Does this scenario sound familiar? You’re getting good traction signing people up to use your SaaS product through a free trial. However, you’ve noticed that the activity of most users sharply declines after signup, with many not using the product at all after their first login. And, unfortunately, research suggests that if a user signs in once and then not again for seven days, there is a 60% chance they will never use your service again. Accordingly, when your users’ trials expire, almost all walk away instead of becoming paid subscribers. This is a common challenge for many SaaS companies who offer free trials as a way to get users in the door. It shows the importance of getting users actively using your service quickly and while you can never expect every trial user to sign up for your paid service, failure to convert a significant number is a problem. Although your trial is ‘free’ for users, it still costs you money to acquire and support those users. However, despite the fact that failing to engage users immediately can make converting trial users to paid subscribers more difficult, you can still achieve success by getting potential subscribers re-engaged.
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Simply put, inactive trial users don’t convert into paid subscribers. To pay for your service on an ongoing basis, potential subscribers need to feel that they are getting value and it starts with your trial. The only way they can realize value is through actually using your product. To this end, you need to know who is not using your trial and understand as much as you can about them so you can figure out how to get them re-engaged. Once you’ve identified your inactive users through login frequency and the amount of time spent using your trial, find out as much other detail as you can about that segment. This can include demographic information, which country they are in or, most importantly, how they were referred to your trial. Did most of your inactive users come from a specific ad campaign, social media channel or a third party site? If you notice a pattern, it may suggest that a certain source may not be attracting the best quality trial users and your customer acquisition dollars may be better spent elsewhere. Or it may suggest that you’re not effectively reaching that certain user segment. The more you can understand about your inactive user segment, the more effectively you’ll be able to re-engage them.
Once you know which users are inactive, you can start tailoring your communications to better highlight the value they may be looking for. Since your primary goal is to getpeople to start using your product again, don’t just focus on broad features but rather remind them why they signed up and how your product can help. You can also do as conversion optimization company CrazyEgg does: provide a step-by-step plan on how trial users can get started (and get successful) with the product. Ensure that you add an urgent call-to-action that will encourage the user to give you another try. Here are some ideas to get you started: Try it out now Get yours today See it in action Watch our video An example is accounting software company Sage One, which sends a series of four automated emails with tips, each inviting the user to a webinar and showcasing features and benefits. As long as you’re adding value to the customer experience, engaging through emails is a good way of communicating to users whose activity has stalled. Stagger emails depending on the length of your trial: not too many that will overwhelm users, but enough to keep your service top-of-mind.
It’s critical to keep your product top of mind through regular communication that keeps reiterating your value. People usually respond best to emails that are, or at least appear to be, from an individual in your organization. For B2B products, have your sales team reach out to trial users personally and, for B2C services, have your emails come from someone in your company. This kind of check-in with trial users can increase close rates by up to 70%. In addition to emails evangelizing your value, you can also create and share content that your users, especially your inactive users, may find interesting. Make sure all your communications are clear about how users can get logged back into their trial, continue the conversation and contact you if in need of support. As the end of their trial is nearing, try to get feedback on why they aren’t signing on to your paid service. Was it not what they expected? Did they not get value from your offering? Did they not get a chance to fully try out your product during the trial? Depending on their answer, you can either answer their concern directly or, if they haven’t had a chance to try your service yet, offer to extend their trial. To re-engage inactive trial users and get them back in the conversion funnel, you need processes that produce ongoing, personalized communication that clearly demonstrate your value and instil trust. Ideally, this needs to be introduced right at the start and continued throughout the trial to avoid losing potential customers. But for those users that don’t stay active initially after signing up for your trial, keep trying to engage them. If you do so in a sincere and helpful way, users will be more likely to trust you and become paying customers of your service. And, once they see the value in what you’re offering, the more likely they are to become long-lasting subscribers.