Using Email to Upgrade Freemium Users


We all like free stuff, so it’s no surprise that convincing users to pay for something they previously knew as free is easier said than done. In the following example, LinkedIn uses a variety of email-based tactics to convert freemium users to customers, starting with a free trial of those premium-level benefits.

Sense of urgency

An expiration date adds a bit of excitement to a run of the mill offer. LinkedIn tells me in the subject line and again in the email itself that this is the last day that I can upgrade for free. This sense of urgency provides a reason to act now rather than putting the trial off for yet another day.


Personalize the data

LinkedIn could easily have left this first line at “see who’s viewed your profile.” But by personalizing the statistics — “see all 66 people who have viewed your profile in the last 30 days” — makes the information far more interesting. Now that I know these 66 people exist, I want to know who they are, making the offer all the more appealing.


Play the numbers game

Urgency and inside information won’t work on everyone, so it’s important to play from the analytical angle, too. Below, LinkedIn tells me I’ll get seven times more results through search and have the ability to view 35 times more profiles. Specific stats leave a more meaningful impression than generic qualifiers like “very,” “a whole lot” and “more.”