Why offer a product demo or freemium offering?

Product demos (or demonstrations) and freemium offerings allow customers to see or experience your product or service offering in a risk free way.  Used to ‘hook’ the customer on your product or service, they can be implemented in various ways:

Types offered Why it matters…
Offering a scale down or freemium version of the product/service for the prospect to use directly. A scaled down or freemium version of the product/service offers opportunities for up-sell or cross-sell opportunities. (Up-sell opportunities are ones that encourage users to purchase a feature rich version of the product with a higher price point, while cross-sell opportunities encourage users to purchase complementary products.)  To take advantage of the scaled down product or service, the prospect agrees to provide their contact information for free and usually abides by set guidelines depending upon the offering. If the user wants more advanced features, they need to pay for them.

  • Use a nurture campaigns to encourage user to try complementary offers.
  • Use a drip campaign to keep your ‘conversation’ going with the customer.
Limiting product use time frame. A limited time frame with full product features encourages customers to try before they buy so that they get used to having the product/service available and do not want to later ‘give it up’.
Showing how the product/service works or benefits the customer via live demo, remotely, or in a video. Onsite demos or demonstrations are closer to sales calls where a sales representative talks with the customer directly, showing the product/service and enabling a personal connection to be made with the prospect.  While more time intensive, this method may be more fruitful for long-term market penetration in a specific geographic region.

Remote online demos may cost less to conduct, but they can be difficult to conduct or hold the prospect’s devoted attention.  Video based product demos can be helpful for showing how complex products work, but a video presentation limits your ability to know a prospect’s interest level if a sales person isn’t present when it’s viewed. Facial expressions and other non verbal clues are difficult to capture from most rating systems.

Use consistent messaging

Similar to collateral, use consistent branding and messaging in your online or offline demo to improve recall and trust in your company and offerings. Be sure to keep in mind who you are targeting – whether user, buyer, or influencer – and where they are in the buying cycle to improve effectiveness.

A word of caution

Creating freemiums or scaled down product demos that prospects can use on their own should be carefully considered.  Depending upon the product/service being offered, they typically cost more than other sales tools to develop due to special programming, packaging, and marketing resources that may be needed to encourage prospects to try your offering.  Also, getting your customers to pay for features after using them for free may be a difficult task.

Discover more…

  1. Cohan, Peter E. “Great Demo!  Remote Demos Best Practices.”  Last modified January 29, 2020. https://customerthink.com/great-demo-remote-demos-best-practices/.
  2. Downey, Gabrielle. “How to Master Product Demonstrations in 6 Simple Steps [Infographics]” Repsly (blog). Last modified March 28, 2017. https://www.repsly.com/blog/consumer-goods/mastering-product-demonstrations.
  3. Gobry, Pascal_Emmanuel. “EXPLAINER: What is The Freemium Business Model?” Business Insider, Inc. Last modified April 8, 2011 (2:59 PM). http://www.businessinsider.com/what-is-the-freemium-business-model-2011-4.
  4. James, Geoffrey.  “10 Rules for Better Product Demos.”  Inc.com.  Last modified July 31, 2013. https://www.inc.com/geoffrey-james/10-rules-for-better-product-demos.html.
  5. Kumar, Vineet. “Making ‘Freemium’ Work.” Harvard Business Publishing. Last modified May 2014.  https://hbr.org/2014/05/making-freemium-work.
  6. Kraner, Steve. “20 Best Practices for Technical Demo’s and Presentations.  EyesOnSales. Last modified April 23, 2011. http://www.eyesonsales.com/content/article/20_best_practices_for_technical_demos_and_presentations/.
  7. Moore, Sandy. “SaaS Marketing Challenges with Freemium.” Business 2 Community. Last modified February 8, 2019.  https://www.business2community.com/marketing/saas-marketing-challenges-with-freemium-02167330.
  8. Murphy, Lincoln. “Freemium or Free Trial?  There’s a Better Question.” Sixteen Ventures. Accessed July 30, 2019. http://sixteenventures.com/freemium-or-free-trial.
  9. Nation, Alexadra. “10 Secrets to Delivering a Great Product Demo.” Marketo (blog) Accessed July 30, 2019. https://blog.marketo.com/2016/05/10-secrets-to-delivering-a-great-product-demo.html.
  10. Schmilovici, Uzi.  “The Complete Guide To Freemium Business Models.”  TechCrunch. Last modified September 4, 2011. http://techcrunch.com/2011/09/04/complete-guide-freemium/.
  11. Shalev, Kuty.  “4 Questions to Help You Price Your App in a ‘Freemium’ World.” Entrepreneur Media, Inc. Last modified September 22, 2015. http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/249062.
  12. Taulli, Tom. “How To Give A Killer Product Demo.” Forbes. Last modified May 19, 2018. https://www.forbes.com/sites/tomtaulli/2018/05/19/how-to-give-a-killer-product-demo/#879c8ee39688.

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