Even if you’re biased like I am between free or paid martial arts trials, this might make you reconsider where one might be more useful than the other.
IN THIS EPISODE:
- What’s the purpose of a trial class anyways?
- Why what happens before the actual enquiry matters
- When to use a free trial and a paid trial offer?
- Intent-based vs Interruption-based marketing
- What differences to consider when marketing on Facebook and Google
- And more
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Hey, George Fourie here. Welcome to the Martial Arts Media™ business podcast. In this episode, I'm going to be talking about a martial arts marketing age-old dilemma: free trials versus paid trials, which one should you be using in your social media, in your Facebook ads, your Google ads, your promotions, and so forth.
So, I'm going to break it down, and the answer is actually not as straightforward as you might think, especially if you're getting good results with free trials or paid trials, and you are kind of biased towards the other. So, there's actually a place for both. So, I'm going to break down where you could potentially use the paid trial, the free trials, and a bit of the science and the logic behind why you should be using it, at which area in your marketing.
Stick around to the end, I'll share with you how to, where you can download our free resource, ‘The Ultimate Facebook™ guide for Martial Arts Schools', that will help you create your next winning ad. Alright, let's jump in.
So, before we dive into details of free versus paid trials, I think it's important to just discuss why a trial in the first place? I mean, we're not in the business of free and paid trials, right? We're in the business of signing up students; and if a student stays with us for one year to two years to three years, I mean, that's really where things are at, right?
So, why not just go for the marriage proposal straight-up, instead of the drink at the bar? Well, it's really just that, right? We kind of need to start with the drink at the bar. So, what is the drink at the bar? Well, we can use a different analogy for that. But you get what I'm saying, right? So, free trial, paid trial, which is going to work best? Well, it's going to depend on what happens before the trial.
So, how are they actually entering into your world? And where are the inquiries coming from? So, let's take the first example. Let's say somebody walks into your school, they walk into your school, and the conversation goes, “Hey, I'm, you know, been walking past the school and had a look at your website and had a look at- I've seen your posts on social media, and I wouldn't mind giving it a try and seeing if it will work for me.”
So, what do you do in that situation? Well, you could present your paid trial, if that's something that you do. But what if a person like that is not keen to pay something just yet? And they just want to try it out? And maybe it's not the money at all, it's just, they just want to give it a go.
They're just not sure, right? What would you do in that scenario? Is it- should you be enforcing a paid trial? You could… or why not just give away a free trial and let them try it out, right?
Because whether they, I mean, the hard work is done – they've actually walked through the door. From there, you know, how they get to being a member, is really up to you and your sales process, and we'll talk a bit more about that as well. In a sense of that, that's where a free trial could work great, right? Somebody walked in, and they just wanted to give it a try.
Let's look at another angle where free trials can work great, and to do that, let's do a quick comparison on two core platforms, two core advertising or promotional channels, one being social media, and one being Google. So, let's take Facebook versus Google, for example. Alright, so starting with Google, when people go to Google, Google is intent-based marketing. Facebook is interruption-based.
So, let's talk about the big G first. So, Google: intent-based, so, somebody goes to Google, they are actively searching for a solution or trying to solve a problem. And so, depending on where they are in the buying cycle, is going to depend where they're at, with what their search terms are going to be. So, if they've gone through all the cycles, they might be typing in something like, “martial arts school near me”.
But if they're not there yet, then they might be typing in something like, “is martial arts the right thing for my child?” or if they know a little bit about different martial arts schools and martial arts styles, they might be typing in, like, “taekwondo versus Jiu jitsu”, or, “Jiu jitsu versus karate”, etc. So, depending on where they're at in the buying cycle, would really depend on where they're at and what type of search term they are typing in. But nevertheless, this person has got intent.
And by the way, if you want to know more about how these different cycles work, these different stages, I recorded a podcast quite a while ago, called ‘The Five Stages of the Martial Arts Students Signup Cycle'. It's podcast episode #41 – if you go to martialartsmedia.com/41, I'll dive into the details of that, Alright, back to free trials. So, free trials, and searching Google. So, your prospect is searching Google and they find your website.
Now, they've got some intent, right? Because they've been searching, educating themselves about martial arts and they're kind of ready to potentially take the first step – or not. So, they get your website and they're presented with two options. Now, if they know you, like you, and trust you at this point, or your website does a good job of doing that, they might be ready to take on the paid trial. But maybe they're not, right?
So, this is where a website could really, it's good to have a few options. And having an option to have a free trial or inquiry, and the paid trial are all good, right? So, this is where a free trial could also be good, because your prospect is just not ready to take out their credit card just yet, although they are very interested. So, that takes care of Google.
Now, let's move over to Facebook. If we look at mass growth, and student signups, what we've experienced mostly with most of our clients, is it's still the premium channel to attract new students. So, let's look at Facebook. The difference between Facebook and Google, is Facebook is more interruption-based.
So, you can target really well and define exactly who you want to, which demographic you want your ads to be shown to. But you still have to interrupt someone out of their mindless scrolling, right?
So, they're scrolling or they’re just checking the phone for a couple of minutes, your ads have got to grab attention – got to grab attention. And if you want to know how exactly to do that ad structure, I'll share with you the download resource that you can grab on the podcast page, that will go through that resource.
But firstly, you have to grab attention, and attention, interest, and desire, right? So, to create desire, you need to create an irresistible offer – an irresistible offer that's got to communicate value. Now, here's where you can struggle with a free trial. If you've just interrupted someone, and they look at your ad, and they look at the option of a free martial arts class, it doesn't really, it's hard to paint the value around it, right? Again, could be case by case, could be different, right? But we're just talking in general.
In general, how this platform works, it's going to be hard to establish value with a free class. And because you interrupted someone, you could be getting inquiries from people that maybe aren't that interested. And so, you're also going to potentially attract the wrong crowd by having the free trial on Facebook. So, in our experience, and I say in our experience, because we work with a lot of school owners, and we've helped martial arts school owners generate more than 7000 paid trials through this formula.
It's important to have a well-structured, well-worded paid trial with a Facebook ad, and we find that works way better on Facebook. Now, how do we structure the paid trial? Well, that's important as well. It's not just paying for a few classes, but it's packaged with a combination of classes. Classes plus a physical item, and then demonstrating what the value is. And that last point is really key.
So, what do I mean by that? Well, it's not just, you know, buy five classes for 50 bucks, or, you know, whatever the number is, and I'm just making that number up. I've actually never used that offer, so don't… well, try it – if it works, let me know. But it's important to package it with something physical. Why the physical really helps, because if I'm paying, let's say, 39.95 for two weeks, and I get a free training t-shirt or free uniform, that's something physical that I can picture in my mind.
And so, if I'm looking at an offer, and I can see that I'm going to pay 39.95 for a two-week trial, I'm going to get this free uniform that's valued at 75, 85, 95 dollars, or I'm saving this much. Now, if you look at this as a package, and it's like, “Ah, cool,” that makes sense – that demonstrates value. I can understand that, because I can understand a physical item better than I can imagining what a martial arts class would be like.
The silly thing is, in your mind, you might be, you know, a prospect might be rationalizing, “Well, you know, if I can try this, and at least I can keep the free item, if I don't like it.” Not sure what you're going to do with a Gi if, or a uniform, if you're not going to train, but hey, nevertheless, that's cool.
So, just to wrap it up, where do you use a free trial? Where do you use a paid trial? Depends on the platform, where you're going to use it. Make sure that you've got both on your website, so that if somebody finds you, that they can access both – whichever one suits them at the time in their buying cycle. And if you're going to use Facebook ads, then the best bet is to use the paid trial and potentially get the most results from that.
And if you want to know how to do that, then on this page, depending on where you are watching or listening to this episode, martialartsmedia.com/124. So, the number 124, martialartsmedia.com/124. Scroll down to the big red button that says, ‘Download the Ultimate Facebook™ Ad Formula for Martial Arts Schools.' That will help you, take you through the exact process that we use with all our clients to create winning Facebook ad campaigns that help you attract new students all year long
Thanks so much for watching. Thanks so much for listening. Wherever you are accessing this episode, please make sure you subscribe, that you get notified when our next episode comes out. And please do me a favor, if you got great value from this episode, please share this with a martial arts school owner or instructor friend that you know would get some great value from listening to or watching this.
Thanks again. See you in the next episode, speak soon.
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