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Last week I met with two different people to talk and riff on optimization, and both had polarized views on how a free trial should be executed. One, a veteran of several big software companies in the valley, strongly advised on "pulling as much as you can" from the free trial. His stance was simply, demonstrate the value simply, and use the additional features as leverage to activate. The second felt just as strongly about giving trial users all the features. "People won't sign up or upgrade for features they haven't used or don't know about." It's a great debate. Thoughts?

  • AP

    Alex Pyatetsky

    almost 4 years ago #

    I'll echo @Shitanshu, the logical assumption is that you should let them use the entire feature set, such that when they're locked out at the end of the trial period they say "NOOOO! I NEED THAT!!!" and rush to trade their money for the benefits your provide them.

    The purpose of your trial is to convince someone beyond any shadow of a doubt that your product is worth their money. As such, not only should you logically give away all features, but during this time, you should throw everything you've got at customer success. Send them your quick start guide, offer a call with a customer success manager, fine-tune your abandonment series. Also, try to determine what is the "minimum value producing action" and have them take it as fast as possible. If you're MailChimp, that means sending an email campaign. If you're Survey Monkey, it means creating a survey that actually gets X responses, etc. Don't kid yourself about this. Merely creating a survey isn't enough. They need to actually send or embed it somewhere and start collecting responses for it to be valuable.

    You won't be able to babysit your user's use for the lifetime of their subscription, but during your free trial, it should be your mortal purpose to have them experience a substnatial win with your product.

    More controvercial is whether you want to take their card at the beginning of the trial or give them an opportunity to start the trial without putting their payment method on file. Both have their benefits - the prior reduces friction to becoming a paid user, but increases signup friction, the latter does the inverse. Tout famously improved it's revenue funnel by requiring a credit card before the free trial, although this isn't the industry standard. Which will work for you? Again, you can only know by testing.

    Also, question whether the traditional free trial is right for you. An enterprise client of mine sees way higher close rate with "intensive test drives," - 4-hour guided sessions with the actual users of the product. The idea here is that the Sales Director/Associate knows the product way better than the user and can walk them straight through a win, eliminating the unpredictability of the self-serve trial (e.g. attention gets highjacked, aversion to reading instructions, garbage-in-garbage-out test cases, etc.). Obviously, this depends on your product's complexity and price point, but the wisdom is worth skimming, however suitable to your situation.

    Hope that helps.

  • SS

    Shitanshu shekhar

    almost 4 years ago #

    It's very simple,

    think of this what if I say come and eat at my place but just 3 dishes for free and if you like them from here on buy all the 20 that I offer for rest of your life


    Come just eat a spoon of all the dishes that I offer and if you like them, but to have more of it.

    What matter is if your features are worthy and you think after using it for once the user will feel positive to opt for it, go ahead let them eat all but just one spoon. ;-)

  • AA

    Anuj Adhiya

    almost 4 years ago #

    I wonder if the question and the debate you referenced are talking about two different things ie the Free Trial vs Freemium debate.

    @lincolnmurphy captured this beautifully (and definitively imo) in this post:

    In a nutshell,
    a. Freemium is here you give away access to some or all of your product for free forever, without a time limit.
    There may be other limits – features, usage, etc. – but there’s no time limit; you can use the product for free, forever.

    b. With Free Trials are just that … a free trial of a paid (commercial, premium, valuable) product.

    So the very notion of providing feature limits means you're considering a freemium model (ie no time limit) and by definition not talking about a free trial scenario anymore.

  • KO

    Karina Oleskevich

    almost 4 years ago #

    I vote FULL FEATURES !

    Users can't full understand what they're missing on without trying all of the features. The paid versions can then segment the levels of subscription based on the number of features included in the software. Once they have worked with the full extent of a program including all of the deluxe features, I fully believe they would be more likely to upgrade to a larger package.

  • RA

    Robert Adler

    over 3 years ago #

    I support the idea of trials with full features.

    I work in a company that offers CRO tools. At the moment we have 7 days trial with so-called full package available for every client - no limitations whatsoever.

    I often hear clients say they appreciate having a chance to try a platform with all available features as it helps them to decide easier whether or not it suits their needs.

    Clients who do not intend to pay from the day one will convert once the trial is over. However, those who come to in a search of good solutions for their business, make the most of their free time and eventually convert to paying customers, because they know exactly what they are paying for.