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Free is a psychologically compelling word because people are afraid of loss and hate the feeling of regret when they make a decision that results in a negative outcome. It can also trigger a desire to reciprocate when we receive something for nothing as people feel obliged to return the favour. It is also a powerfully persuasive word. People often perceive free offers as significantly more valuable than they are in reality.

Image of Neflix free for a month offer

As a result the cost of offering something for free (e.g. a free month’s trial) can often easily be outweighed by the additional sales and revenues you receive from such an offer. Even the communication of free additional benefits that your product provides can be a powerful message to improve conversion.

Image of Spotify.com landing page with free trial offer

Source: Spotify.com

A free trial has the added benefit that it minimises the perceived risk (i.e. cost) to a customer of signing up to your product or service. Free trials also benefit from the endowment effect which is a tendency for people to over-value things they own or partially own compared to items they don’t have ownership of. Allowing people to try your product for free may also help demonstrate that you have confidence in your product. If customers are pleased with the experience they are less likely to cancel after they begin paying for your product or service.

Lastly, giving away products can also be good way of getting reviews and allowing your story to spread through social networks. Word of mouth can be a powerful influence on sales as people often look to others that they trust before deciding to try a new product.


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