Terrible Idea or a Gold Mine of Potential Clients?

There’s a never-ending debate going on in the world of online memberships: should you use free or paid trials?

Some say absolutely not to either. They claim it devalues your product, could hurt your reputation and generates bad leads.

Others claim that it works wonders to get people in the door that might not have done so otherwise. I’m one of these people!

Here are my two cents: if it works for your model and product, it can deliver wonders, albeit under certain circumstances.

You need the confidence to make it work

Firstly, if you’re scared to try giving your hard work away for free, then I’ve got to be frank with you…

Are you unsure your content isn’t good enough to keep people around after the trial?

If so, you’ve got to start there before even considering how to get more customers.

If you, on the other hand, know you’ve got something amazing to offer, then you shouldn’t let a fear of a few rotten eggs ruin a great strategy to gain long-term members.

A $1 trial should involve all the bell and whistles, don’t hold anything back.

You need to know that the right person stepping into your trial will need not just 7 or 30 days to make a difference in their business.

They will want to stay around when they realize how you offer a solution to their problems.

You also need the right onboarding to ensure they see value straight away.

Here’s what Mike Morrison has to say about one retention strategy.


The massive difference between free and $1

So why ask for $1? Why don’t just offer it for free?

It all comes down to psychology. With the nominal amount of $1, customers have a higher sense of ‘buy in’. Although small, that mindset creates a higher probability for people to actually check out your content (get hooked and stay forever and ever).

Although a small amount, this symbolic fee can help filter out the people who are just on the lookout for free offers and would never even consider staying on as an ongoing, paying customer.

There is a barrier that arises when people decide to sign up for a free trial only to realize that they need to enter their payment details, this is eliminated with the paid trial method.

Will it work for you?

Does this work well for all products? Presumably not. I’ve only tested this myself for my membership model, EHQ Club, for which I’m confident people need to commit long-term in order to extract all the value.

If you’re selling a short course, I probably wouldn’t recommend this sales mode unless you’re trying to upsell people on the backend to a more high-ticket item.

After all, just like with any strategy, it’s a matter of testing and tweaking until you find the magic formula for your product and customers.

Try EHQ Club and find out more for just $1 now. (Yup, I practice what I preach).

Action Steps

  1. Set up a $1 Trial Landing Page. Emphasize the value of the content they’ll be accessing and the value of the products. Make it clear that the $1 trial will continue into a paid membership – you don’t want anyone to feel tricked into ongoing payments.
  2. Create an onboarding sequence, guiding your new trial members on how to find everything inside your membership, and make the most out of the content you’re offering.
  3. For members who cancel, send out a survey asking why – this way you can improve for next time.
  4. Didn’t work for you? Test and tweak. Maybe a 14-day trial makes more sense than 7 days.


Result You Will Achieve

A strategy to encourage big batches of people to test your membership, and keep them as ongoing, paying members.

Mentor: Liam Austin

Co-founder of Entrepreneurs HQ, a community of 150,000+ small business owners. Liam delivers one marketing tactic each morning via his email newsletter EHQ Daily, and runs live training and masterminds inside EHQ Club.