Growth February 2, 2020

What are your favorite trial-to-paid optimization tactics?

Jay from Zlappo @simplisticallysimple

These are mine so far, but I'm brainstorming for ideas:

  1. Multiple upgrade buttons all over the app

  2. Pop-up a modal asking them if they want to upgrade past a certain usage metric

  3. Grey out certain features and hide them behind a paywall, even in trial

  4. Drip marketing campaign for trial users explaining benefits of the app

  5. Count down the days of trial left to create urgency

What are yours that you've found to work?

  1. 4

    Focus on helping users receive value from your product as quickly as possible after signing up.
    Adding more upgrade buttons etc. should be your secondary concern and won't help if users are not seeing value.

    1. 1

      I agree, but how does one help users receive value ASAP?

      One actionable tactic might be using a "guided tour" feature, are you referring to that?

      For me, I try to get users to take any action, starting with the smallest. In most SaaS apps, the initial required action to see any value might be quite daunting, like installing a Javascript snippet, actively uploading data on to the platform, creating content from scratch, etc. Say you offer a blogging platform. I'm sure there's a huge drop-off between signups and users actually creating a blog post.

      For my app Zlappo, I try to make it even easier than creating content from scratch. I try to litter around my app little actions they can do just with the simple click of a button which will still help them see some value from my app.

      I was wondering if anyone else has other tactics to "move/nudge the user through the funnel" without nagging at or pressuring them.

      1. 2

        Tooltips and checklists for onboarding can be useful for sure.
        If you want actionable tactics - you can try to 'move users down the funnel without pressuring them' by offering something in return for completing action items e.g. app credits for watching a tutorial video, extra points for installing the app code snippet etc.
        Provided these actions move users closer to value, this can be an effective one.

        1. 1

          Ah, yes. Checklists are useful. Plus gamification, like you said. Excellent stuff.

  2. 3

    The primary thing to do is to ensure that the user who needs your app has to pay. If you are so generous with your trial version that there's no reason to upgrade, they won't. It's that simple.

    Your pricing model should be value based. The more value a user gets, the more they should pay. That's why there are artificial limits to most SaaS that are barely related to their costs. They're not basing the price on the operating costs of the plan. They're basing it on how much value a user gets from their service.

    Likewise, your trial should force a user who wants more value from your service to convert. It's not a tough decision for the customer. They need what you're giving them from the paid version, and the value you're providing is worth it.

    Ok, so that's the concept you should base your trial on to be able to convince people to convert. Once that's solid, you can move on to figuring out tactics to remind users. My recommendation is to ensure they are always aware of the trial limits. Maybe include it on every page.

    Next, I'd ensure that as soon as the user hits the trial limit, they are shown an upgrade CTA in app describing why they've hit the limit and the benefits of upgrading. At the same time, email them the same thing. If you don't email, the paywall may be the last time they see your app.

    Finally, send at least one more follow-up email if they haven't converted. Or 3 . For the last one, I'd offer a huge discount in exchange for a phone call about their experience. That obviously will not be so valuable later on in your apps life.

    1. 1

      Thanks for your wonderful response. Makes a lot of sense.

  3. 3

    I used to offer a trial period, then I decided to drop and replaced it with an unlimited time offer of "basic" features.
    Why? Because some clever users would subscribe and then cancel their subscriptions right before the end of the trial period.

    1. 1

      How does freemium increase your conversions though?

      1. 1

        Freemium has been known to have the highest if not the highest (hehehe) conversion rates out there.
        Freemium gives you a slice of bread but not the banquet. You can "survive" on the bread but you'll always be tormented by the fact that a feast is available for a small/affordable fee... There's nothing more enticing than that in my opinion.

        In my case, my users can subscribe with a good Idea of what they're getting so it has reduced churn to near zero (for now)

  4. 2

    At end of the day to convert people, you need users. So best option is to give people a free trial without a credit card to get them in the door. If they find value from it, they will pay for it 100%. And if they don't convert to paid plan then you can drip them a discount since you have their email. Unless offering a free trial is going to seriously cost you money, offer trial without having to put down a CC because having to put CC down is a conversion killer.

    1. 1

      Absolutely agree. Dripping them a discount is also brilliant.

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