Also called: Freemium, Magnet
See also: Single-Feature Product
Relevant metrics: Acquisition, Activation, Customer feedback, Use cases discovered
How: Give potential customers the ability to experience a portion of a product's value proposition by offering them a free sample.
Why: If users are interested in your free sample, there might be demand for the full product experience. Having established trust in your product and a feeling of reciprocity for receiving a free sample will further help you when you decide to validate willingness to pay.
This experiment is part of the Validation Patterns printed card deck
A collection of 60 product experiments that will validate your idea in a matter of days, not months. They are regularly used by product builders at companies like Google, Facebook, Dropbox, and Amazon.Get your deck!
Before the experiment
The first thing to do when planning any kind of test or experiment, is to figure out what you want to test. To make critical assumptions explicit, fill out an experiment sheet as you prepare your test. We created a sample sheet for you to get started. Download the Experiment Sheet.
Allow users to experience the Aha! moment
While well established and already successful products can get away with setting up hurdles, like sign up forms, most early-stage products don’t have the luxury of a trusting user base. Hurdles, like sign up forms, can cause more than 80% of users abandoning a product or resgistrering with false information.
When validating early stage demand for your product, your goal is let users experience the real value your product has to offer, as soon as possible. The best way to help users understand the value of your product is not by telling them, but letting them experience part of your value proposition for themselves with the use of free samples. Giving a free sample of your product experience to potential customers is giving those customers the ability to experience a portion of a product’s value proposition.
Samples to grow your business
It turns out that doling out free samples of your product is a great marketing strategy as well. They help establish trust in your product and how it can help customers. Samples set the tone of what can be expected if users decide to invest more of their time and money in your product.
They can also help trigger the psychological concept of reciprocity; a perceived social contract in which people feel obligated to return a favor. By receiving and consuming a sample, users will feel personally invested by the time they are prompted to register an account or further invest in your product. However, you need to act quickly, as reciprocity quickly decays
Providing a sample help you deliver value early, so that you can ask for conversion, later.
After the experiment
To make sure you move forward, it is a good idea to systematically record your the insights you learned and what actions or decisions follow. We created a sample Learning Sheet, that will help you capture insights in the process of turning your product ideas successful. Download the Learning Sheet.
Offer the first couple of chapters of a book or the first class of an online course simply to test demand.
- The real startup book by Tristan Kromer, et. al.
- Infographic: How to Solve the Online Registration Challenge by Luke Rolka
- Engaging new users: Free samples by Krystal Higgins
- Reciprocation – Persuasive Design Pattern by Anders Toxboe
- Reciprocity Decay by Coglode