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Old 11-20-2001, 05:11 AM   #1
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Default Free trial to increase conversions?

I'm debating offering a free trial (10-15 days) of my e-mail services to see if it will help me increase my sign ups for NetMongol.com's e-mail services. I'm sure that it'll get more signups just from people wanting to try it out for free. But the real question is will those people convert to more sales?

Has anyone here who offers some kind of internet service tried offering free trials? Did it work out or was it more hassle than it is worth?

I figure since it takes a few days to get your MX records changed over and truly using the service that I should give 10-15 days for the trial.
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Old 11-20-2001, 05:30 AM   #2
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I don't think that a time-based free trial is the way to go.

Reasoning: your service is designed to let webmasters offer free email services @theirdomain. Nobody is going to sign up and start offering their site visitors free email accounts, knowing they may very likely have to take those same accounts away again in just a week or so. The scenario is just too strange!

If you need to offer anything free, then I suggest that you have a sub-premium service where people can sign up (e.g.) up to 250 users free of charge, and after that they have to pay. So it would lock their ability to sign up more users after they reach 250, until they pay to unlock the ability to sign up more users.

Hope this helps!
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Old 11-20-2001, 07:01 PM   #3
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Originally posted by Edwin
If you need to offer anything free, then I suggest that you have a sub-premium service where people can sign up (e.g.) up to 250 users free of charge, and after that they have to pay
This idea doesn't quite work for me. I think I'd have a ton of sites using up my resources and not paying anything. But then again you never know, they might convert well.

What if I offered something similar but I do get SOME money out of it to cover the bandwidth that these users will consume. For a one-time fee of $10 they could have up to 250 users. Then if they wanted more users then they would have to pay the normal prices of $20 for the first 1000 and $5 per 1000 after that. Would that spark more interest?
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Old 11-20-2001, 10:49 PM   #4
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Something work as free trials, I have sold stuff like this before, but I can't see it working for this for the reasons already covered.

There are really only two areas you need to look at

1. What is your conversion of new visitors to customers

2. Are you getting enough of the "right sort" of new visitors

Part 1 can depend on several factors
- how good is your offer
- how well your explain the benefits of your offer (the text on your site)
- how convincing is claims regarding your service

A free trial only helps on the convincining front - it doesn't help on the other two. The text on your site is by far the most important factor. This is the number 1 area to work on. Always.

The best investment you can make is to buy a good book or three on copy writing. (if you can't find Internet copywriting books (there are tons out there in e-book form but not so many in hardcopy) try direct mail / direct response copy writing books which you should be able to find a little more easily.

Right now I think if you review your sales letter hard, you'll agree there's room for improvement. There's always room for improvement in any sales letter, so this is not a criticism.

Here are 5 things to get your thinking started:
- Explain your offer as clearly as possible to the prospect. Keep it simple.
- Explain your what's in it for the customer (the benefits). This is the main body of the letter
- Use the word YOU-words like YOU/YOUR/YOU'RE/YOURS/etc. a lot, especially near the end (like a crescendo). Count 'em
- Write about the customer, his problems, your solution to them. Not about yourself or your service. If you find I/WE/NETMONGOL/THIS SITE too much in your letter that's bad news. Count 'em
- Find your most important benefit and make that your headline. A good way is to phrase this as a question or how to.. example: How To Keep Visitors Returning To Your Web Site Every Day Of the Week. This is a very quick headline, but you should actually spend at least as long on your headline on sales copy. Hint: study headlines on other sites, newspapers, ads, etc. They mostly follow a relatively small number of formulas. The idea is to make a promise (which you deliver on it your letter), qualify your prospect (only a little) and keep the prospect reading (think enticing).

On the specific point of your site, I realize this is quite a technical service, so it's hard to explain simply. The harder the concept, the clearer the explanation that is required.

One specific thing that I think you should think about, is unless nearly all your users are people switching from everyone.net - why is this the lead point on your sales letter. If a new prospect comes to your site who has never heard of your service or your competitors, why is the first thing you tell them about your competitor? You can bet these people are going to look very hard at your competitor before signing up! Chances are this might be better on a secondary page, or "comparison" page

or you could include in your copy something like "the only service that lets you keep all your banner advertising space" (assuming this is true) - and have alink to the secondary page.

On the specific issue of the free trial: you can offer "proof" of your claims, as convincing as a free trial, by getting testimonials from your customers, showing a demo site, etc.
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Old 11-21-2001, 02:17 AM   #5
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WildComputer has a great deal of truly spot-on advice... stick to it and you should go far.

Other improvements I can suggest:-

A) Change the name of the company/service. "NetMongol.com" unfortunately does not bring up any real connotations of anything remotely relating to email, or to being an email service provider. In fact, the first time I saw the name (when you introduced the service on these forums a few months ago...) I'll tell you very frankly that I thought to myself "Very interesting-looking service - shame about the name!". The name sounds too much like you're trying to make use of a domain name you registered in a fit of enthusiasm one day without knowing what you really wanted to do with it.

Granted, "Everyone.net" is not exactly an awe-inspiring name either, but at least it sort-of-kind-of makes sense for the business they're in.

B) Perhaps a simple re-do of your website (after you rework your sales pitches) might do a lot to improve sales. Right now it looks a little too much like a hobbyist site i.e. something put together in a bedroom - whereas the companies you're going up against all have very slick and polished websites, even if their service offering is (or at least looks like it is) potentially inferior to yours. I think you don't need anything very fancy - if you don't have the graphics/layout skills to do it in-house, I don't expect it would cost more than a few hundred dollars to get an elegant template made by a designer that you can then fit your sales copy into.

Remember, on the Web, PERCEPTION IS EVERYTHING! There are no glossy brochures, no plush showrooms with deep pile carpet and luxurious leather armchairs, no salespeople in suits with creases so tight you could cut yourself on them... the only way customers can evaluate the "reliability" of a company is through the impression generated by their site. To this end, testimonials (which WildComputer already alluded to) are essential, as are full contact information (I noticed you don't have a telephone and fax number up on the site)

C) I hesitated before writing this point, but I wanted to at least attempt to make it... This may sound like a rather pointed question, but "How SERIOUS are you about the business?" Do you have the resources (human, financial, knowledge, technical etc) to make NetMongol (or whatever you decide to rename the company) into a leading messaging services provider? Or (if you're very honest with yourself) is this kind of a hobby+ situation i.e. you're looking for a way to make a nice little extra income off of the site.

Without analysing your business from this perspective, it's hard to know whether investments in professional copy-writing services, design services, rebranding, loss-leading sales tools such as free trials and so on are worth considering.

Most "real businesses" expect to have to foot a certain amount of up-front costs before they start to see money coming in the door. Many (and I should probably whisper this heresy given that it's now late 2001) don't even expect to make money for a while, but accept that an initial time-frame of losses is an inevitable part of starting and growing their business and developing a market for their products.

I hope this gives you a few ideas...
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Old 11-21-2001, 02:30 PM   #6
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lol i have nothing more than to say look into the advice alreay given....

Also maybe: mailshack.com? buckfrommail.com, buckfromemail.com etc??????

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