Over the past few years I have had the need to try many new services and equally we have been trying to find the best model for selling and promoting our own SaaS.

One thing that I have found in many of the freemium models is the lack of free services or the short trial period from Microsoft 365 that gives you a 1 month trial period to scoop.it that give you just 7 days.

My experience has been that with the huge number of programs to test, implement and then use we sign up to many and then forgot them possibly 70 to 90% of them over time and only end up really using a handful. The ones that I have used, have been those that I either desperately needed and a few that I gradually started using until the software became a mainstream tool, for which I found the need to upgrade to the paid subscription rates, those like Linkedin, Pingdom, Whatsapp, etc.

The shortened trial periods are obviously a good way of weeding out users from testers, but would you not agree that it is a model that eliminates many possible future users. In the old shareware model, the user only paid if they decided that they were using it and they wanted to. Some functionalities were added or improved in the licensed model but in most cases there was little difference between the free and the paid version.

I maybe wrong but I think in the long run, you can enjoy a higher profitability if you provide a true freemium model; FREE until you decide to upgrade or use it. Building in a few metric for usage and use of resources should allow any provider to gauge the use and act at the right time to convert the user into a subscription paying user, rather than asking for their money upfront or before they have seen the benefit of the service.

My questions to you are:

– Is the provision of a cut down version or free version too much for today’s provider of SaaS?
– Are the benefits not higher if you allow users to start in their own time and get started?
Or are aggressive marketing methods of short trial periods with payment information request a better way to get ROI and objectives?
– What is worth more the 10 paying clients and 100 that can be converted in the future or just 10 paying users?

I would be interested to hear the views of all. We have tried several models, but in the end we have settled for fremium, with FREE in the sense of FREE until you decide to use it for more than a specified number of accounts or FREE with just some advertising.