As of July 29, 2017, WP Buffs will no longer offer free trials for our monthly plans. All monthly plans will be 50% off the first month of service and full price thereafter. We will, however, still offer free trials for our annual plans.
Since I started WP Buffs about a year ago, we've offered a free trial for all of our ongoing support plans. A lot of companies offer free trials. There were a lot of advantages.
- More people signed up. Because it costed nothing to try out our support plans, we found that more people were willing to give us a shot.
- Accelerated learning. With a larger pool of customers taking us for a test drive, our team learned a lot about what we can do to convert people from free trials to paid customers.
- We were motivated. A free trial put the impetus on our team to go above and beyond when it came to delivering value to customers to try to convert them into paying partners.
But there were also disadvantages. And there's one that stood above all others in pushing us towards moving away from offering free trials for our monthly plans.
Free Trials Attract the Wrong Customers
Like I've mentioned before: our free trial to paid customer conversion rate was pretty solid. But a significant number of people who signed up for a free trial wanted to take advantage of the unlimited edits we provide. They weren't interested in the website speed, WordPress security and ongoing maintenance we offer.
That means we often saw people end their trial on day 6 of 7 after we made the changes they needed to their website.
And you guessed it. This in turn meant we spent a lot of time and money helping customers who don't end up paying us a dime.
Don't get me wrong; I'm all for helping people in need. That's why we offer livechat support to help people with any issues they may be having with their website.
But I'm a strong proponent of paying for value. There's no such thing as a free lunch, and we want customers signing up who understand the value they'll be receiving in the long-term, not simply what they can get done in the next week.
Plus, we didn't do away with our free trials entirely. We still offer them for our annual plans. Because people will be paying a significantly larger sum up front, I think the free trial here makes sense. If people are willing to put more money down, they should be able to see what we've got before committing.
And I'm hoping the large price tags there will scare away those who want to get away with some free work.
What I Expect To Happen
One thing that will most definitely happen is we'll see fewer new customers sign up for plans. Without the free trial, the opportunity to try our services risk free is gone.
But I think that's a good thing. We may be seeing less customers come through the door, but all of those new customers will be people who:
- Want to pay us for our services. There's no free trial anymore, so I'll know they want to put their money where their mouth is.
- Our customer lifetime value will increase. I'm hoping our customer base will become populated with people who are interested in finding a true technical WordPress partner, not simply someone who can help out with an edit or two.
- Understand the tradeoff of cash for time. The best kind of customer is one who wants to pay us for a Perform Plan Pro and understand the value they're getting from it. I think payment up front will start to flush out those who don't measure up.
WP Buffs has matured to the point where we now understand our customer base a bit better, and we know the difference between a good customer and a bad one. We want to attract the kind of customer who wants to pay us for service and unlock the ultimate value of letting both parties play to their strengths.
Credit Where Credit Is Due
The wasted time our team spends on new customers who don't become paid customers has been a thorn in my side for some time and something I've been trying to tackle for months now. Turns out the best thing I could do was ask my team about it.
Our Support Buff Becky came up with this idea originally. She manages our help desk day in and day out, so when she has recommendations, I listen carefully. At this point, she interacts with customers and our help desk more than I do, so I really value her opinion.
I crunched the numbers and came to the conclusion that it made sense. It seems that surrounding myself with good people is paying off.
Onward and upward!