How to Add Free Trial Subscriptions in WordPress (4 Methods)

Offering a free trial is one of the best ways to get more signups and conversions for your online subscriptions. With a free trial, visitors can try your service, course, membership site, or digital products before paying.

This gives them a risk-free way to evaluate your offering. Plus, it helps overcome objections as they already have first-hand experience using your subscription.

In this post, we‘ll explore four methods for adding free trial subscriptions in WordPress:

1. Using Easy Digital Downloads for Digital Products

Easy Digital Downloads is the best solution if you want to offer a free trial subscription for digital products like ebooks, courses, stock photos, music files, and more.

To add a free trial subscription:

  • Install and activate Easy Digital Downloads
  • Go to Downloads > Add New to create a new product
  • Set the price to $0
  • Check the "Enable free trial for subscriptions" box
  • Set the trial duration in days, weeks, months or years
  • Limit to specific product categories (optional)
  • Set download limits to prevent abuse

With Easy Digital Downloads, you can create unlimited access passes, customized purchase confirmation pages, expiration reminder emails, and more.

2. Using MemberPress for Memberships and Courses

MemberPress makes it easy to create WordPress membership sites with unlimited levels, content dripping, and integration with popular solutions like MailChimp.

It also lets you add free trials to your membership site in just a few clicks:

  • Install and activate MemberPress
  • Go to Memberships > Add New
  • Set up the membership details and recurring payment
  • Check the "Free Trial" box
  • Set the number of free trial days
  • Customize the confirmation page and emails

This is perfect for offering a free trial period for your online courses, communities, podcasts, and other membership sites.

3. WooCommerce Subscriptions for Physical Products

WooCommerce is the most popular eCommerce platform for WordPress. The WooCommerce Subscriptions extension lets you add subscription functionality to your online store.

You can use it to offer free trials for physical products like subscription boxes, meal kits, razors, pet products, and more.

  • Install WooCommerce and the Subscriptions extension
  • Go to Products > Add New
  • Choose "Simple Subscription" product type
  • Set subscription price, length, and free trial duration
  • Customize the checkout messaging

With WooCommerce Subscriptions, your customers can view and manage subscriptions directly from their account dashboard.

4. WP Simple Pay for Custom Services

WP Simple Pay is the best solution if you want to sell access to custom services on a recurring basis. For example, you could use it to offer a free trial for coaching calls, resume feedback, tax prep, and other professional services.

Here‘s how to add a free trial subscription using WP Simple Pay:

  • Install and activate WP Simple Pay
  • Click "Create a Payment Form"
  • Select the "Recurring Services with Trial Period" template
  • Set amount, currency, billing period, and free trial duration
  • Customize form fields and payment methods
  • Embed form using shortcode or block

The benefit of WP Simple Pay is you don‘t need to create products. Just build the form and embed it on any page or post.

Once your free trials are set up, focus on promoting them to get more signups. Here are some ideas:

  • Show a banner or popup offering the free trial
  • Create a dedicated landing page for the free trial offer
  • Add "Start Your Free Trial" buttons across your website
  • Offer the free trial in your email newsletter
  • Run a limited-time free trial campaign on social media

The more visibility your free trial gets, the more leads and eventual conversions you‘ll generate.

It‘s not enough to just sign people up for a free trial. You need to deliver value so they want to convert to a paid subscription.

Here are some tips:

  • Send a series of onboarding/welcome emails
  • Offer limited 1-on-1 coaching/support
  • Hold live or recorded training sessions
  • Set up a private Facebook group for free trial users
  • Send exclusive discounts and coupon codes

Focus on over-delivering value so customers are satisfied with their experience.

Don‘t just wait and hope free trial users will convert. Make sure you follow up close to expiration with emails reminding them to subscribe.

Send at least 2-3 emails before the trial ends:

  • 7 days before expiration
  • 2 days before expiration
  • On the final day of their trial

Emails should highlight the value received and remind them to subscribe to keep accessing your services, products or membership.

Adding free trials is one of the best tactics for increasing conversions. Use the methods above to offer free trials tailored to your business model. Then focus on delivering an incredible experience so prospects don‘t think twice about subscribing.

Written by Jason Striegel

C/C++, Java, Python, Linux developer for 18 years, A-Tech enthusiast love to share some useful tech hacks.