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Welcome to the latest edition of my new weekly blog series, “Free Marketing Ideas”. Each week I will identify and explain a simple marketing idea that you can employ at low or no cost. Last week’s topic was Keywords and Copy.

This Week’s Topic = Offer Free Trials

When selling a product or service, the most important thing you must do is alleviate people of their fears. Consumers are afraid of spending money, of getting ripped off or tricked, of not getting their needs met. And marketing is all about getting over those fears.

Few things can work better to alleviate the fears of your consumers than a free trial. Now depending on what you offer, a free trial may cost you a little bit of money, but the payoff is worth it.

When you can offer the ability for your customers to try you out for free, they don’t have to worry about getting ripped off. They can actual use your product, see how it meets their needs, and then make a more informed decision.

Of course the key is that you need a product that will actually work for people the way they need it to. A free trial won’t work if people use it and realize it is worthless.

When you launch your free trial, you can make the announcement on your social media pages you have set up. You can reach out to the people on your press list. And you can promote it heavily to your email database that you’ve set up.

And the secret to any successful free trial offer is the sale at the end of the free trial period. Maybe you have a free offering with limited features and you want people to upgrade to the paid version, like a Pandora or Spotify. Maybe you offer the full product for free for a limited time and then start charging, like a Netflix. Or maybe you offer a limited quantity of items of items with an opportunity to buy more, like the free samples in the supermarket.

Whatever your plan is, you need to encourage the sale. Continue to market to your free trial customers in order to make sure their experience is strong, and make it easy for them to take the next step and become a paying customer. You’ve already gotten their attention, now all that’s left is to close the deal.

Share your thoughts on this idea, and other free marketing ideas in the comments section below and keep the conversation going!