Why I Now Trust HootSuite a Little Less Than I Did Yesterday

by Mack Collier

I like and use HootSuite’s basic/free version quite a lot, especially for scheduling tweets and it’s dead simple to use.  So this morning when I got an email from HS telling me how I could get 60 days of HootSuite Pro for free, I was intrigued:

HSNow normally I hate these ‘give us a tweet and we’ll give you this’ offers, but I do use and like HootSuite, and I have been curious about trying out HootSuite Pro, so I decided to send the tweet.  And as promised, I immediately received my email telling me how to get my 60 days of HootSuitePro for free:

HS1Yep, I’ve just been had.  After I send the tweet that HS told me would get me 60 days of HootSuite Pro for free, I am then told that I can only get the 60 days free if I am ALREADY a Pro subscriber.  So why not just tell me that to begin with?  From my POV, HootSuite just punished me for trusting them.  So I am now less likely to make that mistake again.

I see this sort of stunt all the time, and it doesn’t build brand loyalty, it builds brand distrust.  I get why HootSuite made this offer, they want me to sign up for Pro, and then I can apply the coupon and get the first two months free.  At least I think that’s their motivation.  If the goal is to drive Pro signups then just give me a 60-day trial.  If the service is worth paying for, then I will.

I’ve talked about this before, but as a customer, I cannot advocate for a brand that I do not trust.  So if your brand wants to cultivate fans that love you (and customers that stick around) then the trust of your customers is your most prized asset.

Here’s what HootSuite should have done instead: Since the goal is to drive new signups, then instead of 60 days free, give me 30 days, no strings attached.  And in those 30 days, give me access to training (via videos, screencasts, etc) that will show me how to get the most out of HootSuite Pro and help me understand how to use the new features so that I see for myself why HootSuite Pro is a service worth paying for.  Then tell me if I agree to stay on with HootSuite Pro after the 30-day trial is up, that you’ll give me 50% ($5) off my first two months as a ‘thank you’.  That gets me hooked into using HootSuite Pro for 3 months, which gives me time to use the features and become familiar with them.  If the service is worth my time and money, I’ll stick around.  But even if I don’t, I will still feel like I got a ‘deal’ because I got 3 months of premium service for $10 and HootSuite does get my $10.

And no, I don’t want someone from HS to read this and offer me the free Pro trial the email promised, that’s not why I wrote this post.  I wrote this post to give YOU a real-world example of how an offer such as this can drive new business if positioned correctly, and how it can do the opposite if not positioned correctly.

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