How to setup a trial period of access to a Secure Zone membership

You can promote your site's services by offering a free trial membership to access areas on your website that require payment. By allowing visitors to briefly access the premium (password protected) content, you can encourage new subscribers to sign up for a paid membership. By offering them a free trial period of access to the content, you enable them to see the value, which prompts visitors to renew their subscription for a fee.

In this article, you'll learn how to create a Secure Zone specifically to enable new subscribers to get a trial membership to the premium content that is normally only accessable to paying customers. If you are new to working with Secure Zones, see Understanding Secure Zones

This article assumes that you already know how to build a Secure Zone. If you'd like step-by-step instructions, read Creating and managing Secure Zones

Offering a trial membership to a paid secure zone area

In order to offer a trial membership for new subscribers, you'll create two separate Secure Zones:

The content you place in these areas depends on the business model for the site. If desired, you can place identical content in both Secure Zones, to give the trial subscriber an accurate glimpse into the content available to them when they pay the fee. Alternatively, you can provide a limited subset of content in the trial, free Secure Zone and offer the full set of content in the paid Secure Zone.

Next, create a form that subscribes visitors to the 'free' Secure Zone. Set the Secure Zone expiration date to the desired trial duration, such as one month. You can set the limit of access by using a combination of JavaScript and setting the expiration date based on the date of the web form submission as described in the section titled Managing Secure Zone subscribers.

Then, create a second form that subscribes visitors to the 'paid' recurring Secure Zone. Use the option in the sidebar of the form area to Get Web Form HTML Code. In the window that appears, copy the form's source code to the clipboard. You'll paste it back in to one of the System Message pages, in the next part.


Choose Admin > More Customization Options. In the page that appears, click the icon to edit System Messages, as shown below:

 In the list that appears, select the link to access the Secure Zone Access Expired system page.

The layout opens in the online editor.

Type a message to let the visitor know that their password has expired. Click the HTML tab and paste the source code of the form into the code of the System Message. Click the Design tab to check the page; it should look similar to the example below:

When you are finished editing the System Message page, scroll to the bottom and click Save.

Understanding how the two Secure Zones operate

A new visitor can submit a web form that is on the site to subscribe to the free Secure Zone. The day that they begin their trial, the system begins tracking the elapsed time. When a visitor attempts to access the Secure Zone after their trial membership has expired, they are redirected to the system page described above. You have complete control over the content of the message, but the page should include the detail that the visitor's free trial has expired. The page should also include the form that the visitor can submit to purchase a paid subscription. You can include some basic instructions, such as: 

Please submit the form below and include your payment details to continue accessing premium content.

The visitor can then fill out the form (including their payment details). Upon successful submission of the form, the system will redirect them to the paid Secure Zone area, where they can access the premium Secure Zone content.

To research this concept further, see the article titled Charging payment for access to a Secure Zone.


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