When Serge Salager, CEO and Founder of Retarget Links, a Link Retargeting Service and a budding SaaS startup was quizzed on what he thought was the biggest mistake they've made so far, this is what he had to say:
During our MVP we gave users a one-month free trial and then charged a monthly subscription. This kept our costs low but prevented users from testing the service beyond the first month. It also created some friction when we had to ask them to pay. So for now at least, the service is free so that our users can create audiences, and we only charge when ads are served.
Fix a trial too short, and you risk not giving your users enough leeway to understand the value of the product. Fix a trial too long, and you fail to create a sense of urgency and give freeloaders a chance to game the system.
You've built a product with a target audience in mind. Now, correlate how long your target audience would take to evaluate the product for their different use cases, given the complexity of it. And you get your magic number.
But we know it's simpler said than done. It involves experiments, a good understanding of the market, and a teeny-tiny bit of intuition too.
Sometimes, the more someone uses a product, the more they get hooked to it. Let's take productivity tools like Basecamp, HootSuite etc, for example. These companies provide a 30-day free trial because gauging if their solutions actually fulfill what they promise (to increase productivity within teams) takes time.
Sometimes, the user already has a good sense of understanding of what a product does, and a short window is enough to test their particular use cases. Ex. Intercom, Shopify etc. are big brands that give a 14-day free trial.
Chargebee's Trial Management lets you create trials of all lengths with as many (one-click) extensions as you need. Here's how you do it
Trial periods, free, paid, credit card or not are only the tip of the iceberg. How you actually make users believe that you've married their needs to the product's capabilities, within this period, is what will drive your customer acquisition metrics and let you leverage this beauty of a marketing strategy. If your free-to-paid conversion is taking a hit, start paying extra attention to onboarding and product education if you are not already doing so.
Chargebee lets you automate trial ending reminder emails when the trial runs its course. Customize email templates to your fancy.