How to follow up a trial?


What's the best practices to send a follow up email after the user's trial version expires?

  • What questions to ask?
  • Is a short survey good idea or an email which asks a generic feedback better?
  • Is it OK to ask user if they are planning to buy if not, what's the reason?

We recently started to give out trials and demos started to expire, many of them never returned so we want to chase them down and get some feedback but not sure about the best way on this.

This is an application mostly for companies.

Marketing Sales CRM

asked Feb 6 '10 at 11:39
The Dictator
2,305 points
Top digital marketing agency for SEO, content marketing, and PR: Demand Roll

4 Answers


I don't know if you're btob or btoc. We have a free trial offer for consumers of our product. Once they're done with the free trial (or demo if you will), it is very, very, very tough to get any response from them. Suggestions:

  • Hit them up with any survey or questions immediately when it ends.
  • As recommended above, try and get feedback while they're still in the trial.
  • Provide some type of incentive for feedback. E.G. a $10 Starbuck's card. You'd be surprised how cheap incentives like that can make a difference.
  • Keep it short! Don't intimidate someone with a bunch of questions because they won't answer any. What are one or two that you really need to get answered? Go with those.


answered Feb 6 '10 at 14:38
4,214 points


At my B2B startup ( ) we follow up with what we hope is relevant information during the 15-day trial period.

These are the follow-ups we send depending on what users do:

  • prompt people to activate their account if they haven't done so
  • send an invitation to chat with someone from the company
  • make sure they're aware of other resources that could be useful during their trial such as documentation, the blog, twitter account, etc.

Once their trial expires we give them the option to buy, request an extension (if they send a good reason), or do nothing and let their trial expire.

This combination gives us great feedback on why people buy vs. why they don't.

answered Feb 7 '10 at 00:25
Chris Savage
209 points


I'd suggest that you start the feedback process even before you send out trials and demos - in other words, put a bit more control in place before you give out the trials and demos.

It's fair to ask your prospects a few pointed questions about their expectations and buying criteria before you provide the trial or demo. "what specific problems are you looking to solve?" "do you have buying authority for your organization?", etc. Make sure you include some short guidance on how your prospect should be thinking about the value of your product so that they get started quickly on justification. You should make clear that you will be asking for feedback after the demo / trial.

In the follow up e-mail after the demo / trial, you can ask about purchasing intentions / timing and also ask about any reasons they may not be proceeding to a purchase - function, price, support, etc. Keep this short and positive and use a mix of crisp pointed questions and a few open ended questions. Look at this as another step in the dialogue to help you guide the prospect to fully understand the value of your product and ensure they purchase.

Good luck!

answered Feb 6 '10 at 12:04
Warren E. Hart
2,181 points
  • I think it's a great point to start getting feedback before the expiration. Thanks. – The Dictator 14 years ago


I have been doing a number of trials and demos recently for different products some are 15 days and some one month. Many of the companies send an email from a live person on the 2nd day of the trial asking if I have questions. Some companies follow up with a phone call. Before the trial ends they touch basis again a few days before expiration.

One company whose product I really like sent a live person email on the 2nd day, on the 3rd day sent an email on the training videos, on the 4th day sent info on bi-weekly webinars, on the 5th day sent an email on the frequently asked questions page, 6th day sent an email on comparisons to other competitors which is where I am currently at. The progressive emails with more and more info are very informative. It's a 15 day trial. I am very impressed.

In sales, follow up is so important because people get busy with other things and sometimes just forget. It's important to ask them during the trial what they think.

Edit: The product with a lot of email is an all encompassing ecommerce plattform. In this case I did not feel it was sapm as I actually felt the emails were useful.

answered Feb 6 '10 at 20:15
Starr Ed
948 points
  • Don't you think that much email is irritating? It's almost spamming the user. – The Dictator 14 years ago

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