Last week I signed up for a free 30-day trial of a software as a service (SaaS) solution for our business. I did the research and read a few of their whitepapers and I was convinced that the features this software provides is a good fit for our business and I was anxious to try them all out. After I signed up for the free trial and started using the software I was quickly underwhelmed. Most of the features their marketing collateral boasted about were unimpressive or just not there . So I basically gave up on the software and decided to let my 30 days expire as I moved onto something else. But I received a phone call from their sales person who explained to me that the free trial version does not include many of the features and functionality that the software offers and, as a matter of fact, it basically allows you to do just a few simple things that the software was able to ultimately provide. I finally understood why I was unable to do the things I was hoping to do but I was disappointed that this company didn’t set the expectation with me about what features come with the free trial. So my first impression of everything was a bit sour.
Sales and marketing is an initiative of corporate websites and the content on those websites need to nurture and “close” the visitor. Here are 3 simple suggestions on how to portray free versions of your software.
Free trials are oftentimes necessary for SaaS solutions playing in a competitive arena. But whether you are giving it away for free or for cost make sure you set the expectation on what is included in the version you are going to sign up for. Below are two examples from Salesforce.com and Surveymonkey.com.