Offering your customers a chance to trial your software before purchasing has been a proven way to increase sales. If you work in a field where there are lots of other companies offering similar services, free trials are a great way to tempt consumers to choose your application over the competition. There are several different ways offering free trials to your customers, though, and all of them come with their own advantages and disadvantages.
Perhaps the most popular kind of service is a time-limited trial. Typically, this gives users full access to all of the available features and can last between seven and thirty days. This should give consumers enough time to see if the software can fulfill all of their needs. However, while this method can be successful for software that is used regularly as part of an individual’s daily workflow, it’s less suitable for applications intended for specific use cases. For example, a user looking to convert a video file into a different format may download the free version, use it once, and have no intention of purchasing it when the trial expires.
Another approach is to offer a feature-limited trial. This will work indefinitely, but certain features will be disabled in the free version in an effort to encourage users to upgrade to the premium version later on. This is typically less popular among consumers as it doesn’t give them the opportunity to experience the full capability of your application. For developers, it can also be difficult to decide which features to deny access to without damaging the overall experience. Certain kinds of business models lend themselves to this approach very well, however, like ETX Capital who limit the use of their mobile app to those who subscribe to their ETX TraderPro platform.
Finally, you could consider offering a capacity-limited trial. In a way, this aims to offer the advantages of both the previous two approaches. Just like a feature-limited trial, users are allowed to use the software without worrying about their version expiring and, similarly, like in a time-limited trial, they have full access to the range of features. These features will instead be capacity-limited, such as limiting the amount of data that can be entered or occasionally adding a timed delay to search queries. The main worry here, though, is that the user simply becomes accustomed to these restrictions and eventually incorporates them into their own workflow.