Let’s say you’re selling an anti-aging skincare product. You incorporate a free trial offer into your marketing campaign. Good idea, right? You think so…until you look at you product’s social media pages. Not only do you find baseless accusations about your free trial offer being a scam, you see exclamations of all anti-aging skincare products not working and random comparisons to other products in the category. Yikes.
This is an all-too-common experience business owners face every day. Why?
- Companies have abused free trials and many other compelling offers by A) Not providing an effective product or B) Not being forthright about terms and conditions—often a mix of both. This leaves consumers dissatisfied and skeptical.
- Certain product categories have built-in negative sentiment. Especially the health and beauty industry. Think anti-aging lotions, weight-loss pills and other better-your-body products. When people don’t get results they’ve hoped for or were promised, people don’t forget.
- Consumers often confuse your product or offer with a bad experience they’ve had with another company. For instance, if one consumer has a terrible incident with a wrinkle serum, all of a sudden this person believes EVERY wrinkle serum on the market is awful.
These are frustrating challenges you’ll probably face sooner than later, but you can overcome them. Here’s how:
Sell the value of your product as much as offer.
There’s no denying that offering a free trial can help generate interest in your product (i.e., Netflix has been known to have a 90+ percent conversion rate of free subscribers to paid subscribers). But the only way free offers will convert to paying customers is if you can get them to believe in the benefits.
A 2015 study from the Journal of Marketing Research noted that, “Unlike regular customers, free-trial customers join without a commitment to the value of the service—and, perhaps, even with a limited understanding of its benefits—which makes them particularly vulnerable to leaving the firm before the company can get a return on its investment.”
However, the study goes on to say that customers taking part in free trial offers are typically more responsive to marketing efforts. This means there’s more opportunity to win over customers by showing them how good life could be with your product.
Actively manage your campaigns and respond to questions, comments and concerns.
Negative social media chatter and bad reviews can kill your sales. Not providing simple customer service platforms and not engaging with your customers will do the same. This is why it’s absolutely necessary to actively manage the online conversations and sentiments that form around your product.
Facebook comments, Tweets, Amazon reviews, YouTube videos…anywhere that allows user-generated content (UGC) activity should be monitored by your company. This could be by a dedicated team at your company or a third party UGC management company.
Answering questions, providing product tips, thanking customers and constructively using consumer feedback shows the public that your business is not a scam, that you care about them and want them to have a good experience with your product.
Include other media channels in your marketing!
By integrating traditional, trusted media channels like television and radio into your marketing campaign, you can add credibility to your brand and offer.
A presence in the offline world gives your business a chance to prove that your product truly exists and is actually sold and used in the real world. This is why retail partners are especially helpful. The more opportunities you have to get your product physically into the hands of potential customers, the quicker you’ll be able to build the consumer confidence your business will need to grow and sustain sales.
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