Software as a service has become a part of all of our lives. We no longer pay just for software one time. This can become irritating to customers as they feel like their software becomes a monthly bill just like the utilities and rent. To compensate for this, many software companies and also web hosts provide free trials. These give you a good approximation of what the service will be like before you sign a contract or lock in for several years.
The Economics of Web Hosting
Web hosts are in a good position to offer free trials. The model works much better than in the case of a pizza shop or a company that offers lawn care. The reason behind this is the infrastructure needed to offer web hosting. Servers and hardware are already paid for. Hosting does not take a huge amount of staff to keep up with all the customers. Many things can be automated. New customers can be set up automatically with their own part of a server with minimal help.
These factors make it more likely that web hosts can offer free trials without it costing them in the long run to bring on customers. Still though, those using free trials will take up space on servers that could go to paying customers. If those getting the free trial need a lot of help from tech support, this will also influence the sales model. The cost of the hardware and memory needed to run sites is low, but it does not come free.
Hosting companies with Free Trials
We have gone over why it makes sense economically for hosts to offer free trials. It is a good way to acclimate a new demographic to what you offer. The cost to offer the service for free for a few months is low in comparison to other industries. What are the best hosts that we can try out for free? Who can offer us a free trial for web hosting? We put together a list of the best hosts that also offer free trials. This is the perfect way to see if the testimonials are true and if the hosting is going to fit your needs.
Is the Bluehost free trial good? It is excellent. It will help you understand if they have enough features to complete your project. How does the Bluehost free trial work? Look at the stipulations below to understand better how they can give you free service for a month.
- Cancel within the month for a full refund.
- The refund is for hosting and not domains.
- There is no commitment or contract.
These are important facts to keep in mind. You can get an excellent free trial with Bluehost and if you keep going with the service, you will also get the introductory rate which will save you even more. Cancel at any point if you feel the service is not right for you.
Cancel within Thirty Days
For those that cancel the service early, you will get all of your money back as long as it is done within the month. If you go beyond that time period, you can still get back a portion of the cost. The service will be prorated and you will receive a refund for the remainder. Keep in mind, domains are outside of the service that is provided by Bluehost. They can’t give you your money back on this because you will still own the domain. You can’t easily return a domain name in the same way you can give up your space on a remote server.
2. WP Engine
Right now, WP Engine has the perfect way to try out their service. You can get three months for free with the use of a coupon code. Why get just a month long trial when you can use three months? Check their website for the code and test their service for an extended period of time.
They don’t have a trial period, but feel free to use their full-featured demo product. This account lets you try out site creation, how to make a backup, and stage your site. They also have a 30-day money back guarantee. Try out this product for a full month before you make your decision. Using Kinsta for free has never been easier.
For those familiar with hosts, we have all heard about Siteground. They have an excellent reputation for both speed and quality. If you want to test out their product for free, try their thirty day guarantee. Using their product for the first thirty days is free. If you decide at the end of the thirty days it is not for you, contact them for a full refund. This service is great and they want you to try it out and see their level of web hosting.
5. Hosting Forest
This host will not only allow you to try out their hosting for free, they will also help the environment at the same time. Proceeds from your hosting fee will go back into planting trees to combat climate change. Hosting Forest is confident enough to offer free hosting trials and also give back at the same time. If you want a great host that backs up what they claim, Hosting Forest is an excellent product with superb communication skills.
For users that do take advantage of a free trial from a web host, they should continue to use the service for a long time after the host gets them used to the system. Some software models can’t offer free trials. The users will just come in and take what they need for free.
A good example would be a site that creates logos. A company more than likely won’t need a new logo each month. This makes it more risky for them to offer free trials. People taking advantage of the system will create a logo for free and then never revisit the site.
You need to find a model for a service that is continuous. This way customers can not simply use it once for what they need and cancel. Never give away the full value of a solution after putting in work to attract customers. Focus on paying customers and giving them excellent customer service. After that, everything will fall into place.
Do Free Trials Work?
For some industries, free trials work quite well. It has become an effective way to get customers to try your product and then switch them over to paying customers. Web hosts have taken note and many are experimenting with free trials to boost customer acquisition.
Other companies and industries find that free trials only attract customers that were not intending on paying for the product in the first place. These are customers that are always looking for something free, but they rarely spend for products they don’t absolutely need.
Free Trials with Web Hosts
If you have been following the various web hosts, you know that many of them are offering free trials to entice new customers to get used to their service and continue to use it in the future.
The main idea behind getting a free trial to work for a host is the follow up. If you allow people to try the service but you don’t have a sales team that follows up, you are going to have lower conversions. The follow up can be done with a phone call, an email, or even in person. If you don’t follow up on the trial, you have been giving away your service for free.
Follow up with Customers
For the customers that did use the service and didn’t sign up, there should be a marketing plan for them as well. Add them to your database. Keep track of when you contact them. Every three months is not a bad timeline for following up with people to see if they are interested. You might even offer to give them another trial. This builds up rapport with your audience. They can see you want them to try the product and people will respond to this.
The Cost of Free
There is a cost to running free trials. Obviously if you run a shop that sells smoothies, you can offer a few coupons. Maybe give away a small smoothie for first time customers. Perhaps you can add an app on their phone where if they get enough smoothies then they can send a coupon to a friend for a free smoothie. Things like this will build up how many try your product, but it will also run as a cost for you.
You still need to pay for utilities in your shop. Workers still need to be paid that will give out your free samples. The product itself will cost money as well, so you should think about inventory. These types of costs will affect web hosts as well. They will offer free trials to get customers in the door for the first time, but it can cost them in the long run without proper marketing later.