Offering free trials for your baby or toddler classes might feel like you’re losing money if you have only just started your business. However, they can make for a great tool to help customers get a taste of your classes before committing to a block or a full term.
If you’re considering offering free trials but are not quite sure if they’re worth it for your business, then read on. We’ve given you some food for thought that will help you to make your decision one way or another.
What are the benefits of offering free trials to my baby classes?
Trial offers are great for getting new customers through the door initially, to launch new classes or to establish your brand. When you offer a trial, the most important thing to consider is how likely they are to become a repeat customer, and how long they’ll stay with you.
Offering free trials for baby classes can be beneficial for a business in a number of other ways:
Fills up any gaps in your class:
Free trials can attract new customers who may not be willing to commit to a full block or term without first trying out the class first.
Satisfied customers who have had a positive experience during the free trial are a winning element. They are much more likely to recommend the class to others and get others to try your class too.
More customers will come back:
By offering a free trial, customers have an opportunity to try out the class and decide if it is a good fit for them. This can lead to better customer retention in the long-term and also build a better relationship between customer and providers.
Giving potential customers a preview of what the class has to offer is incredibly powerful in ensuring more long-term customers. Trials can help ensure parents that they are signing up for something that they’ll enjoy.
A useful marketing tool:
Free trials can be used as a marketing tool to attract new customers, by promoting the free trial on your website, social media and other marketing channels.
It is important to note that any type of free trial should be structured in a way that it won’t harm the business’s revenue and should not be at the expense of paying customers.
What are the downsides to offering free trials?
It’s important to weigh the pros and cons of offering free trials and to structure the free trial in a way that minimizes the potential drawbacks and maximizes the benefits for the business. Such as:
Single session prices may not make it worth it:
If you’re already offering classes on a single session basis, then there generally isn’t really a need to have a trial offer as customers. There is already an option for customers to try out your class on a low-risk basis.
Providing a free trial may require additional resources. Including staff or materials, which can increase costs for the business.
A free trial may lead to some customers signing up for the trial and not committing to a full session. This means there isn’t a loss for them, but there is a potential loss in revenue for the business.
Offering free trials may mean that some paying customers are turned away if the class is full. This might mean that if you have a rough idea of how many people attend your classes each week, then you can decide how many trial tickets to offer.
Risk of no-shows:
If they haven’t paid, then there’s possibly less obligation to attend. Some customers may sign up for the free trial and not show up, which can be disruptive to the class and potentially lead to lost revenue.
What is Team Happity’s opinion on Free Trials?
Overall, most parents are limited on their maternity leave and the number of groups they can go to at any one time is limited. After all, babies grow pretty fast and their needs keep changing.
If everyone in the sector were to offer free trials, parents can simply hop from one to the other and never pay for anything. Often when you provide free trials to customers, there is no loyalty and parents don’t return. Not only is Class hopping bad for your business, but it’s also bad for families. They won’t get the benefit from repetition or community.
What’s the alternative to offering a Free Trial for your baby class?
If you’re already offering PAYG (single session) classes, a free trial isn’t necessary because the amount of risk a parent is taking in trying out your class is low.
What we would recommend as an alternative to offering Free Trials is having a block of 3 at a discounted price as a trial offer. For example offering 3 classes for £10 instead when an individual ticket for a class is £5 (essentially still giving them a free class, but also guaranteeing an additional 2 classes).
Often a parent needs to have experienced a class a few times before deciding to stick with it. The first time is always a bit stressful, and may not be the optimal experience for them. They might have trouble finding the location, or figuring out how to get there.
Having a small block of 3 is low commitment but gives families more time to understand what you and your classes are all about. Children can start to enjoy and recognise the pattern of the class, and all members of the family can start to build relationships with others in the class and with the class provider. They’re therefore more likely to stick around.
Another alternative to a Free Trial is by running a designated ‘bring your friend’ day. This is a good way to get your loyal customers to introduce some of their parent friends to your classes. And you can be sure that they will already feel optimistic about your classes as they’re being introduced by one of your regulars!
When do we think a Free Trial is appropriate?
There’s only really a couple of times that we think that Free Trials are appropriate for your baby classes. But if you are still curious, a Free Trial may be a good idea for you if:
- You are a brand new business and trying to establish your initial customer base. Word of mouth is your best friend in the early stages, and Free Trials will encourage those initial customers to come through the door.
- You run classes which otherwise require term / large block bookings only. Most people won’t commit to a full term on something they haven’t tried before, so offering a free trial before they commit to a full term will help them figure out if your class is for them.
We pro-actively think about what’s best for parents and for small businesses (like yours!)
At Happity, we’re passionate about making the baby & toddler sector the best it can be. We’re creating the technology that our community of class providers wish they had, so that they can focus on doing what they do best. As a mission-driven organisation, we pro-actively think about what’s best for small businesses and for parents, and design our product to meet your needs.
Happity allows you to construct different types of trial offer. You could create a discounted offer for their first 3 sessions, rather than just for the first class.
It’s free to list with Happity, and you can offer all sorts of ticket options through our site. Though we also offer cost-effective membership for when your baby class needs an extra boost in its marketing or if you would like access to our provider-catered booking system.
Do you have a question you want to ask those running a baby and toddler classes?
The perfect place to get in touch with like-minded individuals in the same field as you would be the Happity activity provider Facebook group. Find/offer support and network with other providers easily.