As a digital agency I am always intrigued when I see companies searching for a new digital lead source but at the same requesting a FREE TRIAL, so I wanted to delve in to the Pro’s and Con’s.
Let me start by confirming that we never give a free lead trial. That will be important when reading my opinions, and they are my opinions from experience and feedback from other agencies. However, what we have done on many occasions is over deliver on the trial order and again I will explain why we have done that as you get further down the article.
For the customer a free trial is little to no risk. There is no purchase finance risk and there are just minimal staff over heads. This gives the customer the opportunity to generate free business and to make a judgement on the quality of the enquires. In terms of Pro’s, this is the only pro and the benefit is solely with the customer. All the risks lie with the Digital agency. There is the potential that the customer was never looking for a future orders (and disingenuous reasons could be given) and the potential that the leads are not worked as they should be. The latter is a big issue as this shows your campaign doesn’t perform and may not provide a true reflection. This can lead to unnecessary site and campaign changes that could cause a negative effect on future orders.
For me a digital campaign is all about the partnership. I can comfortably through experience say that the partnership is critical for the success of a campaign.
Both parties have to be bought in and carry ownership. For the digital agency, it’s the time and effort of the site build, campaign build, content and ongoing strategy and delivery. For the customer, it’s the in-house performance that includes process, the product knowledge and the key workers. If a customer is bought in to the partnership, we as digital agencies will invest as well if it means getting a campaign to perform within the standards required. We often over deliver on a paid for trial order, making a loss but ultimately that investment is what brings longevity to the relationship and campaign.
As digital agency or as any company, there has to be a line between any client and the right client. For me anyone potential customer asking for a free trial is not the right client for us. It Infuriates me that companies believe they should be given free help when others are happy to invest 10s of 1000s to get a campaign working. If you are company that provides free trials, I would suggest being very careful. Feedback from other agencies tell me that these types of customers never stick around. If you are comfortable with your own ability as a company, don’t undervalue yourself by giving in to these demands.
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