The original trial sign-up page for Money-Media's Life Annuity Specialist looked a bit intimidating. It had several boxes to fill out, a password to create, enter and re-enter, and many asterisks which usually isn't good. Then there was a testimonial, a confirmation box, "privacy and cookie policies," and finally the Sign Up button at the bottom. Whew!
"The marketing team noticed the structure of the trial sign-up page meant that while Life Annuity Specialist's content was generating a lot of interest and clicks, the sign-up completion rate was low," wrote Chelsea Bona, marketing associate at Life Annuity Specialist, in her entry that won a 2019 first-place SIPAward for Best Success Story. "The hypothesis was if prospects could get to the content quicker by filling out fewer fields, and saw a more modern-looking page they'd be more likely to trust, Life Annuity Specialist would see more trial sign-ups."
And so a new trial sign-up page was created—a small white box over the larger homepage. The box contained 5 lines:
- The Life Annuity Specialist logo
- "Welcome to Life Annuity Specialist"
- "Enjoy a free, full-access trial of all articles for 30 days"
- [box] "confirm I have read agree to the terms and conditions"
- A [Start Reading] button
"The team saw an immediate change, with an unprecedented 584 trial sign-ups that closed three sales from the one-click trial marketing campaign," wrote Bona. "This marketing technique fundamentally changed how all Life Annuity Specialist campaigns have been run since. More importantly, it launched the product to more than double the number of subscribers it had at the start of the year, making the product an undeniable success."
The subject of free trials recently came up on the SIPA Discussion Forum. Rob Lawson of Credit Today LLC pointed to SurveyGizmo's trial page. They invite you to "test drive any feedback collection plan risk free. No credit card required. To test-drive SurveyGizmo, select the feedback collection solution that's best for you (Full Access, Professional, Collaborator)." (Each has a "Start Free Trial" button.)
Jay Campbell of The Company Dime wrote that their "one-time trial is about giving [their customers] a chance to see what we can do and maybe getting them on our free email list... Once they're getting the emails, hopefully there will be another article down the line that they'll want to pay to access."
Another respondent wrote that instead of free trials, "offer free webinars that require people to register. Then you have their email address and can continue to cultivate them. A free two-week trial is a great reward for those who have watched the webinar." (SIPA has a webinar coming up next Thursday titled, How to Develop Free Webinars and Other Virtual Events that Generate Qualified Leads—and Convert Them to Paying Customers. Register here.)
Here are more reasons for Life Annuity Specialist's success:
It reaches an underserved audience. Life Annuity Specialist was officially launched in 2018 as a full publication from the Financial Times. It's the first business intelligence service that's written for executives at life insurance carriers and annuity providers—an underserved group—as opposed to insurance agents
It's designed as a one-stop source for original reporting and efficient aggregation of industry news.
The editorial team was fortified, adding a managing editor and an associate editor. "By expanding the editorial team, Life Annuity Specialist had experts who could contribute more original stories from the product manufacturer's perspective."
They looked at what subscribers were reading and doubled down. The editorial team monitored what was being read most and shifted the content focus to what subscribers showed most interest in, helping to increase readership.
They added new elements. Content offerings expanded to include charts and graphics, Q&As with CEOs, and webcasts, which brought brand awareness to new audiences. The first webcast alone led to 95 new trialists and partnerships with prominent insurance organizations like LIMRA.
A sales director and marketing associate were brought in.