It sounds like such a good idea doesn’t it?
You offer people a free trial to use your SaaS and hope that a few of them end up converting afterwards.
You’re probably convinced that you have exactly what your customers need…
That you’re totally different than all your competition…
That your product will practically sell itself after people try it…
Unfortunately it seems that your customers feel differently. A lot of SaaS companies have trouble retaining their customer after the free trial, and they don’t know why.
If you go to the average SaaS website you’ll see pop-ups, orange buttons, and catchy images all pushing you to do one thing:
“Sign Up for a Free Trial!”
But what they really want is for you to become a paid member. Everyone sees it coming from a mile away.
The free trial is a good method to get customers, but many companies drop the ball during the process.
Converting these free trial customers into paid users is an art.
If your SaaS is seeing low conversion numbers from your free trials, you’re going to want to dig into today’s blog post.
Let’s go into a few reason your SaaS free trials aren’t converting.
1) You Don’t Have a Demo
A confused customer is a customer who will never buy. Maybe you think your software is super intuitive, and simple to use, but it’s likely that your free trial users don’t feel the same way.
You have a relatively short period of time to capture users’ attention. If users have trouble figuring out how to use one of your features, that could spell doom for your future chances of making a sale.
It’s not necessarily your software’s fault, it’s just that a new user may not have ever used a software like yours before.
Another possibility is they simply miss out on one of your main features. They don’t get far enough into your software to find that one big reason to buy.
Or, your main big feature may not be as simple to use as you thought it was.
The easy answer is that you need a demo for your software to go with your free trial. You can guide prospects along the path of using your software in order to make sure they can see the benefits of using it.
This demo can take many forms. The kind of software you have determines the type of demo you need.
For some SaaS companies, a simple three minute video will be enough to get new prospects up to speed. For example, maybe you use a graphical overlay to guide prospects through their first use of your software.
Or maybe access to a whole library of how-to videos will answer your prospects’ questions.
The bottom line is that you need some sort of demo for your software if you want people to not get confused. Otherwise your users are likely to give up fast when they hit a rough patch, and then they’ll stop using your software for good.
2) Your Site Lacks Content
A whole lot of SaaS companies ignore their blogs when building their business. They pay for marketing to drive customers to their site with one goal in mind… conversions.
You think, “We need people to sign up for a free trial so you can start selling to them!”
In the short term this sounds like a good idea. Getting people to sign up for your software as soon as possible looks good on paper, but it ignores how most people evaluate their SaaS choices.
Content is king here.
You need to have the kind of content that gets people invested in your SaaS. If the content you create is directed towards helping out your prospects, then you will have a much easier time converting those prospects to paid users.
You need to target people who are in the awareness stage. That is, they are aware of the problem and are looking for possible solutions to it.
That’s where your blog posts and videos come in – they help your prospects solve their problem.
Of course, the ultimate solution to their problem will be your SaaS. But building some trust with your potential customers will be the bridge that leads them to your paid membership.
With that in mind, you need to figure out what kinds of content your audience is looking for, give them that content, and link that content back to your SaaS.
This process is going to help you link your products to users’ pains and get users invested before they even start the free trial.
3) Your Content Isn’t Targeted
You need to have a whole content strategy for your blogs and beyond. Having a bunch of high quality blog posts is great, but you need an overall strategy behind it.
Imagine your prospects are visiting your site for different reasons, from different niches. Your content needs to target them exactly where they are at in the buying cycle.
- If people are just getting informed about your product, then you’ll need some blog posts to get them up to speed.
- If potential customers are trying to solve a pain point in their business actively, then you need to have a post talking about that pain point and how you solve it.
- If potential customers are trying to figure out how to implement your SaaS in their business, then you need a post talking about how you make that implementation process easy.
- If potential customers are trying to figure out what their business will look like after buying, then you’ll need a case study blog post.
Also, people may sign up for the free trial first and THEN start digging into your blog content. That would be perfect for you, as reading your content will get those users more invested in making your SaaS work for them.
Don’t focus on getting “uncommitted signups” where people sign up with no intention of ever buying. Try to get people invested in your product both before the signup AND after the signup.
Being ready to play the long game with your targeted blog posts is going to pay you dividends in the future. You’ll see a surprising jump in conversions once you have the right kind of content on your site.
4) You Aren’t Using Email Marketing Properly
Image source: www.pcmag.com
If someone signs up for your free trial and all of the initial emails they get from you say “Buy Now!!!” they will start ignoring you pretty quickly.
So you need to have a process in place to ping, nurture and educate your free trial signups before you go into the sale.
Entrepreneur and speaker Gary Vaynerchuk calls this strategy “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook.”
Email is the easiest way to do this, as you can set up an automatic sequence to go out once someone signs up for your list. You need to have a sequence ready for before, during, and after the free trial period in order to make sure your prospects are well taken care of.
Let’s say a prospect signed up to your list for a lead magnet, but hasn’t signed up for the free trial yet – you need to be gently guiding them towards signing up for your trial.
Once your prospects are signed up for your free trial, you need to be nurturing them with information to make adopting your SaaS as easy as possible.
After the trial has ended, you need to be pinging prospects with great content and CTAs to sign up for the full paid membership.
If you don’t have these email sequences automated, you are missing out on many paid membership signups… just because some people needed an extra little shove over the fence.
The most important sequence is the welcome sequence for the free trial sign-up.
Don’t overload your prospects with information. Two – three emails in the first week—with content designed to help them get the most out of their free trial—should be enough to get them engaged from Day 1.
5) The 30 Day Free Trial Myth
Image source: www.richardshonda.com
Why do so many SaaS companies hand out 30 day free trials? The answer isn’t based on data, but is rather just an industry wide rule of thumb.
But 30 days may not be the ideal length for your SaaS trial.
Maybe a shorter time period will get people more engaged because they want to take full advantage of your software before the time is up. They could get excited by using your software and the prospect of missing out if they don’t act fast.
Other SaaS companies offer much longer trial periods, for months even. This is so people can get used to using the software in their daily operations and feel like they need to buy once the time is up.
If you already have a 30 day trial set up look into the usage statistics to see what length could be better for your customers. If many people are dropping off in the first few days then maybe a shorter trial period could help up conversions. If people aren’t really seeing the fruits of using your software until 2 months down the line then a longer trial period may be necessary.
Just please try something other than the standard 30 day free trial. Play with the length and see what gives you more conversions.
6) Your Guarantee is Weak
In copywriting there’s a concept called risk reversal. It’s where you tell someone that if they change their mind about their purchase then they can have all their money back – no problem.
Risk isn’t just a money issue however. If your customers load data into your software and decide not to continue using it, will they be out of luck?
Nobody likes being trapped in a relationship they don’t like. The same kind of fears come up when choosing a SaaS. If people don’t feel like they will be trapped by their decision to buy, then they will be more open to taking the leap.
The take home point: make sure you are clear with your prospects on how easy it is to migrate off of your software if they choose to.
Otherwise your SaaS will look like too much of a risky time and money investment to a lot of people.
Once you optimize your business for all of these points you should see a rise in conversions.
To help you out with that, we’ve created a checklist with an action plan on how to boost conversions on your free trial.
It’s 10 questions to ask yourself to find out where people could be dropping off during your free trial period.
Get it here.