10 Jun 7 Expert Tips & Strategies on Offering a Trial in Your Membership Site
Offering a trial to your membership site can be a very effective strategy when marketing your site and trying to pull in new members.
Giving people the ability to “try before they buy” or get results in advance is a great way of putting any doubt to rest that your site won’t deliver what it promises; and when you have people logging into your site and consuming your content it makes it easier to convince them to stick around 🙂 .
With a free trial you are giving your new members what Jay Abraham calls “Risk Reversal”. This is a great way to help to move people that might be on the fence or maybe they aren’t quite sure your membership site is exactly what they are looking for, into taking that leap and becoming a member of your site.
Since there really is no risk most people will take you up on your offer to see behind the curtains (so to speak). It helps to get them over the initial hurdle and sign up and creates exposure to your killer content.
Here are some expert tips & strategies to running a successful trial offer for your membership site, course or program.
1. Have a “Celebrity Style” on-boarding process.
Everybody’s membership site needs to have a great on-boarding process (because hey they are your VIP’s after all, right?). This is what kicks off your program, course or site and really is the first impression your members get when joining your program. Remember first impressions are everything and that really does apply to this situation.
Now, when it comes to onboarding new trial members you need to make sure that your onboarding process is perfectly in sync with the actual trial period. So this will mean having two onboarding systems in place for your site, course or program. One for those joining via your trial and one for those who have joined sans trial.
So if you have a trial period of only 2 weeks you want to ensure that your on-boarding process is aligned within that 2 week period. You want to wow them during their trial to ensure they continue on past the trial period.
2. Quick wins.
With most membership sites, courses or programs you are going to be offering information and/or solving a problem of some sort. You want to make sure that within that trial period you are able to get your members a quick win that will showcase how awesome your ability is to help them solve their problem. This makes it a no-brainer for them to see the value in your site and continue on as a member.
3. Get clear on your trial offer.
There are two options when it comes to trials. When you determine what trial type you will offer this will help you to determine what content needs to be in the onboarding process.
Option 1 (Automatic Sign Up): When the trial ends you automatically charge their card and continue on with the membership.
Option 2 (Manual Sign Up): The trail ends and they have to physically sign up for the membership program, course or site.
Now depending on your trial type you will need to make it very clear what the next step is for your members to continue their trial with you. This is information you will want to have in your on-boarding process.
Another key element in your onboarding process is to send out reminders letting them know how many days are left on their trial.
You don’t want to give an surprises by automatically billing someone when they didn’t realize it was automatic after the trial. Or vise versa you don’t want to surprise someone when they do not have access to your content anymore because they didn’t physically sign up again for your site.
4. Free vs Paid.
Obviously FAH-REE is always good.. but when you have a trail for a nominal fee (this can even be just $1) it creates a mindset shift. You are getting them to to have a little skin in the game and getting them to actually reach into their pockets and pull out their credit card.
When it comes to sales that little action is half the battle in turning a lead into a customer. This can actually increase your conversion rates from trial user to paid user.
Another key thing to think about here is that most WordPress Membership site plugins are going to require you to have your users put their credit card details in anyways for the trial offers. This is because you will be creating a subscription based sale and most merchants will need those credit card details to set that up. So, if you have a free trial but are required to ask for their card details this may deter some from signing up. But if you require a $1 for the trial you will eliminate that hesitation around giving their credit card details for your free trial.
5. Help them see into the future.
Another great tip when it comes to increasing your conversions from trial to paid is future pacing your value. So if you can show them content that is rolling out next month, training you are having next month or things along those lines.. you’re enticing then to stick around to take advantage of that great content that is forthcoming.
This is something that is easy to do when you have the type of membership site that has you rolling out new content or trainings each and every month. If you don’t have that type of membership site set-up but have monthly Q & A’s or something along those lines, you can share information on those instead to create this future pacing of value. It really just has to be something that is of value that you can talk about with them to entice them to stay.
6. Give them a lifetime trial.
Okay, I know what you are going to say how can I make any money if I give them a trial for life? Just hear me out..
Instead of offering full access under a trial for a specific amount of time you can do what they call a “Fremium” model. What this is, is you will offer a restricted lifetime trial. So they will have a certain level of access to your site for free for life. But to have full access they will need to upgrade their account to paid to have full unrestricted access.
You would have a basic level of access to your community and content (obviously you will have to provide value of some sort) which would attract them to your program and have them consuming a basic level of your content. But to get the full value of what you offer they will purchase (upgrade) to another level of membership to get everything you offer in your site, course or program. You can have two or more membership levels for your site, group or course.
You can offer teasers of your premium content so if they were to click on this content it would basically say “Sorry, you have to be a premium member to access this. To do so please upgrade to this package”.
This is a great way to show that “future pacing of value” that we discussed previously.
7. Make sure they use their trial.
Now, obviously you can have all of the strategies and tactics in the world when it comes to getting those trial users to convert to paid members. But if they don’t even use your site during the trial then it all is for not. They won’t even have the exposure to your conversion tactics in the first place.
On more occasions that you are probably aware of people will sign up for a trial and not access it. So, one killer strategy to help mitigate this is to track whether someone has logged into your site during their trial or not. If they did not access it or maybe did one or two times you could simply offer them the trial again or send them a special offer to “extend their trial”. This will allow them more time to try your site out and pull them back in.
So let’s say you had a 14 day trial you could offer them another 14 days on an extended trial to give them more time to consume your content.
Now remember if your trial’s get extended you need to make sure your onboarding system accounts for that. So in your CRM you need to basically add them to another portion of the on-boarding process or an extension of it to go along with the trial itself. CRM’s like Drip, Active Campaign and Infusionsoft do a really good job of being able to split your automation’s based on actions taken within the automation itself.
A great tool to track whether people are logging in or not is Intercom. You can also track this via your autoresponders (based on what platform you use). If you don’t want to use a software like the ones listed above you could do it the old fashioned way of just having an assistant or yourself track these on a weekly basis (obviously more time consuming). Most plugins will allow you to see the last login date for users. So if you have your assistant track this every week or every other week you could have them add someone to the “extended trial automation” manually.
When applying these advanced strategies and tactics to your trail’s you will see an increased conversion rate on people taking you up on your trials and converting to paid members of your program.
If you are looking to “FAST TRACK” your membership site, course or program and have it all done for you by an expert feel free to book a call with me to see how I can help you get your membership site, program or course off the ground or plug the holes you have in your programs.