Online Marketing Strategy: Create an Offer When Trying to Close a Web Page

Many companies, whether they’re aware of it or not, use a similar sales technique on the internet. They may have a web page (or web sites) that they think is pretty cool and useful. But in order to grow their audience, they have to offer something for free.

In other words, if you come back to their site over and over again, the goal is to convince you to make a purchase. But you don’t make a purchase if you don’t think the product is good enough or if you’re not seeing the advantages of owning it. The only way to accomplish this is with a trial offer.

Why Offer Trials Online?

Since the dawn of time, humankind has been offering trials. But not always over the internet. Sometimes you’d have to call customer service and beg for a chance to try the product. Sometimes you’d have to wait a few weeks for the product to be delivered. Not exactly what customers want today.

When you offer a trial, you’re giving consumers the opportunity to try out your product or service without having to make a commitment. In other words, you’re offering them a chance to buy low and sell high.

Creating a Killer Trial Offer

In his book, The E-Myth, Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin, talks about how he got started in business. One of the key pointers he makes is to “find the problem, find the answer, and find the solution” for your customers. In other words, you must understand what is keeping your customers awake at night and devise a trial that addresses these problems.

If you try to sell them a car without having first asked them what they need, you can bet they’ll be kicking you out of their dealership before you even get to second floor.

Now, it’s important to note that not every product or service is meant to be sold through a trial. Some companies, such as Microsoft, do a great job of ensuring that their software is always improving. So if you’re testing their product out, you’ll always be getting the latest and greatest. This, however, can be a pain for consumers who want to try out previous versions.

The Perfect Trial

In many cases, you’ll find that the perfect trial is the one that solves both of your problems. Let’s say you’re selling a software product for businesses. You’ve got your technical support department (tech support), and you’ve got your marketing department (marketing), which is trying to get businesses to sign up. The perfect trial, in this case, would be one that gives tech support some piece of the software while also giving marketing a database of customers to work with.

If you’ve got a streaming service that you think is fantastic and wants to grow its audience, you might consider offering a free trial to users. But you should do this only if you’ve got a quality control team that ensures that customers are getting the content that they’re paying for. Otherwise, you’re just throwing away potential revenue.

Pro-Forma Invoicing

One of the reasons that trials are so powerful is because they allow you to bill your customers before the trial ends. This, in turn, gives you the opportunity to fix any outstanding issues before charging them. You don’t want to charge a customer for a product that they haven’t tried out just yet, because this is both inconvenient and possibly costly.

When you send out pro-forma invoices, you’re not only giving your customers the convenience of being able to pay on one bill, you’re also ensuring that you’ve got the money you’re due. When you send out the invoice, you’ll also need to include the date upon which the service was provided. This gives you the opportunity to track the status of your trial customers, determining whether or not they’re still using your product after the trial ends.

Generating Leads From Your Trial

One of the best things about trials is that you can use the information you collect to generate leads. Some companies, like HubSpot, use their trial customers to generate leads for their own marketing team. Simply put, if you’ve got a trial customer on your hands, you’ve also got a potential buyer who’ll want to purchase your product or service. It’s just a matter of getting them to come to you instead of you having to go to them.

The more trials and the more products you try out, the more you’ll learn. And the more you learn, the more you can offer. It’s an endless cycle.

Credibility & Trust

There are many benefits to offering a trial. Not least among these is the fact that it builds credibility and trust with your customers. If you’re already providing value to your customers by giving them free content or samples, you’re laying the groundwork for them to trust you in the future.

When you offer a trial, you’re showing that you’re a responsible and established company. You’re also giving customers the opportunity to try out your product or service and decide for themselves whether or not it’s right for them. And finally, you’re demonstrating that you’re confident in your product’s or service’s value. When a new customer comes into your shop, you can bet they’ll be feeling a little bit of trust and security.

If you want to be able to sell products and services to your customers, whether or not they’ve tried them out, you’ve got to offer them. Especially online.