Free trials mean a lot to both companies and users, and so do emails that come along with them.
It shows how much a company cares about its users, how user-friendly it is, and how much educational content and support they provide to its customers alongside its product(s).
In other words, every email you send to a user during their trial period not only gives additional information about your product but also gives clues about your company.
Here are the tips and tricks on how to write trial emails that make good impressions on new users as well as educate and convert them into customers!
Ready when you are 🏃♀️
- Emails sent to users who signed up for a free trial for various purposes during their trial period are called “free trial emails”.
- These emails aim to improve user experience and help users have their “aha!” moments as soon as possible.
- They are mainly sent to welcome users and show them where to find educational content/resources, inform them about specific features and their use cases, offer help/assistance, give industry-related statistics/ study results, ask for feedback, or offer discounts.
- With free trial emails, you can easily interact with your new users, urge them to take action, and have control over their user journeys.
- Also, you can encourage your users who are hesitant to take the next step and tell them how much it will make a difference in terms of their product experience.
What Is a Free Trial Email?
A free trial email is a message sent to warm new users -a.k.a. potential customers- to the product and/or company, educate them about the product and ensure that they get maximum efficiency from the product in their trial periods.
As part of an email marketing campaign, trial emails usually cover a series of emails, each sent for a different purpose.
Do free trial emails make a difference?
A well-planned trial email sequence allows you to interact with your users at regular intervals and remind them of your product.
Many users review multiple products simultaneously, so the time she spends on your product may be short for her to come across every in-app onboarding material. Or she may even forget why she liked your product in the first place.
Therefore, even if you are a product-led company with a lot of confidence in your product and/or in-app onboarding, you need to remind users of the value of your product, inform them about your product features, and promote them to use the product.
With trial emails, you can:
- Make a welcoming, user-friendly first impression on trial users.
- Reach out to users who have abandoned their trial periods.
- Encourage users who hesitate to take the next step.
- Highlight your best features and unique solutions.
- Promote users to contact the sales team and schedule demo calls/meetings.
Now, let’s explain the advantages of trial emails in detail.
1. Customer Engagement
The more you’re engaged with your customers, the more likely you’re going to seal the deal with them. Because you know, everything is about customer relations -or at least, lots of things are.
Through emails, you can directly communicate with your trial users, explain your product in detail, and give tips & tricks about your product.
You can ask for feedback about the onboarding materials and/or their experience with the product up until that time or their expectations of your product. Show them you do not care only about closing a deal but also about their thoughts and experiences, which would help you build a better relationship.
👉 If your trial users see that you’re willing to interact with them, they will also become more willing to interact with your product.
🤔 Wanna read more about customer engagement? Let’s take you here.
2. Control Over the User Journey
Of course, you cannot convert a lead into a loyal customer just with a single email.
That would be magic 🪄
But your customer success team can send inspirational success stories and compelling content about possible ways to utilize your product and the results they can get.
Sometimes it can be hard to see the potential of a product, especially if it requires a financial commitment. You can’t be sure whether you really need it or whether it’s really a useful product.
In this point, showing how premium features helped a company from a similar industry to grow their business/increase revenue and/or productivity could help a trial user to see the true value of the product.
👉 Even if you offer a unique solution, leaving the user alone with the product can cause the user to get stuck somewhere in the tunnel. If you want your user to take the next step, you must trigger them.
3. Urging Users to Take Action
One of the most popular reasons to carry out an email marketing campaign is to call users to action.
That showy, colorful CTA buttons 🤩
You can draw the attention of your inactive users with checklists or links to your educational materials, such as how-to videos, product tours, and support articles, and encourage them to give another shot to your product, this time with your help.
➡️ Show how much progress they’ve made and how close they are to getting results if they take one more step.
➡️ Offer help to complete a certain action, such as installing a tracking code.
➡️ Share links to your support center.
➡️ Push them back to your product to finish a task they’ve left unfinished.
👉 Due to intense workload, living conditions, or something else, people might forget about a product trial or simply lose their motivation to try it. But you can gain them back by telling them the next thing to do.
What Should a Good Free Trial Email Include?
Okay, you have become familiar with the concept.
You know what to expect from trial emails, more or less.
Now, bear with me, and let’s see how to structure those emails to get the most out of them.
As it will be the first email a new user receives from you, the welcome email will set a standard and style for your future emails. Do you prefer a more friendly language or a formal one? Will you use visual elements such as gifs and pictures or go with a plain design consisting of text only?
Lots of decisions to be made…
These are things about your company image and preferences, of course.
But there are things you should pay attention to regardless of your language use and design 👇
- You should show -and link, if possible- everything you got: knowledge center, support center, and blog. You can also link the most popular blog content and videos/webinars separately.
- You can put a short animation/explanatory video showing your product’s interface and/or where to find and how to use the most popular tools/features.
- Make sure to direct the user to your product in the end and encourage them to complete the registration/onboarding process.
Here’s an example from Notion, welcoming new users with a short explanatory video:
We showed where to find the relative information in the first mail, but it’s not enough. If you want users to have their “Aha!” moment as soon as possible, you need to direct them to different sources and educational materials according to their needs and expectations from your product.
⚠️ For that, you must ask a few questions to users about their business sectors, job positions, product expectations, and technological competencies when signing up for the free trial. Otherwise, you wouldn’t have enough information for custom suggestions and personalized content.
Once you’ve collected the data about a user, you can forward the links to your articles/videos that are most relevant to the sector she works in.
Pro Tip: You can add specific tips & tricks about your product at the end of your emails. But make sure you don’t go with the most obvious ones.
Check-in & Follow-up Email
Follow-up emails are sent to interact with the trial users directly and to learn their opinions/experiences about the product in the elapsed time.
These are short emails that include a phone number or an email address you can contact.
The main purpose is to get in touch with the user before their trial ends and answer the questions they might have while there is still time, therefore improving the product experience.
Here’s an example from BambooHR:
Case Study/ Success Story Email
You must have many customers who have increased their work efficiency, grown their business, or gotten the results you promised.
And you’re probably highlighting their stories on your blog to get leads.
But here’s the thing, success stories are more effective than you think. You can use bits and pieces from them in your demo calls, blog content, and trial emails!
People love statistics and real-life examples.
You can share;
- The results of a study proving the efficiency of a certain feature/tool your product also has or a solution/service your company offers.
- The statistical data of a customer that has grown their business with your product/services.
- Or you can share industry-based research about how big and important the problem your product solves is.
Here’s an example from Livestorm, highlighting one of their customers’ success stories:
Now, we’re getting close to the end of the trial period.
Tick-tock, tick-tock… ⌛
Therefore, if a user has not tried the advanced features of your product that you trust the most or has not completed the tasks she started, that is, if she has not got the most out of your product up until that point, then there might be a problem.
As the host, we should take the first step and ask if she is struggling somewhere, if there is something she doesn’t understand, or if she needs help.
You can invite them to a quick demo call/meeting and help to set up their account and/or complete whatever they struggled with.
Because you know what they’re missing out on if they don’t complete this step, you wouldn’t want to lose potential customers for something that can be handled easily with just an email.
Here’s how Hotjar offers help to users who haven’t installed their tracking codes:
Trial Expiration Email
By its very own nature, one day, every free trial will come to an end and expire.
But the important thing here is to be able to remind your user of what you offered, in what ways you provided convenience, and how you helped them in their work during this time.
If you reach out to your trial users as “Your trial has expired; if you don’t switch to the premium plan, your lists, plans, and other tasks created with premium features will be deleted soon.” most likely, you will not get the return wished for.
Thus, in your trial expiration email, make sure to state;
- How they used and what they created with your product.
- What they were struggling with before your product and how you could help them.
- What they can achieve if they’re to continue with your company and product -remind them about the possibilities and others’ success stories.
Special Offer/Discount Email
Well, it seems like the trial period has ended, and you couldn’t hear back from the user.
But don’t worry; you still have another shot.
With this email, we are targeting users who have actually used your product actively during the trial period and benefited from many features but did not switch to a premium account at the end of the trial.
So we need to create an additional motive to go premium -a.k.a. a special offer/discount.
You can offer in-app credits/coupons, one-month free usage, a discount for two-three months, or a second trial period.
The scheduling and time management tool Deputy, for example, offers the first month for free:
A feedback email, as the name itself suggests, is sent to find out the opinion of a user on a particular topic, and it can be sent at any point in the trial email sequence.
You can put a questionnaire with multiple-choice questions or a survey with open-ended questions. But keep in mind that the longer it takes, the less likely users are to answer.
Thus, make sure you;
➡️ Keep it short and precise. Do not ask detailed questions about each and every tool.
➡️ Ask about their opinions on both the product and the free trial period.
➡️ And send it within a week from the expiration of the trial.
Here’s an example from Freshdesk:
8 Examples of Free Trial Emails That Work
I know, I know. It’s hard to keep all these in mind.
Maybe you think it’s impossible to keep this structure for your emails.
Or maybe, you think that by paying attention to all these suggestions, you cannot be original, creative, or outstanding amongst all the other emails.
But you can, just like them 👇
Here are examples that are both informative and remarkable, paying attention to all the tricks:
#1 Hotjar Tracking Code Reminder
Hotjar is aware of the fact that installing tracking code makes a huge difference in terms of performance and efficiency.
Therefore, they send reminders to those who haven’t installed theirs yet on a regular basis. But in order not to be boring and annoying, they found a very creative and fun way to tell the importance of completing this action.
#2 Timely Incomplete Checklist Reminder
Sometimes people think that completing the tasks on the onboarding checklist is not that important. However, every task there has been carefully designed to give them an accurate impression of the product.
In this case, you might want to remind your users of the incompleted tasks, just like Timely does.
You can give brief information about what these tasks/features are about and direct them to the product.
#3 Copy.ai Feedback Email
Here’s another cool example from Copy.ai: they emphasize the brevity of the questionnaire by stating in the email subject line that they only have two questions, and they present one of the questions in a clickable form in the mail!
#4 Desktime Sales Outreach Email
Though not really a free trial email, I believe Desktime does a neat job here, trying to contact a user who hasn’t subscribed to a premium plan after the trial.
If the product couldn’t sell itself up until some point, then it’s the sales’ turn.
#5 Figma Welcome Email
Do you remember what I said about the welcome emails?
They should be the booklet of your resources and the map of your website. People should be able to navigate around your knowledge base, support center, and blog easily with your help.
Well, Figma makes a pretty well start, pointing out where to find what.
#6 Livestorm Educational Email
Livestorm keeps the data of its users’ completed/incompleted actions during their onboarding processes. Thus, they’re able to monitor who’s struggling with which task.
This is how they reach out to those who haven’t done anything on their first day of the free trial.
#7 Toggl Welcome Email
Toggl is a time-tracking tool that is mostly used by companies and freelancers for billing, invoicing and project budgeting. But as people work on various devices, it might be hard to log into their accounts from a browser and start tracking time every time they change their device.
To facilitate the process, Toggl offers extensions and app versions for mobile and desktop.
And here is how they remind their users to install them right in the beginning:
#8 LastPass Educational Email
Educational emails don’t have to be solely about the features of your product.
You can both inform about important issues and direct your users to your product.
Here’s how LastPass educates their users about cybersecurity and explains how to protect themselves against the dangers on the internet with a fun checklist:
It’s equally important for both you and your users that they can get the most out of your product in their free trial periods.
They should understand what you offer, see the possibilities, and try the product by themselves.
And they should do it in 7 days or less -if you’re not one of those companies with pretty long trial periods.
So you need to make sure they do not overlook any educational material or onboarding content you provide, such as guides, videos, and support articles.
Also, we never know what will help a user to have their “aha!” moment, which means we should monitor their activity during the trial and remind them to try out features/tools they haven’t tried yet.
And are you still not sure how to achieve all that?
With free trial emails, ofc!
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best subject line for a free trial email?
Though there’s no formula that works for every mail, there are a few things to take into consideration while writing a subject for your trial emails.
- KISS -keep it short and simple, do not put all the information in the subject.
- Be creative and original. You can ask questions, use emojis, etc.
- You can add urgency labels such as [Urgent], [Needs Action], etc.
What should be the aim of a free trial email?
There are different types of trial emails that have different purposes:
- Welcome Email: It’s the first email of the trial email sequence and aims to welcome a user and show her quickly what she can do with it, as well as where to find support articles and how-to videos if needed.
- Educational Email:An educational email aims to give information about a specific feature of a product and how to use it effectively. It can include blog content, guides, or video links. There may be more than one educational email in the sequence.
- Follow-up Email: Often sent after a few days a user’s signed up for the trial, follow-up emails are short messages that aim to interact directly with the user and see how well they’re doing with the product.
- Case Study/Success Story Email: This is an email aimed at convincing your user about the real-life impact and necessity of your product. You can share the results of a recent study that might be relevant to the user and/or a success story of one of your customers highlighting your product.
- Trial Expiration Email: As the name itself suggests, a trial expiration mail informs the user about the date on which their trial period ends.
- Special Offer/Discount Email: Mostly sent soon after the expiration notification, this one aims to create an additional motive to buy the product, such as discounts and in-app credits.
- Feedback Email: Feedback emails are short messages that include a quick survey about the user’s onboarding experience and thoughts on the product.
Who has the best free trial emails?
Though the quality of an email can be assessed to some extent, there is no such thing as “the best” when it comes to emails and email marketing.
Suppose a company can interact with its trial users, educate them about its product(s) and how to utilize it more efficiently, and turn their leads into customers in the end. In that case, they have the best free trial emails!
But still, if you want to see some creative and well-structured trial emails, you can check them here.