3 Steps to Increasing Your SaaS Free Trial Conversion Rate  

Everyone loves free samples. A snack pack of a new style of potato chip, a shot glass-sized taste of a freshly released, frozen coffee drink, or a miniature tube of a promising new skincare product…Vendors offer samples because they know that when it comes to introducing a new product, “trying is buying.” And software is no different.

Whether it’s a new project management solution, a word processing program, or a GPS app on a smartphone, consumers like to have the option of trying out a given software before handing over money for it. This is particularly true if the software in question is one that requires an ongoing subscription fee instead of a one-time download. The tough part is converting as many people as possible from “took the free 30-day trial” to “paid-subscription customer.”

While you can’t convert everyone, you can take steps to make sure that as many people as possible do get converted. The first step is increasing your SaaS free trial conversion rate. Here’s how:

3 Methods for Increasing Your SaaS Free Trial Conversion Rate:

It’s tough to get potential customers over the buyer’s hump. People are naturally reluctant to spend money, especially if they already have a subscription for free. What you need to do is offer customers something they don’t already have with the trial subscription (aside from more time to use it) to make converting to a paid subscription of your SaaS worth it to them.

Fortunately, there are a lot of different ways you can do this.

Method #1: Limited-Time Offers

According to Share It businesses can increase their SaaS free trial conversion rate by giving users a deal. The method used in the research was to:

  1. Wait until customers were roughly one week into their free 30-day trial;
  2. Then offer them a coupon code–that’s good for 24 hours–and which grants them a 20 percent discount on their purchase.

Without this special offer, the conversion rate was only a little better than 4 percent, but with the special offer, the conversion rate jumped to over 6 percent.

The Takeaway:

Potential customers like receiving incentives–incentives that reward them for taking the next step that you want them to take. If you offer a good incentive, you’re likely to see a lot more people making the jump.

Method #2: Offer Usage-Based Plans

No one likes paying for something they don’t use, and according to Geek Time a usage-based plan might be just the thing for increasing your SaaS free trial conversion rate.

If someone only uses a program once a week or so, they might not want to pay an unlimited price, but if they could buy a less-expensive, ‘three sessions a week’ package (or a certain number of hours a month, like a cell phone plan) users who wouldn’t normally consider purchasing a subscription might just be persuaded.

Another tactic is to offer a ‘light‘ version of your SaaS product–access to basic features that will ease new users’ adoption of your software–before offering them an incentive to upgrade to a full-feature set version of your SaaS at a later time.

The Takeaway:

While a usage-based plan may not be suitable for your SaaS offering, consider other user-centric options you can offer that will help reduce your prospective users’ hesitance to convert to a paid subscription. This can include offering a ‘light‘ version of your SaaS offering, a free training or orientation session, or anything that will help ease new users into using the more basic features of your SaaS, before offering them a later incentive to upgrade to the full-feature-set version.

Method #3: Ask Users Why They Haven’t Converted (And Work with Them)

Feedback is one of the most important metrics you have, and it can illustrate what you need to change about your approach. If half of the customers you talk to say that they want a smaller monthly fee, then it might be time to re-examine what you’re charging. If users have problems with the software’s functions or layouts, and that is what’s keeping them from paying for a subscription, then you need to take those complaints into account.

You may even be able to win potential customers over by taking simple steps like extending their free trial by 30 more days to give them time to think about it. Sometimes that kind of positive attention is all it takes to earn customer loyalty.

Being open to feedback means reexamining the ways in which users can access your people. Installing a feature such as LiveChat on your SaaS website is great example, as it allows you to reach and respond to prospective customer questions in real-time, while they are previewing your SaaS product offerings.

The Takeaway:

Start by trying to identify what your prospective user’s potential objections to converting to a paid subscription might be:

  • Fear of being locked into a long-term commitment?
  • Not being offered the option of monthly billing versus paying for an entire year upfront?
  • Not enough payment options offered?
  • Unsure about how your SaaS will integrate with the other tools they’re using?
  • Questions remaining after their trial of your software?
  • Still unclear about how your SaaS offers the best solution to whatever it is they need it for?
  • Their free trial of your SaaS expired before they had a chance to really try it?

Once you’ve identified potential conversion barriers, see what you can do to remove their barriers to converting into a paid subscription. Consider installing a live support feature on your website to encourage real-time dialogue with prospective customers. And note: individual end-users will have different objections than enterprise users. So, do this exercise for each.

There Is No Silver Bullet:

The most important thing to remember when it comes to increasing your SaaS free trial conversion rate is that there is no one-right-way to do it, and there is no single thing that will make all the difference. The successful formula will be a combination of tactics and a lot of experimentation. Not to mention the importance of attracting more quality traffic to your SaaS website in the first place.

Inbound marketing through blogging, Google AdWords remarketing and SEO is a good step, as is using strategically placed calls-to-action and special offers to hook people’s interest.

At the end of the day, though, your conversion strategy is more than the sum of its parts, and you need to make sure all of those parts are working together.

That’s where we come in. McAllister marketing is a full-service marketing agency comprised of marketing strategists, inbound marketing specialists, web developers, designers, copywriters and SEO experts all working together to help our clients attract, convert and retain more customers.

For more information on increasing your SaaS free trial conversion rate, let’s start with a no-obligation discussion today!

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