When I started Virtual PreSkool, I offered one free trial. The first class was free. My very first week of business, the registrations came rolling in. Within a few days I had registrations for 4 sessions with 6-10 students per session. I thought, “wow this is fantastic!” My product-market fit is on point!
I did about 30 hours of prep work for those four, 1-hour sessions. And you know what happened?
I didn’t get a single enrollee. I didn’t even get responses. I followed up with parents not just to get registrations but feedback; and I didn’t get a single response – all of them ghosted.
The other thing that happens with free trials is some people don’t show up. I’m sorry to say I had a class where it just so happened that every person who registered didn’t show up.
With paid trials that’s only happened once.
Needless to say it was very disappointing and emotionally draining. And once I dusted myself off I focused on the takeaways and iteration.
I put an end to free trials. Instead there’s a small fee…and that has been a game-changer. At first it was a tough pill to swallow. Trial registrations slowed down and I received messages from parents saying my business is uncompetitive. But the huge, and totally worth it, upside is that now prospects are serious about classes with us.
Sure I want to increase the number of clients we serve. But more importantly I want the right clients.
We have about a 95% conversion rate. And the clients we acquire tend to stay for at least a year.
- It’s more in line with the brand. Virtual PreSkool is a premium product and service and that nominal fee differentiates us from everyone else.
- It’s a natural filter. When prospects opt not to try a class because of the trial fee I don’t look at it as an opportunity lost. Rather, the trial fee has done its job of steering away prospects for whom our classes are not a good fit.
Long Term Outcome
I have never gone back on the decision to charge for a trial, even during periods where business slowed down a little. Not that it wasn’t tempting. The thought’s crossed my mind but, in the end, I know it will just be a waste of time.
I decided to differentiate my EdTech company and go against the grain by not offering a free trial. But only after offering it and seeing that it was not mutually beneficial.
Business transactions should be mutually beneficial. With free trials consumers were receiving the benefit but the business suffered in getting no registrations nor any feedback that could be used to improve our service.
I did away with free trials and that decision has been beneficial for my business.
Want To Learn Conversational Hindi?
We teach conversational Hindi (no reading, no writing). Our classes are designed for children growing up outside of the Indian Subcontinent. And our classes are fun! Your child will also learn about Indian culture to build connections to relatives and their heritage. Students from across the globe take our classes from the convenience of their living room.