the value that you hope to gain from the trial.

The Credibility Advantage

Credibility is the biggest advantage of offering a free trial. When a potential customer is presented with a reputable source for information, they’re more likely to trust what that source has to say. And, in turn, that could mean purchasing whatever product you’re promoting, service you’re offering, or otherwise taking action because they believe in you.

Giving something away for free during the trial simply builds credibility with your audience. Whether you’re trying to convince people to buy your product or service or, alternatively, try out your offered product/service, giving something away for free during the trial is a good first step.

The Exposure Advantage

Giving something away for free during the trial is another great way to expose your product or service to potential customers. When you offer a free sample of your product/service, you’re essentially giving them free advertising. 

Since everyone likes free advertising, you’re essentially getting free advertisement for your product/service. And, since people are already aware of your product/service, they’re more likely to remember your offer and visit your site, read your blog post, or watch your YouTube video simply because you gave them free advertisement.

As you can see, there are many advantages to offering a free trial. Now, you might be wondering how you can offer a free trial to potential customers when you don’t have enough money to pay for the product/service or, at least, not without risking your financial stability.

The Leads Advantage

Offering a free trial gives you the opportunity to gather leads — that is, prospective customers who are interested in your product/service. For example, if you’re trying to promote a new clothing line for women, you could start a blog post with an offer of free women’s clothing, an affiliated link, and some great insights on the topic. 

Since you have a potential audience who is already interested in your product/service (clothing for women), you can use that interest to direct them to a landing page, where you can offer additional information about the line. 

From that point, you can measure the effectiveness of your lead generation strategy with a tool like Google Analytics. You can see how many leads you’ve generated and how much traffic you’ve received — all from a simple blog post.

Free Trials, Paid Subscription, Or Both?

Like most things in life, there are pros and cons to both options. 

If you decide that you want to give away free samples of your product/service during the trial period, you have two options: You can either require people to sign up for a paid subscription in order to try the product/service — or you can give the product/service away free and then try to collect payment after the trial.

The first option is a lot cheaper for you since you’re not required to pay for the trial (in most cases). And, to make sure that your trial doesn’t end before you can generate enough revenue to cover your costs, you can always require people to sign up for a paid subscription during the trial.

The second option is a lot more lucrative for you since you’re not required to pay for the trial (in most cases). But, you have to make sure that, when the trial ends, you have enough money to cover your costs. 

So, in most cases, you’ll have to decide whether to include a free trial or a paid subscription in your product/service.

Which One Is More Effective (And, Which One Should You Choose)?

The answer to this question is somewhere in between. 

If you have enough money to cover your costs after you give away the free trial but you decide to give it away anyway, you’re effectively creating an audience who trusts your judgment and believes that what you’re offering is valuable. 

As a trial advocate, you should seriously consider this option. You can then use that audience to promote your product/service and earn a commission off their sales.

On the other hand, if you don’t have enough money to cover your costs after you give away the free trial and you decide to require people to sign up for a paid subscription to try the product/service, you’re effectively creating an audience who doesn’t believe in your judgment and doesn’t trust what you’re offering. 

As a result, they may not purchase whatever product or service you’re promoting. Or, if they do purchase it, they’ll do so less frequently since they don’t believe that what you’re offering is valuable. And, since you’re not providing any value, you have no one to blame but yourself if you don’t make any money off their sales.

There, now you know the advantages and disadvantages of both options. You can then choose the best fit for your specific situation.

Include a free trial in your marketing plan, and you’ll gain credibility with your audience, expose your product/service to more people, and, most importantly, make sure that you’ll cover your costs.