If your service starts life as a free offering, you’ll be well aware of the challenges when it comes to ensuring customers take the necessary steps up the subscription ladder.

This is most commonly found in the world of software where subscriptions start from a free tier and rely on as many people as possible upgrading to paid subscriptions in order for the developer to become a sustainable business.

It’s hard work, but email marketing can ease the burden a little.

By leaning on automation and a little know-how, you can use platforms like mailingmanager to gradually increase brand advocacy to the point where people feel compelled to start spending money with you.

In this post, we’re going to look at an email I received from Grammarly, a web-based writing tool to which I subscribed for free recently.

As you’re about to find out, the key lies (as always) in simplicity!

Reel ‘em in with the subject line

Grammarly chose the following subject line for this campaign:

Write Like a Pro. Here’s 40% Off Grammarly Premium!

As subject lines go, this is a free lesson. Firstly, I’m told what benefit I’ll receive from opening the email (“write like a pro”), secondly they’ve used a number (“40%” – numbers are always eye-catching) and thirdly, the offer sounds compelling.

So, of course I clicked through!

The opener

Grammarly correctly brands this email in the most simple way possible; an appropriately sized logo appears at the top without any fanfare, for a nice quick load and instant brand recognition.

The header text reaffirms the offer, but goes one step further by telling me how long it lasts (just two days – so, plenty of urgency).

The “You’ve earned it” strap line is nothing more than a cheeky bit of brown-nosing, but we’ll let them off that.

The call-to-action (CTA)

The CTA in this email is immediately present in the preview pane of my email client and again confirms the 40% saving on offer:

It’s also preceded by a great piece of copy that uses personalisation and short, sharp sentences to reel me in. It’s full of urgency and makes me feel warm and fuzzy, but if I need any more of a reason to click that CTA, I only need to scroll down a little further…

The pay-off

Some (ok, lots of) free subscribers will require a bit more of a push to dip their hands into their pockets, which is why it’s vital to include as much detail as possible about the benefits on offer.

The key is to do away with as much text as possible and instead compliment what remains with eye-catching imagery. Like this:

Wrapping up

Convincing people to part with money is tricky – particularly when they’re used to a free service – but if you can be inspired by the techniques above, you’ll be able to build the trust required to turn ‘freemium’ contracts into ongoing revenue.

About 

Mark is one of mailingmanager's email experts. His contributions to this blog openly share the tricks, tips and best practices he's learned while running multiple e-marketing campaigns.

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