What kind of free trial to offer?

I sell a software system that charges a monthly subscription.

Currently I offer a Free Trial that includes 100% of the features of the paid version but is time limited to 30 days.

Other websites that sell their services monthly offer a basic free version that is limited to very basic features or the number of YY that you can have in the basic free version.

No company in my industry offers a free trial of any sort online so I’m not comparing to apples/apples.

Do you have a preference when trying out a new service? Prefer the full features for time limited 30 days? or would you rather have an unlimited time version that is limited in features, or number of YY that you can store/process/etc ?

Whenever I am evaluating something (with a sincere intent of buying if it suits my need) I like to have a crack at all the features.

You could offer a hybrid of what you proposed here:

A free trial subscription that is limited
The opportunity to use each of the other (premium) features X number of times

That may very well be a first in the industry!

I always like a trial of x number of days to evaluate the whole product.

If the software produces an end product, I’m usually okay with a tag line or watermark that says advertises the product being used.

What I don’t like is seeing a feature on a list for a premium version of a product that looks promising, but after buying it, finding out that it doesn’t do what I need/want it to.

But this all depends on what your software is and what it does.

After a trial is up, I’ve seen some software/services either automatically downgrade to a free version, and/or simply prompt to purchase to continue using the full version.

Personally, I prefer a full-feature trial for a limited time. I would rather be forced to evaluate the product within a given timescale, than try to evaluate it with features missing.

But, depending on the type of product, there might be a marketing advantage in giving away a free version with no time limit - but which is limited in the volume of data it can handle. For example, in an invoicing system, you might have a limit of, say, 20 customers at any one time, or 1,000 invoices per year. That way, the product would be completely free to small users. As these users grow, there is an extremely good chance that they will upgrade to the full version, rather than try to migrate to an entirely new system. Plus, a larger user base means the product will become better known within its target market.

But, as I say, it depends on the type of product. The above scenario might not work for a general-purpose utility, for example.


Your offer of free trial with 100% features and time limit is appreciable. I would like to evaluate the whole product before I buy it.