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Online Advertising Articles
(February 2001)

Increase Internet Sales with Free Trials

By Shelley Lowery

If you're selling a product or service on the Internet, one of the best ways to increase your sales is by offering a free trial, also know as a teaser, demo or limited version. By enabling your potential customers to review your product and providing them with an easy ordering process, you can increase your sales immensely.
Free trials are not exclusive to software programs. There are many ways you can offer a free trial no matter what product or service you're offering. For example, if you've written a book, consider offering it in an electronic version; better know as an eBook. You can include your entire book within the eBook and choose to lock out certain chapters.
In order for your potential customer to gain access to these chapters they will be required to purchase the full version. You can include an order form and instantly take orders, right through your free trial Ebook. When you receive an order, you simply send your customer a predefined user ID and password that you set up when you create it.

A good program to assist you in creating an Ebook is WebCompiler. This program will compress your HTML documents into a self-contained "executable" file. This HTML may be a web site you've created or HTML you've specifically prepared to be compiled into a downloadable .exe file for distribution. This .exe file is a completely freestanding program and requires no installation. When clicked on, the program instantly opens your book on your client's desktop. In addition, WebCompiler will enable you to lock out certain pages of your Ebook or an entire directory.

The key to using a free trial version is to offer your product for download from your website and allow it to be freely distributed. Provide some valuable free information, but save your most important information for the unlocked version. Make your locked chapters sound very intriguing and create curiosity. Tell your potential customers what they will receive by purchasing the full version, provide a complete list of all the benefits, and provide them with an easy ordering process.

To further increase your sales, provide your potential customers with instant gratification. You can completely automate your entire ordering process simply by using a CGI script. There are scripts online that will allow you to make your product available for download, take the customers order, approve it right online, send your customer a password and send you a confirmation of the order, all completely automatic.

After you've created your product, consider setting up an affiliate program for massive distribution. There are many affiliate CGI scripts available to assist you in running your own affiliate program. If you're selling a service on the Internet, you can offer your potential customers a free trial as well. For example, if you offer a search engine submission service, you can provide your customers with a limited free submission to the search engines.

To entice your customers to purchase your full service you can, not only submit their site to your full list of search engines, but you can create doorway pages, insure their pages are optimized for the search engines and provide a resubmission service every month for a year. In addition, provide your clients with a free report of each submission process.

Prior to doing your customers last submission, contact them and inform them that their submission contract will soon be expiring. Tell them how they can renew their submission process and offer another enticing freebie such as, "If you renew your submission contract before (date) we will also submit your site to over 1000 Free For All Sites."

This type of free trial will not only increase your current sales, but it will promote future sales as well.

The possibilities are endless. By offering your potential customers something of value for free, providing instant gratification, and an easy ordering process, you can dramatically increase your sales.

About the Author

Shelley Lowery is the Webmistress of Web Source - Your Guide to Professional Website Design and Development. Join The Syndicator, our new, free article syndication program and display complete articles w/photographs on your website that are automatically updated each week.


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