I have no doubt about it, if the product or the service is of high quality, then, the best marketing is the free trial.
This way, people can test the product/service for free and if they like it, then they end up buying it.
I have been using an awesome word processor called WriteRoom for a while, and yesterday, I downloaded another awesome software called TaskPaper. Both software was developed by Jesse Grosjean of Hog Bay Software. He is offering a free trial of the complete software, no sign up needed. If you like it, and I really did, you end up buying it.
This is fairly common when it comes to software, but not as common when it comes to other products and services.
For instance, I have just joined a health club. I had to join it for 12 months to get the discount. The health club is brand new, it hasn’t even opened yet, so no other people (except the ones working there) have been inside. What I would have preferred was that they offered a two-week free trial, and after this trial, offered a discount (the same one I just signed up for) for the next 12 months. Only then, will they know for sure if their members are really satisfied from the moment they join the health club.
Sometimes when you visit the local grocery store, you get free samples of various food. If you like the samples, you might end up buying.
Too many companies think that they are using the power of free trial marketing, when all they are really doing is applying the money back guarantee. This is not by far as effective. With the money back guarantee, the customers have to pay, and if they don’t enjoy the product or the service, they can ask for their money. Few people will want to tell the company that their product or service sucks, and that they’d like to get a refund.
Customers like to have the money back guarantee opportunity, it works from a marketing perspective. People think that they will ask for a refund. What they end up doing instead is canceling the service or stop using the product without asking for a refund.
One of my local video stores offers a guarantee, if people don’t like the movie they rented, they can get another one for free. They have had this guarantee for several years, but I have never heard of someone who have used it though. I have watched a lot of “bad” movies, and I should probably have told the people in the store, but I always think it’s my own fault. Why did I rent the latest Steven Seagal movie, when I could have just checked the reviews at the Internet Movie Database?
In the end, it’s all about the quality of the products and services. If the quality is superb, use the free trial. It’s the most powerful marketing technique.