3 Tips for Increasing SaaS Free Trial Conversion Rates

Aug 18, 2017

Man in a business suit with a briefcase overcoming three different hurdles
There is a clear demand for your SaaS product as a steady flow of users have signed up for a free trial account. However, you’ve done the math and you’ve done some research on industry benchmark rates for trial conversation and your month over month lead conversion rate isn’t where it should be. 

So it’s time to stop focusing on demand generation and it’s time to start putting more attention on getting these trial users converted into paid users.

Here are our top 3 tips for you to consider if you’ve been tasked with boosting free trial conversion rates for your SaaS product:

1. Messaging Triggered by Behaviors

Your users are demonstrating key behaviors while engaging with your service. Tracking these behaviors can be useful in meeting them where they are through the use of behavior-based messaging in your lead nurture flows.

The specific behaviors you might want to track vary for every product, some of these might include:

Logins: How often do they log in to interact with your service?

Activity Level: Are they hitting the key milestones that indicate a high probability of getting value from using your service?

Usage: Are they seeing the value of using your service? Has it solved the problem they were looking to address when they first signed up?

Once you’ve accumulated all the behavioral data points you need, you can begin segmenting your user base into 3 or more segments, followed by building out detailed nurture streams with decision trees, to encourage users who haven’t taken the necessary actions to do so.

At GET LIFT, we’ve created lead nurture flows for many companies to keep prospects engaged in-trial, to identify behaviors and interests of prospects or to even reduce costly inbound calls and improve conversion rates.

Below is an excerpt of a lead nurture campaign with two separate lead nurture streams where the users are segmented based on activity levels:

Lead Nurture Flow Diagram by GET LIFT AgencyAll users receive a confirmation email and a welcome email with a primary Call to Action (CTA) to complete Step 1. They are then branched off into a secondary nurture stream if they fail to complete Step 1, while users who have completed the first step receive the next email in the sequence demonstrating Step 2. 

Key Takeaway: Tracking in-product user behavior can help you segment your database and develop custom lead nurture streams to guide users through your free SaaS trial. [Tweet This]

2. Get them to engage immediately

According to CrazyEgg, if a customer is active within 3 days, then they are 4x more likely to convert. This makes it crucial for SaaS companies to get their users to start using their service immediately through helpful content and communication that guides them through the product.

Welcome Emails: This is the first piece of email communication that your new user will expect to receive from you, as they are interested in learning more about your service. Send it ASAP while your user is still in the mindset of thinking of your solution. They want it and they’re expecting it.

Consider structuring your welcome email to encompass pertinent details such as;

  • The length of the trial period
  • How often they can expect to hear from you during the trial
  • What value they can expect to receive from the service
  • Their login information
  • One clear primary CTA to get them to log back into the app to complete the first step
  • A secondary link to your support page as well as a resource center containing video tutorials and/or
  • Documentation pertaining to other core product features or a link to your product demo/walkthrough
  • Links to your social media pages, privacy policy, unsubscribe page as well as your terms & conditions in the footer.

Below is an example of an email from Slack, which incorporates some of the welcome email best practices:
Example of a Welcome Email from Slack with descriptions for key sections
Subsequent Emails: Demonstrate one core product feature and its benefits in each subsequent email.

Email with embedded video demonstrating one core product feature and its benefitsWe usually recommend the use of an embedded video tutorial that walks them through the specific feature.

However, since most email clients are ill-equipped to support video content, we recommend simply taking a compelling screenshot from your video and adding that to the body of your email along with a play icon. When someone clicks the icon, they can be directed to a landing page where the video is embedded or to a video tutorial in-app.

To ensure that your users are taking the necessary actions right away avoid cluttering subsequent emails with several CTA’s, instead focus on using one primary CTA such as, “Log back in” or “Complete Step 1”, and a few secondary CTA’s such as, “Contact Support” or “Watch Video Tutorial for Step 1”.

Tailor your subsequent emails to engage inactive users. For example, send out a helpful tutorial, a list of tips on how to get started with your service or a case study demonstrating the benefits some of your other clients have experienced with your service.

Key Takeaway: Demonstrating the core features & benefits of your service as well as tailoring the user experience in the first 3 days of sign-up can help maximize free trial conversion [Tweet This]

3. Customize your Trial-Expiry Sequence

Acknowledge that users who haven’t shown any activity within the trial aren’t seeing value from your service, and they sure as hell aren’t ready to input their credit card details to become paying customers.
Consider asking these inactive users, “Do you want me to extend your free trial for you?”, and include a link to a survey which tells you why they do not want an extension. Their response creates a commitment.

On the other end, users who have shown a high level or a fair bit of activity within your tool are most likely to convert and can be offered the option to upgrade long before their trial period has come to an end.
These group of users should only be offered a trial extension if they haven’t upgraded to a paid account 2-3 days before their trial period is coming to an end.

Key Takeaway: Customize your free trial expiry sequence to meet your users where they are, not everyone is ready to convert as you’d expect them to. [Tweet This]

In conclusion, boosting free trial conversion rates boils down to creating lead nurture streams with targeted messaging that guide your subscribers to immediately achieve all the milestones leading up to conversion.

Need some help with your own lead nurture streams? We would be happy to help you audit your existing nurture flows and develop new ones.