Subscription Management

What is Free Trial?

An acquisition model where a product/service is offered to customers for a limited period of time, for free, so that they can learn about the product and discover value before actually paying for it.

When does ‘Free Trial’ come into the picture?

A free trial model, along with its counterpart the freemium model, is a handy way of letting your SaaS product sell itself. By opting for a free trial of your product, the customer gets a timebox for using your product - ranging from a week to a month or even two. A free trial lets users experience the product first-hand, understand its functionalities and see if the product delivers the right value for them before buying it.

The magic of free trial only helps simplify your acquisition process, your SaaS business must be able to guide users through every stage of the product and assist them wherever possible. This can be implemented by providing quality customer support, offering incentives (read coupons, discounts, et cetera), and offering a smooth onboarding experience.

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When is ‘Free Trial’ NOT the right model for you?

You can’t follow a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to free trial. For the model to work, you need to answer a few important questions that actually decide if this is the right method for your company:

  • Does your product need white-gloved assistance?

    If it does, then there is no guarantee that the trial user will derive the maximum benefit out of it in a limited period of time. The product at best should be easy to use and at worst be well assisted by means of tutorials and guides.

  • Is your business built for dealing with large volumes? The need for instant support when dealing with product issues grows rapidly with an increase in potential prospects. If you are a niche player, and your SaaS business does not have a self-serve capability to meet the support requirements, free trial might not be the right choice for your company.

  • Do users feel engaged when using your product? Converting trial users into paying customers is the most important part of a free trial, and a key deciding factor is customer engagement. Your SaaS must be able to provide an active onboarding to the customers during the free trial period, and keep them engaged with the product and your business.

Additional Reads

You can refer to the following to learn more about the free trial model, and about the various pros and cons of using it: