Why free trials could be the marketing masterstroke your business needs

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The battle for streaming supremacy in the UK has taken an exciting new twist in recent weeks, as the launch of Disney+ means the entertainment giant’s impressive line-up of blockbuster films and TV shows is now available under one roof for the first time.

Considering the huge popularity of the brand’s classic animations, Marvel action, and Star Wars content, you would expect that take-up of the service would be high. However, despite that, Disney have still chosen to take the rather surprising step of offering access to the platform for free for a limited period.

Giving it away

New subscribers to Disney+ can get access to the service for seven days free of charge, with the move making the platform just the latest in a long line of services to embrace the idea of a free trial.

For example, new Netflix customers get free access to their platform for 30 days, while Amazon recently extended its Prime Videos Channels free trial to the same length of time. In addition, Roku also confirmed it was making its premium streaming services free for a month too, but the phenomenon is not just limited to TV and film, however.

It is fairly common in gaming as well, as it was recently revealed that The Elder Scrolls Online is offering a two-week free trial as part of the launch of a new quest. The world of iGaming is also another area that embraces freebies, with some sites giving people the chance to try online slot games for no charge too.

For some businesses, the idea of giving away access to products and services may not seem like the best idea. After all, when you have spent a lot of time and resources developing products, why would you want to simply offer them for free? However, there are plenty of reasons why taking the step could prove to be a stellar piece of marketing that even leads to an increase in sales.

Discovering what you’re all about

One reason why a free trial works so well is that it simply gives your target audience the chance to see what your services are all about. Offering access for no charge gives them an opportunity to properly assess what your company can offer them, and whether it is ultimately the right fit for wants and needs as consumers. Furthermore, if you impress this new customer base, there is a good chance of them staying on beyond the trial period.

Free trials may also be fruitful as they offer little risk to customers. Put simply, they do not have to spend their hard-earned cash at any point in the process, which may remove any reticence that is holding them back from looking at what you do. Finally, everyone simply loves a freebie, and it may actually reflect well on your business that you’re willing to give away access even for a limited time for no charge.

However, there are other elements to bear in mind when using free trials though. For example, back in 2015, Science Daily reported on a study in the Journal of Marketing Research which found that customers attracted to free trials behave differently to others. More specifically, it revealed free trial customers can disappear quickly after such a period, but added that they were more flexible than standard customers. This meant they were generally more responsive to marketing and details on their own usage – and that in turn may lead to greater retention.

Could it boost your business?

Considering we all want our business ventures to ultimately prove profitable, the idea of giving something away for free might have, at one point, been scoffed at. However, as the examples above show, it has become a common way for some brands to showcase their services.

As consumers are now hugely familiar with this form of marketing promotion, it may be worth examining your own services to see whether you could learn from or utilise such a strategy. While it may not fit every sector, it could have big benefits for some.