Looking for an alternative to 'upgrade'. The problem is that in our web-app ui and communication, we are currently using two different versions of upgrade:

  1. the common upgrade/downgrade of the account.
  2. upgrade from a free trial to a paying plan.

No.2 is where it gets tricky: We send out a reminder email to our customers telling them that their free trial is about to end and that they need to upgrade their free trial to a paying plan if they want to continue using our service.

Some seem to misinterpret this email asking us why they should upgrade to another plan. So I was thinking about using 'activate your account' instead, but not really sure about it.

Any suggestions for another alternative?

  • It is an upgrade, and the reason they should upgrade is that they cannot use it if they don't. Maybe you just need to explain this a bit clearer in the email. Commented Sep 17, 2011 at 14:13

6 Answers 6


I recently faced something similar, and chose to avoid talking about changing the nature of the account altogether by saying "Your free trial is about to expire. Choose a subscription plan to guarantee uninterrupted access…"

It's too early to give really good data about testing against alternatives, etc, but so far people are converting to paid service at an acceptable rate, so they're at least understanding what is happening and taking action.

  • Nice solution but I suppose you have a limited trial account and during the trial or at the end of the trial your customers are free to choose a paying plan right? With HotGloo you choose your subscription plan and then the 15day trial starts so you can't choose again, because you have already chosen. So I guess: Convert your free trial to a paying account" would be the most accurate wording here. Commented Sep 19, 2011 at 19:40
  • 2
    Hm, yes, that is a critical difference. I guess you could go with "Activate your paid subscription plan to continue using HotGloo". I always like to emphasize the benefit at the same time I ask for payment. Commented Sep 19, 2011 at 20:59

An upgrade implies additional services and/or functionality. So, number 2 of your use cases above isn't really an upgrade at all. It is simply a purchase or a subscription.

I would change the wording to something that reflects this, such as, "Your free trial is expiring in 'x' days. Please pay now to insure uninterrupted access to your account."

  • You should use "Subscription status 0 days remaining"
    – Pir Abdul
    Commented Sep 17, 2011 at 15:40

When upgrading, the implication is that there are additional features that you are paying for. so use this for customers that convert from one paid plan to another paid plan.

If you are going from a free plan to a paid plan with the same features, you are converting from a trial account to a paid account. There is then no implication of additional features. Just like converting from HotGloo 2.0 projects to 3.0 projects.

In summary:

Upgrade = more features. Convert = change some aspect of an account without implied additional features.


I agree with the answers above, but I think the wording could still be improved. "Pay now" seemed a bit rude, "convert" isn't quite clear enough, and "choose a subscription plan" doesn't work if you don't have multiple plans to choose from.

We ended up going with "Please enter your billing information to continue using [product name]".


Depends on the context and type of user, but maybe the "You've tried it, now buy it if you liked it" approach would work. Don't mention plans, etc. Make it a seamless migration that requires only a credit card to unlock the goodness so it can be owned.


Or you can use the word "renew":

Your current subscription (free 15 day trial) is ending.
Pay now to renew your subscription and continue enjoying all benefits of Snusnu...

I think renew carries the meaning, they will just extend the period and continue using your subscription, just have to renew the time-frame (from 1 day remaining to another 1 year prepaid)

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