Considering offering a free or low-cost trial for your membership?
Question from a client:
‘Hey Laura, I’m thinking of offering a 7-day free or $1 trial for my membership as a quick and easy way to bring in some new members this month - should I go for it?’
As always…. Yes, and also No.
Yes, free or low-cost trials for a membership can work well.
But also, to get the most out of them, you’ll need to put in a bit of work.
So no, it won’t be a quick and easy way to bring in new members.
Memberships are like snogging your best mate (stay with me, this will make sense shortly)
Membership site owners often perceive signing up to their membership (even without a trial period) as no big deal because the new member can cancel whenever they want.
The people who have not yet joined your membership but are on your email list or following you on social media have built up a certain amount of Know-Like-Trust with you.
They’re fond of you.
And, yes, they may want to take that relationship further by joining your membership.
But at the same time, they’re also anxious that if they become a member, they may need to cancel for whatever reason (they’re disappointed, they can’t afford it, it’s just not right for them).
And after they’ve canceled they won’t just go back to the same relationship they had before.
Once you’ve kissed your best friend, it’s pretty hard to go back to just being friends.
The nature of your relationship has changed.
Trials Are A Smaller (Easier) Commitment
It’s easier to say ‘yes’ to something that’s temporary.
A trial feels temporary.
You are both saying ‘Let’s try this out, if we don’t like it, it’s fine, it’s not forever’.
It’s the best-friend-snogging equivalent of playing Spin The Bottle.
7-day trials that stick (or 10, 14, 30…however many days you pick)
If you offer a free trial, then please make sure that the there’s something in place to help them make the most out of it.
I don’t mean ‘show them how to binge on as much content as possible during the trial’.
You want to use the trial period for them to get a feel for the place, a good understanding of what’s available, and for them to start to integrate it into their life.
You can do this by:
1 – Making sure they are welcomed into the community
2 – Helping them get an overview of the resources available to them and then prioritise which ones they will focus on in the next 90-days (create a horizon beyond the end of the trial period)
3 – Get live events and content releases in their diary by showing them a calendar of what’s coming up
4 – Help them get an early win
5 – Use automated emails to keep your membership top-of-mind for the duration of the trial
6 – Encourage some kind of interaction directly with you - even if that’s just over email, Voxer, comments on a Facebook thread - anything that helps them feel seen and valued as an individual. Welcome videos via Bonjoro or Loom can work well here.
For more (and better) membership expertise, check out Mike and Callie from The Membership Academy (affiliate link) - start with their free Roadmap.