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Show Me The Money: The Secrets of a Great ‘Upgrade’ Email

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If you sell a subscription online or run a SaaS business, then you will regularly be asking customers to upgrade and, odds on, you’ll be doing so via email.

There are a lot of things you need to get right before a customer is ready to upgrade and start a subscription but, assuming that you have moved your customers through your funnel successfully, how should you write your upgrade email?

I am going to share a great example I received recently and, with a little deconstruction, we can determine why this email works so well and what lessons we you can apply to your own upgrade emails.

Show me the copy!

To get the ball rolling, here’s a copy of the upgrade email I received from Emil at Helpjuice, marked up with everything I think it gets right.


What works here

I recently mentioned another of Emil’s emails my post sharing five killer examples of email remarketing.

Needless to say I’ve become a big fan of Helpjuice’s approach to lifecycle marketing throughout my free trial but my favourite three things about this particular email are:

  1. Emil gives the recipient a choice. If you’re not ready to upgrade then he recommends giving him a call. This is much warmer than the usual copy that goes along the lines of “Upgrade your account today or we’ll delete it!”
  2. He provides a good case for choosing a higher plan ($99/month) by linking to a very informative article on the positives of doing so. He also gets to show off his own product in this way (as that’s where the article is hosted).
  3. Emil uses a personal tone and includes a photo of himself. This approach goes a long way and being personal helps build trust as you share your story and your persona with your customers.

There’s a lot to like about this email but what else can you do to make it even more effective?

How YOU can go one better

In taking inspiration from Emil’s email and giving your upgrade email a facelift, here are a few other ideas that will make this email even more effective:

  1. Include the primary Call To Action (CTA) again at the bottom of the email.
  2. Use social proof. Write a postscript featuring a positive quote from a customer.
  3. Link directly to the actual upgrade screen rather than explain how to get there.
  4. Make the links clickable, e.g. ‘To upgrade, simply visit your control panel and choose a plan…’ as opposed to plaintext.
  5. Have a benefit-based subject line such as “Keep shaving time off your customer support efforts” as opposed to “Your Free Trial Has Nearly Expired” or similar.
  6. Try using the term ‘Go pro’ or something NON-developer-centric instead of ‘Upgrade’ – thanks Brian Massey for this tip when he and four other conversion optimization experts reviewed HipChat’s SaaS welcome email).

Get those upgrades!

That’s it! A short and sweet example of a really effective upgrade email. Definitely jump into your own lifecycle email sequence and incorporate the tips above to give your upgrade email a little extra power. After all, this is a fantastic example of the sort of lifecycle email you should be sending your customers.

What do you think – what extra elements or ideas would you test to improve on Emil’s email?

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