Free trials. Ah, yes. Don’t you love them? What better way to test the waters and show customers why they should keep that membership active. For many subscription-based companies, this is where they will either grow tenfold or fold under pressure. It’s easy to give something away for free and it’s sometimes a pain to get them to stay. To better understand this, we have to see things from a customers perspective in order to keep them coming back. Like courting in a sense.
Companies that offer free trials (or freemiums) should understand that trials are feelers for customers who haven’t tried the product rather than an end all be all. Understanding this will help increase retention in your product. In order to increase sales, you’ll have to think from both the buyer and the sellers perspective.
From a customer standpoint, you’d sign up to try a product and most likely cancel before the trial is up. This is the deciding phase in which you will either become a returning customer or not. If you like the product enough, you will renew your subscription. If you don’t, you get to walk away with a free product. No harm, no foul. You may even ask yourself “Do I like this enough to subscribe?” This comes across everyone's minds when they look into making that decision. Some customers will even swear by the product, but will never make the move to fully committing at the payment level. Nothing is really concrete, as some people commit right after the trial and some take a while to come around.
Take it from someone who used Spotify for the last 8 years and finally upgraded to premium this year. As much as I enjoy the features I didn’t commit because, at the time, I didn’t feel it was necessary for me to do so. For me, I had the mentality of not buying the cow when I can get the milk for free. I could listen to all of my favorite songs and the commercials didn’t bother me enough to upgrade. I even took advantage of a 3-month free trial which I enjoyed a bit. What got me to upgrade was when I started traveling and wanted to hear my songs on the go. The offline feature became more necessary than ever, especially when I’m on a road trip or in spots with spotty wi-fi. After dodging ad after ad for years, I felt like the least I can do is commit.