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Why Free Trials Don’t Always Work for B2B

Are you a B2B marketer that uses Free Trials to try and motivate website visitors to engage? I am but it rarely works. Why?

First, I think using Free Trials for B2B Lead Generation is a good idea, especially for on-demand software companies, because most people want to try something before they pay for it. However, the idea is so saturated that the offers are bordering on desperation. Marketers find themselves almost screaming “Just try it….PLEASE“.

So why don’t Free Trials generate the kind of buzz and conversion rates they used too? I’ve already mentioned what I think is the number one reason, overuse, but there are others.


Trials take a potential customer’s time and effort. Time is money. Effort is lots of money. Figure out a way to make your trial compelling by focusing on results the client will achieve during the trial.

Possible Solution

How about this: you can try our XYZ product for 30 days *and* until you generate N results. If they customer has used the product for 30 days but has not achieved the desired results, the trial continues. This limits the customer’s resistance to entering into the trial because if they expect to be busy for the next couple of weeks they will opt out.

Future Cost

This one still amazes me for high-tech companies that sell products in the high dollar price range (ten thousand and up). Ask yourself this, would you start a free trial for an enterprise class piece of equipment without having an idea of the future cost? I doubt it.

Unlike consumer products where pricing and perceived value are understood, B2B buyers don’t always have a feel for estimated cost of a product. They don’t need firm pricing, just an idea that it fits in a budget range.

Possible Solution

Try using a Price Paper to help potential customers understand your offer so they will feel more comfortable about proceeding with a trial.

Have you created a successful Free Trial offer (non-consumer only)? Let us know.

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