The SaaS business Moz offers free SEO tools with limited usage.
Anyone can use the tools a few times per day, or sign up for a free Moz account (becoming a lead) in order to raise the limit significantly.
And of course, when people use up their limited daily access, they are invited to pay for (or sign up for a trial for) the full tools.
The main “Free SEO Tools” page has earned links from 3,695 referring domains including Forbes, HubSpot, Business Insider and more.
It ranks #1 on Google for the high-value keyword “SEO tools” (which gets 12,000 searches per month).
Content marketing idea:
What I love about Moz’s approach here is that it’s a miniature marketing funnel all on its own:
Step 1: Someone searching for “SEO tools” finds the free tools page.
Step 2: Without any login requirement to add friction, the person tries the tools.
Step 3: After a few uses, they are prompted to create a free account (signing up with their email address).
Step 4: Now that Moz has their email address, the person also starts getting content dripped to them to build trust and deepen the relationship.
Step 5: Once they hit the usage limits on the free account, they’re invited to sign up for a trial for the full premium tools.
A clever aspect of this approach is that Moz only pitches the full tool versions to the people who are using the free tools a lot.
Moz knows that people who are just dipping their toes into SEO may not need a full $99+/mo suite of tools…
But many of those people will gradually do more and more SEO work over time, using Moz’s free tools as they do. As those people learn SEO, they will become comfortable with Moz’s tools and develop an affinity for the brand.
And when the moment is right — based on the user hitting the free tier’s usage ceiling — Moz will prompt them to sign up for the full, paid suite of tools.