Joy of Tech Column: Trials and Temptations

For decades marketers have known that low risk increases sales. Whether it’s a money-back-guarantee or a free trial, it’s bound to help attract customers.

The goal of a paysite is to attract visitors and convert them into paying customers. Many times the visitor doesn’t intend to become a paying customer. A solid tour combined with a solid trial area is a very powerful sales strategy.

The concept isn’t new. Trial areas have been around since the infancy of paysites. You’ll find a low-priced three- or five-day trial option on most sites’ signup forms. Timed trials are the norm. The premise is simple. Visitors join for a trial, get to see everything inside the site, watch and/or download as many videos as they like and then decide if a full membership to the site is worth paying for. The problem with this is that it’s too easy to say no to a full-price upgrade and most trial users don’t convert.

The modern alternative to this is a limited trial that lets site operators market a “no-risk” offer. We’ve been installing limited trial areas for Elevated X customers for the past four years with great results. Limited trials are so effective that it’s really surprising more sites aren’t using them. Sites that don’t use these tools are missing out on sales.

It’s win-win. You get to give a trial member something of value and at the same time limit the amount of content you give them. The member is happy because there are no surprises and they’re getting something for free (or cheap) with virtually no risk. And you still have the ability to bait and tease them prior to convincing them to purchase or upgrade their membership.

You might choose to a limited trial setup that only allows access to photos. When someone clicks a video link they’re shown a page letting them know they must buy or upgrade their membership for access to videos. Or maybe you’ll only shows the first one or two video clips in each update. Or maybe a trial member only gets to download one movie per day, or five per day, 10 per week, etc. Many different configurations can be tested to maximize your trial sales and full sale conversions.

Something to consider with free trial areas is that you have a unique opportunity because you have a captive audience. By keeping a person on your site you’re giving yourself more opportunities to sell that same user. On a timed trial the user’s trial period simply ends and they no longer have access to your site. You’re relying on them either coming back or joining during the trial period. You’re giving yourself a very small chance of converting that member. As an example, if someone has access to download one high-quality video per day or per week with a limited trial, there’s a high probability that they will come back for more the following week.

Whether you run your sites using an adult CMS that gives you the ability of offering trial areas or you choose to build trial areas by hand, this is a powerful sales tool that paysite owners can add to their bag of tricks.