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Should You Offer Free Trials To Attract Customers?

Service businesses (tuition/enrichment centres/spas) often offer free trials as a method of attracting new customers.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve spoken with at least 3 business owners who are using free trials as their customer acquisition strategy.  

I’ll give my personal take on this in a bit… but let me first explain why I think this strategy can be unsustainable in the long run and could even be hurting your business.  

If you’re currently giving out free trials and it’s working well for you in terms of getting more paying customers then that’s perfect.

I’ve seen it work for businesses. 

But more often than not, I’ve seen how this model of getting customers is tiring for businesses and even losing them money, especially if they are running ads to get people to come for the free trials.   

You get leads to come for the free trial. 

You give your best for the trial session.  

But when you explain more about your services and tell them your price… 

You get responses like: 

“Thanks, give me some time to think about it.” 

“Let me discuss this with my husband/wife/partner/kids” 

And they’ll end with “I’ll get back to you.” 

9 out of 10 such leads won’t get back to you. 


It’s got to do with the type of prospects you are attracting when you offer something for free. 

I know this because it’s a method I have used before for my own business. 

Many of my clients use this too to get customers.  

I’m not saying this method isn’t good, but you need to know how to make it work. 

Here’s why I think free trials can be problematic and unsustainable: 

You attract leads with low intent to buy from you.

Since it’s free and doesn’t cost any money (except time), why not just try it for fun? 

Parents might be thinking, “Maybe my kid will like it, maybe not. Let’s just sign up for the free trial anyway.”

If you have trouble closing your leads after the free trial, this is probably why. 

They don’t have strong intent to want to do this seriously. 

It’s not a big enough “want” or “need”.  

Many spa/beauty businesses also use free trials to try to get more paying customers. 

But most of the time, these people don’t convert to become customers. 

How then can we make the free trial method work? 

You need to have a strong closing pitch after the trial to close the lead. 

Since I’ve worked mostly with education companies – I notice that after each free trial, there isn’t a proper procedure to follow up with the lead and to close them. 

Those that have someone to properly talk to the lead after the session, have a higher chance of getting them to commit to a paid service.  

The pitch is crucial.  

If I were to offer free trials, and if I were to do the follow up right after the trial, here’s the framework of how I’d do it.  

  1. Explain what they have experienced and achieved during the trial  
  2. Tell them why you created the service/curriculum and why it’s beneficial
  3. Ask them why they came for the free trial  
  4. Use what they say and link it to the benefits/outcome of your service 
  5. Give a one-time only offer to close them for your service (for e.g, get this price only if you sign up today) 

I wrote a script for my coaching client and he closed 1 out of his 2 trials the day we spoke.  

You could say he was lucky but I’m confident his conversion rates will be much higher using this pitch – mainly because you get your prospect to see that you can help them achieve what they want.  

Is there an alternative to offering free trials?


That would be to offer a low ticket item. (for e.g a discounted paid trial)

The reason for doing this is to attract people who have a higher level of intent versus someone who signs up for a free trial. 

Think about it – if someone is willing to take out his/her wallet to pay you for a trial, doesn’t that mean they are more serious about achieving that goal which you can offer versus a free trial lead?  

It simply means you have something they are looking for and they have a problem to solve, that’s why they are okay to pay for a trial with you to see how it goes.  

The low ticket model is the exact model I’ve used in my businesses.  

My eBook is my low ticket item – business owners looking to solve their customer acquisition problem via ads buy it. And they work with me on a closer basis if they need more guidance.  

My flexi-piano is my low ticket time – music lovers who have the intention of learning piano buy it to learn. And they sign up for more workshops that we have to take their learning to the next level.  

The low ticket model is something you should explore if you don’t already have one.

The key difference between a low ticket item (paid trial for example) versus a free trial lies in the level of intent that prospect has.  

My personal take on free trials? 

If you have a strong pitch or process in place to close the free lead, do it by all means.  

Because it’s much easier to attract leads that way. 

If you run ads to your free trial offer, you can scale up much faster. 

But leads are not paying customers. If they do not convert, your sales suffer. You don’t get any income or cash flow.

Remember that. 

If you do not have a strong process to close the free trials yet, create one. 

If you are tired of doing free trials, charge for it instead.  

Keep testing until you find the best method that acquires more customers for you.

Who Is Edmund Chew?

I own a 7-figure music education company called TravelClef. I help fellow business owners scale their business using paid ads. I’m obsessed with marketing and entrepreneurship.

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