AskPat 227 Episode Transcript
Pat Flynn: What's up everybody? Pat Flynn here, and welcome to Episode 227 of AskPat, and as always, I'm here to help you by answering your online business questions five days a week.
We have a great question today from Jarrod, who I actually met in person before in Australia at one of me and Chris Ducker's 1-Day Business Breakthrough events. You can check out more about that at 1DayBB.com.
But I do want to mention also, before we get to Jarrod's question, today's awesome sponsor which is FreshBooks.com, the super easy to use cloud accounting solution to help you with all of your business finances. Over a million different small businesses are using it, and you should too. And if you're doing any invoicing, this is the app that you should be using, so go to GetFreshBooks.com and enter “Ask Pat” in the “How did you hear about us?” section to get a free trial. So again, GetFreshBooks.com and enter “Ask Pat” in the “How did you hear about us?” section, and be worry-free in tax season, which is coming up.
Awesome. Now let's get to today's question from Jarrod.
Jarrod: Hey Pat. Jarrod from ThePEGeek.com here, and firstly, thanks for everything that you do, and also thank you for giving me the motivation to head out there and validate one of my new products before it was made. As you know, it's been really successful and . . . blow me away to be honest how successful it's been. And now we're actually at the stage of launching the product, and we've got users in the product. My question relates to offering some sort of free trial for the product. Is this a good idea? Do I diminish the value of the product if I offer some sort of thirty-day trial type idea? Especially when it's highly possible that the people using the product could get their . . . basically, get the full function of that product and use it for it's intended purpose within the 30-day window. Is there any benefit to me offering something like this? Would I offer maybe a seven-day trial? But then again, is that enough for people to actually see it? What other methods are there to basically allow people to trial a product without sort of taking away from what that product would provide them if they signed up? Alright, thanks mate, and keep up the good work.
Pat Flynn: Jarrod, thank you so much for the question. It's really good to hear your voice again. Like I was saying earlier, Jarrod and I, we met in Australia at a One-Day Business Breakthrough event that me and Christ Ducker did, and Jarrod got his time in the hot seat. And we were all blown away from the work that he's doing at ThePEGeek.com creating software and technology solutions for PE coaches out there, and it's awesome. He's doing incredible work, and I'm just so happy 'cause he's a great guy. And what's cool about Jarrod and what I remember about him most is he's an action taker. He gets these ideas, and he puts them into action. We talked about validating an idea, and he did that, and now that is . . . apparently, he is doing very well for him, so great job Jarrod. And now we're going to help you with this free trial thing.
So let's get to your question. Free trial: Is it a good idea? Yes, if you have the opportunity to give a free trial, I absolutely think it's a good idea because people want to try before they buy. Right? We've all heard that before. We all wish we could do that with everything we bought. I mean, why do you go on test drives before you actually buy a car? Well, cars are obviously very expensive and you don't want to buy a car and spend that much money unless you know that it's something you want to use. And maybe your PE software isn't quite in the tens of thousands of dollar range, but people love to try before they buy, so if you offer the solution in terms of a free trial that works for your piece of software, then good.
But depending on how you use it, it could actually work against you. Like you were saying, there are and there have been many instances of this in the past where software companies have a free trial, and like you said, people just get what they need out of it from that free trial. Maybe it's one of those usage limited types of free trial, so essentially you're able to use it for free for a certain amount of usage. Well, maybe it's up to ten people and they only have five, so they get to use it for free forever, and that is support cost. That's server cost and all that stuff, so you have to keep these things in mind, and the cool thing about this is you can experiment. You can experiment, and I would actually talk to people who are potentially going to be customers or even people who are customers already. And talk to them and be like, “What would make sense for your . . . ? How much would be enough for you to be convinced that this is something that's going to be a solution for you? Would you be annoyed if this happened?” And those types of things. So the whole point of this free trial is yes, to have them try before they buy, but once they try it to realize that they cannot live without it. That this is something that is going to solve their problems. So just keep that in mind. Free trial, yes.
What does that free trial look like? There are different types. There is the time-limited full-access. So there is a lot of software that does this. You have full access for x number of days. And this is great. I love this solution because it's full-access. They get full access. They get to know exactly how it's going to be used, but they might not get the full benefit of it within the time period. So if you have that . . . if you have the full access, if you have that time be too short, then people may be like, “Oh, well this isn't for me. I didn't get what I needed out of it because I didn't have enough time.” And people might get upset which isn't good, so one off thing that they need to do, for example . . . this was an example I found online, which is a great one . . . If you have a wedding software which helps with seating arrangement, a limited time thing is not going to work 'cause that's a one-time thing. And that's why with Green Exam Academy, I struggled with potentially creating a course because I felt like a course and reoccurring payments and things like that . . . It's like, okay, once people pass a test, then they're done. So if it's a one-off thing, they need it for just one moment in time, full access isn't really going to work for you, a time-limited full access.
But I know a lot of companies who do this really well because people get to use the full functionality. They get to be like, “Yes, this is for me.” And when that time is about to run out, then they're going to likely take action and buy. Now, you can combine that with a discount scarcity model. And this is something that I know that a company uses very well. That is Market Samurai. So you have full functionality for seven days with Market Samurai which is a keyword research tool, and if you buy within those seven days, you get the tool for 50% off so at $97, and then after that seven days, it literally doubles. And so there is the full functionality function in there as well, but then you get the discount as well. You're getting emails up to that seven day period. When that ends, when you'd essentially be . . . I feel like in that model, if you half-want the software, you're going to be more likely to get it because you don't want to miss out on the discounts right? FOMO. We have this fear of missing out, so we don't want to miss out.
That's the whole idea behind the scarcity model is the fear of missing out. You can play off of that with the discounts. So you can offer people within those first seven days or 30 days, and we'll talk about length in a second. You can offer them a discount if they get the software within a certain period of time. So that's something that is really smart and I think would work really well too. Know in terms of days you have to be . . . there's a fine balance there . . . seven days. I know a lot of people who use seven-day free trials which is great, but it depends on what the software does. Can they get the full benefit of using that software within seven days? Maybe not, and in which case, like I said earlier, they might leave, or not feel like the software was for them.
But you also have to think about thirty days. Okay, if you give them a thirty-day free trial, maybe they do get the full functionality of it and they use it, but then they don't really use it every day. Maybe at the beginning they were excited about it, but then they forget about the software and 30 days is coming up, and by the time they get pinged for that, “Hey you're 30 days is up.” Maybe they weren't using it in that final week, and they may be like, “Oh, well you know, I already . . . it's not really for me,” or, “I already used it and I got what I needed out of it.” So there's a fine balance there.
I was reading about this before answering your question, Jarrod. A lot of you will use the ten-day free trial, a week and a half to help convince people that that's the software for them, but not give them too much time to stop using the software. And again, it depends on what it is. Is it something they can use everyday? Well, then maybe a seven-day free trial would work. If it's something that they're going to use once a week, then maybe 30 days would work for them. So again, what's that time period like for them using this particular thing? And if you can get into the analytics of it in terms of usage, so using a tool like Flurry app I think is what it's called, or Flurry Analytics, if you look it up. Flurry, like snowstorm flurry. Flurry Analytics. That'll help you discover, and you can team up with a developer. I don't know if you do it yourself, Jarrod, but you can actually insert code into your app to understand how people use it, how long they use it, how many opens they have, what time of day they use it, things like that and that'll give you some incredible insights on the how they use it, which will then help you determine how to sort of time your free trials and things like that.
Now there are other types of free trials out there. There are usage limited, so you can only use it for x number of something. Dropbox is a great . . . you have free one or two gigabytes of storage and then after . . . this is why Dropbox is genius, and why this was a perfect free trial because at first you get it, you get to use the software. It's fancy, you get to start dragging, dropping things, sharing, and then all of a sudden you reach your limit, and you're like, “Man, I need more space 'cause this was awesome.” And then you upgrade, and that's why they've been so successful. And so usage limited works really well. Feature limited works too, but if you hold back some of the features, will that hold back people from understanding that this is actually something that they need?
So again, it depends. And Jarrod, I know I'm sort of not giving you a clear answer here because I don't know exactly what your app does, and we don't know how your audience is going to respond to. So you have to understand that you can actually change these free trials or maybe even set up different landing pages or perhaps split-test over time. Or maybe do one month one way and another month another way and see how it goes. Now make sure you keep track over the times because that can get a little confusing, but anyway feature limited, this is Evernote. Evernote, to me I feel like at least, when I got it, but back in the day, it was feature limited. There was certain things that I couldn't use as a free trial user in that 14 days or whatever. There are other pieces of software out there. I'm thinking just out loud now, like Screenflow or Camtasia, which give you full access, and then all of a sudden you don't get access to it anymore, and you can't open it anymore. I mean that's ridiculous, and if I need to use it again, I'm going to pay for it. That would be time limited.
There's capacity limited as well. Like I was saying discount scarcity model. So there's all these types of different free trials, but again, the main point to think about is, can you, within that certain time period or with those certain limitations, solve . . . have people understand that that is something that is going to solve their problem. So yes, free trial. You're going to have to discover and do some research or think about and experiment to see which one's the right one for you, and perhaps you can find some apps that are similar to yours in a different space, and see how they handle it too. And see how people respond to those as well.
So Jarrod, I hope that answers your question. Thank you so much, and a AskPat t-shirt is headed your way. You'll get an email from my assistant very soon. For those of you listening, if you have a question you'd like potentially featured here on the show, just head on over to AskPat.com. I appreciate it so much. You are what keep the show going, and I'm just so jazzed to come in here every week and record these for you guys.
I also want to thank today's sponsor, which is FreshBooks.com. Not only are they a great service for helping you keep track of money coming in, money going out of your business, but they also have award winning mobile apps. You can keep track of things on the go, and with a few simple clicks of a button, you can print out everything that you need to give to your CPA or bookkeeper or whoever you need to give it to. You can give other people access to it as well, if they're helping you in that way. It's just so versatile, and I recommend you check it out if you're going to get serious about organizing your finances. So GetFreshBooks.com. Again, that's GetFreshBooks.com, and enter AskPat in the “How did you hear about us?” section.
Sweet. To finish up, as always, I like to end with a quote, and today's quote is from probably the most quoted person on AskPat, and that is Seth Godin, and he says, “Waiting for perfect is never as smart as making progress.”
Don't wait for perfect. Just go. Cheers. Take care, and I'll see you next episode of AskPat.
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