I’m usually not into the whole “call out other applications when they do something I dislike.” That is, unless it’s something that I think is unethical or straight up dangerous or stupid.

We all have our boundaries.

To that end, I won’t be mentioning a specific application in this post. But I’m going to be using one as an example of how not to upsell your product.

Fine, Don’t Upsell Your Product

Recently, I was using an application that allowed me to store a set of data online. The service uses the freemium model which, in their world, works like this:

  1. You’re free to use the service as long as you stay within a certain bandwidth limit.
  2. If you hit the limit, we’ll warn you.
  3. You have the ability to delete files to make more space and continue using the service.

This is pretty common in our space, right? But things have changed. Before I go too much into detail, here’s the copy from the product’s landing page that invites users to sign up. In my case, I was going to be a light user so this is what they presented to me:

Individual hobbyists creating the occasional [file]. It’s free and no credit card required.

Bingo. Exactly what I needed.

But then one day, I hit the limit – for the first time, of course – and the service presented me with this message:

Hey, you’ve hit your … quantity limit. We have bills to pay and no one likes a freeloader, c’mon now.

Emphasis mine. So you invite me to use the service for free and then you call me a freeloader.

#LOL I wouldn’t classify myself as an expert at marketing, but I don’t think this is the way to do it.

Upsell Your Product

Is this how to upsell your product?

In short, the strategy is:

  1. Invite people who will be light users of our system to use it for free (in hopes they use it more than they  plan).
  2. When they hit their limit, insult them after they’ve signed up for one of our offerings.
  3. Ask them to sign up.

I think this is where people say Profit! Instead, I believe this drives users to a competing product. And that’s what I did.

The Takeaway?

Like I said at the beginning of this post: I don’t usually write about other services unless they do something stupid.

And here I am writing about one.

I shouldn’t even have to write this particular section, but for those who are reading this, running their own business, or sharing their own product, then the moral of the story is this:

Don’t invite people to use a tier of your service that you offer and the insult them when attempting to make the upsell.

You’d think this would be common sense, right?