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Whoa! Free trial button did not decrease paid signups, but increased trial signups by 158%

Posted in A/B Split Testing, Case Studies on November 22nd, 2011

The case study we are publishing today answers a dilemma that many software companies encounter at one time or another. Should they offer a “free trial” option? Will it decrease the paid signups? One previous case study answered which button increased clickthroughs by 47%: ‘Try demo’ or ‘Buy now’. This case study answers whether having both at the same time has any effect on sales and conversions.

GetResponse is one of the leading email marketing platforms in the world with more than 210,000 customers across 183 countries. They prominently place a “Buy Now” call to action button on their homepage. They also have a “Free Trial” plan but it was not available on the homepage and could only be found on certain pages. Here’s how their homepage looks like (notice the prominent “Buy Now” button”):

Original homepage

What happens when you add “Free Trial” button?

GetResponse wanted to test if adding a “Free Trial” button on the home page will influence the number of purchases of paid accounts and number of registrations of free accounts. There was a perception that providing a “Free Trial” button will decrease the number of signups so it was quite a critical test. They used Visual Website Optimizer to quickly setup an A/B test in which variation had an extra “Free Trial” button next to the “Buy Now” button. Here’s how the variation looked like (notice two prominent buttons):

Variation: 158% increase in trial signups

A/B test results and learnings

The results they found after running the test were astonishing. GetResponse noticed that by adding free trial buttons on homepage, the number of free accounts increased by 158.60%, while there was no negative influence on the number of paid accounts created via homepage. That is a very strong proof in favor of providing a “Free Trial” button on the homepage itself.

On asking what lessons can be derived from this test, this is what Agnieszka Dabrowska, GetResponse Brand Manager had to say:

It’s worth testing different variations of Call to Action (CTA) on the homepage. We expected that by adding a free trial button on the homepage the number of paid accounts would decrease. We were positively surprised by the results. Not only did we manage to keep the sale at the same level, but we also noticed a huge increase in the number of free trial accounts, which will also result in a bigger number of upgrades in the future.

She further added, Visual Website Optimizer (VWO) is a great tool that lets us test different variations of the homepage on a small sample of visitors. Thanks to VWO, we managed to find out the perfect combination of CTAs on GetResponse homepage and increase the overall conversion”.

GetResponse plan to constantly run different tests with Visual Website Optimizer. They will test effectiveness of different tag lines, order form versions, pricing variations, etc. We hope they always keep increasing their sales and conversions.

Paras Chopra

CEO and Founder of Wingify by the day, startups, marketing and analytics enthusiast by the afternoon, and a nihilist philosopher/writer by the evening!

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November 29, 2011

Noticed they have changed back since?

Christoph C. Cemper
November 30, 2011

Good point. Don’t see the free trial either.
Businesses are not into saving a dime or a couple $ for the first month, they want a stable solution.

November 30, 2011

How many of those who trialled went on to buy the product? That’s the real meaty statistic here.

[...] sales to prominently promote a “free trial” option for possible users? According to a case study of email marketing platform GetResponse, the answer is [...]

December 2, 2011

Nice post, and also nice improvement. But i agree to Jon, what’s the total effect of this? Did they get more sales?

[...] sudden the “Free Trial” looks like a great deal and something worth doing. In a recent case study done by Visual Website Optimizer and the number of “Free Trial” sign [...]

[...] a “Free Trial” button. Email marketing software GetResponse showed a “Free trial” button instead “Buy now” and increased trial signups by 158% (while not decreasing paid [...]

[...] trial as well. Free trial available here 30 Day Free Trial & Full Details Here Money Text ReviewMoney Text finished the month on +5% so a solid start to the year and my confidence grows with this …the period. Still offering the free months trial as well. Free trial available here 30 Day Free [...]

June 30, 2012

To commenters above – I can see free trial button on their site (looks differently than in this case study). So it seems GetResponse guys are continuously testing and improving performance.

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