I love that ahrefs has a paid trial.

ahrefs is a tool for search engine optimization of websites. They claim to be the best at what they do, and there are a ton of people who believe that online. They have a few different competitors, and they cost $99/month. All of their competitors have a free trial of varying lengths. ahrefs has a discounted “7 days for $7 dollars” trial. The psychology of that makes me believe the story of them being the best. Why does everyone else give theirs away for free, while ahrefs can charge?

I’m about generosity here, but I’ve also been in the software world and know that most times people devalue a trial period of software. It’s much different than trials for brownies. If it’s free they request it, get busy and don’t use it. Do you think they will waste that trial period if they had to pay for it?

Not as likely.

The paid trial offers five things:

  • Confidence in the product. The fact they can charge for a trial and it doesn’t seem to be hindering their growth means they must make a great product.
  • Value. Paying for a trial makes it valuable. The customer has literally put a price on it. They will use it in that period or suffer wasting their cash. It makes it more likely that they’ll see your products full usage.
  • Story. That you’re the premium product, the one to beat.
  • Innovation/Differentiation – Why can they have the confidence to do a paid trial when no one else can?
  • It also acts as a filter. I’ll bet they have a higher conversion to full paid accounts than the other brands because the people who did the trial have already paid before. They aren’t just tire kickers, they’re looking to buy.

P.S. If you’re interested, I talk a bit more about story and differentiation in the guide to marketing I’ve been working on for a while.