Are you looking for more conversions on your SaaS trial funnel?
Have you tried all of the conversion 101 tactics?
If you have, and still aren’t seeing the results you want – you’re not alone.
But what if I told you that those don’t actually have that great of an impact on conversions? Or what if I said that nearly 50% of SaaS conversions happen after a trial ends.
Well, it turns out both of those are true.
Which is what inspired us to interview MadKudu, the leaders in trial conversions and analyzing in-app behavior, to discover the top strategies for increasing post-trial sales.
These were our key takeaways:
Stop treating all users equally.
This is one of the deadliest marketing mistakes SaaS companies are making.
Throwing every post-trial user into a bucket is the most sure-fire way to lose potential customers.
Every single user is unique. And their trial experience is unique.
So start marketing like it.
Behaviorally based marketing has always been relevant. But with the innovative technologies that unlock every data-point us marketers need, it’s now easier than ever.
You can use basic analytics or more advanced tools like Madkudu to drill down into hundreds of potential usage scenarios. For the simplicity of this article, let’s bucket pots-trial users into two categories:
Hot vs. Cold Trial Users
Hot trial users
Ahh, yes – you could have guessed it.
The Hot trial users are those who’ve logged in a number of times, we’re active and got to experience that it factor.
So if they haven’t converted by now, does that mean they don’t want the product?
Not necessarily. Here are three tactics for converting hot trial users:
#1. Nudge them
We’re all busy; sometimes users don’t manage to get around to that payment page until you remind them. Here are three tactics we personally use with great success – to increase conversions after a trial ended.
- Emails – Let’s start with the obvious, emails. Sending a simple reminder email to a warm user can do wonders. The more personalized and contextual an email is, the better. Being like, “Hey Bob, congrats on X campaign. Noticed your trial ended..”, would definitely grab your users attention and intrigue them to take action. If you or someone from your team already has an open thread, use that rather than a new one!
- Social media pokes – sometimes a quick social media like, follow or tweet can serve as a gentle reminder. When you are especially relevant to someone who just recently used your product and you pop up in their social media notifications, it triggers the “oh that’s right, that reminds me..” moment. This is definitely worth doing manually for large deals, but there are plenty of tools like Massplanner and audiense to automate this as well.
- Retargeting Ads – We, and many other strong marketers like targeting hot trial users with ads upon trial completion. This is another great way to stay in front of your users when time is running out. If we sense the window of opportunity is closing, we’ll sweeten the deal even more with some incentives, which is a great transition to our next step of marketing for hot trial users.
Sometimes your users need a tad bit more of inspiration to buy. By providing a discount, more features, extra storage or additional service you can scoop up a few extra customers that are on the border of saying no.
We don’t suggest lowering price as a SaaS business because cost is rarely the cause of disinterest from an enterprise. Smaller self-serve tools and SMB products, on the other hand, should consider offering discounts if price is a common post-trial objection.
You may be wondering, “well how do I know what common objections are?”. Continue reading 😉
#3. Interview them
Do you know why exactly these hot leads haven’t converted yet?
Try requesting feedback, sending them a survey, or even picking up the phone. This is a quick and easy way to shed light on the underlying cause of what the user didn’t like, didn’t understand and vice versa.
Whether the user had misaligned expectations, they didn’t fully understand the product or perhaps it’s the wrong solution for them – interviewing your hot users will help you find the underlying issues issue to their disinterest and allow you to fix those problems.
Pro-tip: If you receive poor product feedback through a tool or NPS survey, we’ve found that sending apologies will yield some crazy unexpected results!
Cold Trial Users
Cold users are those who don’t get too into the product, may not realize it’s value or experience that “aha” moment. There are many ways to reduce the amount of cold trial users such as, proper on-boarding, quality prospecting and having an intuitive product.
But if you’ve already checked those boxes, here are 4 ways to increase cold trial user conversions once a trial has ended.
#1. Large Company Hack
If you’re selling to bigger companies, a non-converting trial doesn’t mean as you aren’t going to close them, as a company.
That’s just one person from the company.
During my interview with Madkudu, they shared this incredibly clever trick that they’re using to close more enterprise deals.
Say “Bill” from Google signed up for your service and never had the chance to log in or use the product.
If you manage to get more users from that same company, you can start referencing old users, like Bill.
Doing this creates an internal connection, which will drive up engagement and collaboration. Madkudu even offers expired users (ie: Bill) a trial extension so the company can explore the product together. This is an incredibly clever tactic that very few SaaS companies leverage.
#2. Offer Trial Extensions.
If they haven’t had the chance to use your product, there’s a potentially incredibly simple fix.
Offer a trial extension.
One beautiful thing about software is we don’t have to worry about inventory, and it cost’s nothing (but a little time) to offer a trial extension.
If a user seems worthwhile, a quick “hey we don’t normally do this, but..” trial extension email will come off as incredibly generous and could result in your next favorite customer.
#3. Content/Email Drip
Sometimes your user may not be ready for you. They could have gotten excited and soon realized they prematurely signed up.
Thats okay. But don’t let them forget about you.
A good way to stay relevant is by putting them into a (contextual) drip sequence of email and content.
By creating a custom (and valuable) content sequence for these users, you could eventually nurture them back in when the time is right.
If that’s too time consuming, you could toss them onto your company newsletter and keep them in the loop with your company and new product features.
But regardless of which you choose, the last you want to do is cut them out cold turkey. Unless of course, they request that.
#4. Exit survey.
Ah okay, I cheated.
Sure we also mentioned surveys for hot trial users, but they work even better for this use case!
A quick and simple exit survey could open your eyes to an underlying issue that you may not be aware of (and costing you customers).
Here’s a great example from the folks at Groove. They do a great job at keeping the question open ended.
They managed to get a 19% response rate by further tweaking this question to “what made you cancel?”
If you structure your email similarly, this type of results could be yours too.
SaaS trial conversions are a tricky game. And if you’re like most businesses, there’s almost always room for improvement.
While it’s incredibly important for conversions to pay attention to onboaring and building a great product – these post-trial improvements may turn out to be relatively low-hanging fruit.
It’s also important to realize that bucketing users solely by “hot” and “cold” is way over simplied – better than no segmentation. You should the most advanced tracking possible to avoid missing out on contextual marketing.
It doesn’t matter who your users are, it matters what they do. And the more relevant your marketing is, the higher your conversions will be!
I’d like to give a big thanks to Francis and the team at Madkudu for sharing there insights and best practices.
If you want to improve your trial conversions by up to 20% or more, I highly suggest checking them our at MadKudu.com or by watching the video below!