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Subhankar Kundu in Transactional Emails

Best Practices To Handle Trial Expiration Email

When your company deals with a software product, it will have a trial period for free users. The structure of the trial period may vary from one company to another. As the trial period comes to an end, you should send the user an email or two to make them aware of this. This helps mitigate any problem that arises due to service interruption if they want to continue using the product.

Trials with Credit Cards or without them?

You can handle trial periods in two ways.  It can be a trial period without a credit card which is a simple trial or a trial period with a credit card upfront. The latter means that when the trial period expires, you can charge from the credit card. Regardless of the approach you use, informing the user ahead of time is imperative. The message’s content will be different depending on the approach and the company. In this blog, you will know more about the reasons behind these approaches and also the crucial information you can include in each of the scenarios.

For Trials without a Credit Card

If your customer is using your product without giving you their credit card information, then ensure that you enlighten them about how they can avoid service interruption during the ending of the trial period.

For Trials with Credit Card

Some products require credit card upfront to ensure they lock out malicious users who want to try the product. Some products will start to charge the potential client immediately after a trial period ends. There are also those that allow the client to choose to continue the usage and accept the initial charges. For the former, ensure that you leave room for the client to cancel the charge while with the latter you should make the activation of the account easier.

When your product requires collecting a credit card, you should offer the client a money-back guarantee that they can claim within 30 days after the initial charge. If your refund period is not generous enough to the clients, this approach will call for an inevitable chargeback. Many people do not check their credit card status as often as they should. Once they discover that you charged them for some months and they had not been using the product, they will demand the refund.

Reminders Vs. Notices For Trial Expiration

The companies who offer trial periods need to send two emails about the expiration factor. The first email should let the client know that the trial is about to end and the second one should go after the expiration of the trial.

Goals for Trial Expiration Emails

1. To help the user plan ahead so that they do not experience interruptions

Trials end someday. Coming to those clients who love your software and whose end of the trial is near you should help them by making the whole process of payment smooth. The only way you can ensure that you do this for them is by giving them notices. Make it clear when the expiration date is and what happens after that. Offer them a link that will help them to get going.

If your potential clients have provided their credit card details and you will automatically charge the card at the end of the trial, let them know about it. This way, they won’t be shocked when it happens.

2. Make it is easy for them to continue to use or cancel the use

It is obvious that some people will sign up and some do not. Therefore, design your emails such that they are more helpful to those who want to continue using your product. However, providing service for those who will not continue is equally important. Therefore, make it easy for a user to become a paying customer and also to cancel or delete the data they have provided. Who knows they could still use your product someday!

3. Make it Clear on How To Get Help

The process of transitioning from trial to a paying customer can be stressful. When the client decides to become a paying customer, make the transition process flawless. Sometimes the customers wonder if their data from the trial period is maintained or discarded. They would also want to know when they might incur charges. Some may not have received approval from accounting. Therefore, let them know where they can get help.

Common Mistakes People Make with Trial Expiration Emails

Trial expiration emails are a special kind of emails as they serve two different people at the same time. It serves those who wish to become paying customers as well as those that are not interested. Therefore, you need to take care that your email does not confuse anyone. The confusion sometimes lead to mistakes in trial expiration emails.

Not Informing People Properly About The Product and What It Does

One factor that many of you overlook is that some leads are sidetracked before they even check your product. In some cases, they may have interest in your product, but have no memory of signing up for it. They may have also forgotten about what the product does. Especially for products with longer trial periods, the chances of not recalling is more. Therefore, in the email, write few lines about your product, what it does, and why they should try it.

Failure to Give an Early Notice

Usually, weekends, traveling, and vacations are all factors that will affect the timing of the trial expiration. Therefore, ensure that you give at least three day’s notice before the expiration date. If you make it two days, you may lock someone from their account because the two days may be weekend. Also, ensure that they know the exact day trial ends so that they can make plans to avoid a lockout.

Failing to Consider Engagement and Personalization

The best thing about software trials is that by the end of everything, you have all the crucial details of your potential client. You will know if they have ever logged in, and how many times too, whether the data created is significant, did they take the opportunity to invite other people to use the software, and so on. All this information gathered will help you to know the engagement level of the user. From there, you can customize the email with simplicity and accuracy.

It is a sign that a user wants to be a long-term user if they are highly engaged and they have logged in recently. If the person did not use the product, then the chances are high that they will not want to renew it. Therefore, you should modify your email to ask whether they would like some more time to check the product. Even after a couple of weeks, if there is very little data and their activity with the software is also less then it shows their lack of interest. Sometimes it can mean that they signed up for the product at a time they did not need it.

Assuming That The Recipient Automatically Wants To Be A Paying Customer

A lot of people always work with the mindset that the customer wants to keep using the product. Unless the product you are offering is very crucial, many people would not want to continue using your product. When you fail to acknowledge the people who do not want to use the product, you will crush their hope of ever using the product in future. In the email, include clear guidelines on what to do to completely close their account and also about unsubscribing from the emails, deletion of data, and any other action they would want to take.

Information to be Included in Trial Expiration Email

Many of the information you include should answer questions that recipients may have in mind. It will also call for the inclusion of links.

What is the email about and what does the product do?

Always remember that there are recipients who do not remember signing up for your product. If they have to evaluate your products, then there is less chance that they remember signing up for your product. Also, when the trial period is longer, they will not remember your product at all. Hence in your email, you need to include information that reminds them of the product. For instance, you can include a link with “What is [product name]” in the email.

How much time is Remaining?

Remember that the end of the trial may not coincide with perfect timing for your client. Therefore, when you let them know the exact amount of time that is left and when it ends, they can make their best move. For instance, a trial that expires on Saturday will call for the user to renew it immediately if they have a vacation planned for next week. In the case where a person has not made a final approval, and the decision maker received an invitation for trial yesterday, they will request for some extra time.

Therefore, ensure that you communicate the precise date and time the trial expires. Include the day of the week for the expiration to make it clear if it happens on the weekend. This enables the recipient to be on the top of their game and avoid service interruption.

What Next After The Trial Ends?

Sometimes questions like what happens to my data? Will I use the same account if I upgrade? Will you delete my account automatically if I take no action? If I upgrade my account after one or two months, will I find my data? Many things that causes the end of your trial period do not coincide with the client’s life. Tell them what will happen to their information so that they can breathe easily after the trial is over.

How To Upgrade?

Typically, this email has the primary purpose of preventing the interruption of service for anyone who wants to continue using the product. Therefore, give the recipient links that will take them to a page where they will add their payment information or activate their account completely.

Can I Get More Time?

This is a frequent request from many of your potential clients. The answer depends on the service you offer and if you provide this option. This is not a service you offer to everyone. It is beneficial to an account that had minimal or no usage. The person will have more time to evaluate the product. As stated, trial expirations do not perfectly fit a user’s life. There may be a delay in the project, team members may be on vacation, and so on. All these may have kept them from trying the product.

Can I Get My Data Out? If yes, How?

A person may not continue using a service after the trial. However, they may have put in some efforts or data during the trial period, and they may want to get it out. Make it easy and clear how they can do this if it is possible. This will leave the doors open for them to purchase the product some other day. It is a sign of goodwill.

How can I cancel the product?

There is a great chance that not so many people will continue using the product after expiration. Many may want to delete and end the relationship immediately, and also have their data deleted from your server. Ensure that you make this process easy and straightforward. Provide them a link in the email.

What if I need help?

Remember, people will always have questions for you before they make their final decision to commit regardless of the effort you may put to eliminate it. Prepare to answer many of such questions but also have your support team information included as well. You cannot cover everything alone.

The Checklist

  • The information about the product
  • The expiration date of the trial (including the day of the week) as well as an approximation of the remaining time
  • Information about upgrading and the relevant link
  • Include information and link to the trial extension
  • Information about how to close the account and export data as well in the link
  • Include information about support contact
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