How to anger potential clients with free trials.

Before we start this article, there is something important that you should know. This article isn’t an actual guide for marketing people. You should probably do the opposite of what is mentioned in this article. Such as trying not to make potential clients angry. Now that that’s settled, here comes the article!

The world of technology lives in its own space of the business world. Their practices can be a little different, because they have access to different data and a different set of tools. They operate under different rules, that might not always translate well into meatspace.

For example, you clean houses or offices for a living. It would make no business sense for you to give away your services for free. What would make even less sense is if you’d give away this service for free, without making the offer. You can’t walk up to a business, burst in and start cleaning their offices!

In technology, that is not neccesarily true. A long time ago I showed some interest in the chat software of a company. We didn’t end up buying a subscription, because of budget restraints. I did create an account, but I didn’t do much with it.

About fourteen days ago, I received a mail from the company. They were telling me how my business would do so much better with their service.


And because of that they’d give me a fifteen day free trial their Premium Service.

Cool. I am acknowledging you gave me that trial, but if it’s all the same I am still not going to use your software, because I don’t need it. Still, thank you I guess.

I was all set to forget about this “Premium trial” from the get go, but the chat software developer had other plans. They had different plans from the start. Only a day or so after I received the “unexpected gift” I got a mail that told me my “Premium subscription was expering.”

My Premiums is expir… Oh shit, I better re… Wait a minute, that’s for the software I’m not using. The dumb trial you were giving me for free. Haha, that’s funny.

It immediately stopped being funny when they kept sending reminder days. Your subscription will expire in 7, 5… tomorrow. Won’t you renew to keep using this valuable service which you are using so much?!

At the end of the ride I got frustated enough to surf to and start writing an angry article about it. All of this is just a lame marketing trick that they are applying. When people are told that a service is about to expire, these type of “Won’t you please consider renewing?” mails can work. I know they worked for me in the past. For services I wasn’t really using anymore. Or domain names. So many unused domain names.

By sending those marketing mails they hope that you start to second-guess your decision to let the service expire. Maybe you will use it someday. You signed up for it, after all. Won’t you think of the good times?

This chat software company is doing the same thing. Except they are taking things one step further. You didn’t have a subscription with them, so sending you those types of mails would be in vain. So they’re upgrading your subscription, tell you this feel-good story about how they want to help companies like you… then bombard you with the type of mail they couldn’t otherwise send you. Boom. Nailed it. Marketing Genius Of The Year awar’s in the pocket guys, might as well hand it to that guy right now.

At least, that is the outcome they were hoping for. In my case, the opposite has happened. I didn’t really need chat software on my sites. I still don’t, really. However, their mails did push me in the right direction. I have made a note to find an alterative chat software provider next time I need one; one who doesn’t feel the need to beg for the renewal of a subscription which I never wanted in the first case.

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