12 Best Ways To Boost Free Trial Conversion Rates For Your B2B SaaS Product
Offering a free trial has been one of the most popular strategies for business-to-business (B2B) SaaS companies to attract potential customers.
It gives them a firsthand experience of what it’s like to use your SaaS solution. And on your end, it’s an opportunity for your SaaS product to sell itself.
But free trials come with a big challenge: not every free trial user always converts into a paying customer. It’s easy for free trial users to forget about your product and never come back.
Now, according to a report by FirstPageSage, the free trial conversion rates benchmarks for B2B SaaS range from 17.4 % to 51%, depending on the type of free trial and the source of trial users.
That can be a tough bar to beat, especially the upper end.
So how do you go about optimizing your free trial conversion rates for B2B SaaS?
In this article, we will discuss some best practices for free-trial-to-paid conversion rate optimization.
1) Deliver An Excellent SaaS Product and User Experience
The best and most natural way to boost your free trial conversion rate is by offering a great product and providing an awesome user experience.
The more satisfied your free trial users are with your SaaS solution, the more likely they are to convert into paying customers.
But how do you ensure that your SaaS solution is the best that it can be?
You can start by designing an intuitive user interface. Having a user-friendly SaaS solution will ensure that each new user can explore it easily, which leads to a great user experience. And that can make them happy to get a paid subscription when the trial is done (or even sooner than that).
What’s more, make sure to regularly test your SaaS product for bugs and glitches, and fix them. Sometimes, these small technical issues can totally ruin the user experience and cause your free trial subscribers leave.
2) Focus On Providing Value
What makes a SaaS free trial so effective in getting high-quality leads is that free trial users get to experience the real value of your product.
When they experience the value that your product provides, they will want more of it. And when they want more of it, they upgrade to a paid subscription.
That’s why you should focus on activations or the “Aha moments” rather than just track how many sign-ups you are getting over time.
Activations, also sometimes called “Aha” moments, are the moments when a new user experiences the value of your SaaS product through a certain engagement with it.
The “Aha” moment could be different from one SaaS product to another. For project management software, that “Aha” moment could be when a user creates and assigns their first task. For an email marketing solution, it could be when a free user schedules their first email.
So what are the “Aha” moments for your SaaS solution?
You need to identify those activation events and make sure you can guide your trial users to experience them. This is best done through in-app guides, customer success efforts, and — of course — your user onboarding process.
Speaking of onboarding, let’s move on to our next point.
2) Provide A Smooth Onboarding Process
Every new user of a SaaS solution (whether it’s a free or paid user), needs to go through an onboarding process. This is where they can learn the ropes on how to use your SaaS platform, the features that it offers, and more.
But free trial users only have a short time frame to try out your product — usually 7 to 30 days.
So if you can shorten the onboarding time for them, it will give them more time to explore and see for themselves what your SaaS solution has to offer.
However, be careful not to sacrifice the quality of your onboarding process just for the sake of shortening it. Remember that the goal here is to guide them towards the “Aha” moments and provide value to them.
One way to do that could be an interactive tutorial where you have prompts or even a video demonstrating the features. Or you could go for free trial email sequences, which usually take less time but — when done correctly — can be just as effective.
What’s more, having a comprehensive knowledge base could also help your free trial users quickly find answers to their questions without having to reach out to your customer support team.
Speaking of reaching out to your support team…
5) Provide Excellent Customer Support
Just because free trial subscribers are not yet paying doesn’t mean they don’t deserve the same level of customer support as paying customers.
Remember that the quality of technical support can also be a huge consideration when potential customers are deciding whether or not to buy a SaaS solution.
With that in mind, your SaaS free trial can also be a good opportunity to showcase how awesome your customer support is.
Make sure your free trial users have access to a technical support team that can answer their questions and provide help whenever they need it. This could be via live chat, email, or any other channel they prefer.
Having a helpful and respectful customer support team will not only make free trial users more likely to convert into paying customers. It’s also a great way to build trust with them and create relationships that will last long even after the free trial ends.
6) Ask For Credit Card Details
Okay. To be honest, this is up for debate. Opt-in free trials (those that don’t require credit card details) and opt-out free trials (those that do require credit card information) each have their own pros and cons.
Generally speaking, not requiring credit card details can help you attract more free trial users since it removes the barrier of entering their payment details. But on the flip side, these users are also more likely to forget about your free trial and let it expire before they make a decision.
On the other hand, free trials that require credit card information tend to have higher conversion rates since your trial users are more committed to it.
But at the same time, this could also result in fewer free trial signups due to people being hesitant about entering their credit card details.
Now, since we’re specifically talking about optimizing your free trial conversion rate, we’re going to lean toward the latter of the two — asking for credit card details.
Doing this filters out freebie seekers and forces users to think twice before signing up. In other words, it ensures that you’re only attracting those who are really interested in your SaaS product and are more likely to become paying customers in the future.
However, it’s important to note that this only improves your conversion rate, not necessarily the number of conversions.
Even if you have lower conversion rates, attracting as many free trial users as possible can result in more paid users. In fact, that can be a more viable strategy if your free trial can effectively deliver value to its users.
At the end of the day, it’s more about finding the free trial approach that best suits your particular SaaS product and target audience.
7) Set A Reasonable Free Trial Period
When it comes to your trial period, shorter is not necessarily better.
Remember that the goal of your free trial is to provide value to your users. So, your trial period should last long enough for your users to get to the “Aha” moments and start seeing actual value from your SaaS product.
At the same time, free trials that last too long can make trial users procrastinate even more and eventually lose interest in your product. So you should also be careful not to set a free trial period that’s too generous.
Depending on the complexity of your SaaS product, this could range anywhere from 7 to 30 days.
You want to make sure that free trial users have enough time to explore all the features of your SaaS product, while also making sure they don’t forget about it or take too long before deciding whether or not it’s right for them.
However, chances are you won’t get it right the first time.
Finding the “sweet spot” for your trial period can take a few iterations before you get it just right.
And the best way to find out how long your SaaS free trial should last is by A/B testing different trial periods and seeing which one leads to the highest conversion rate.
8) Set Reminders For The Free Trial Expiration
Imagine this: you’ve implemented every free trial conversion rate optimization tips we’ve discussed so far. You’ve done everything in your power to make trial users stick around.
Now, it’s time to set up reminders for them before their free trial expires.
This is a crucial step that often gets neglected, but it can have an incredible impact on your trial conversion rate.
These reminders can be automated emails sent out at regular intervals leading up to the free trial expiration date.
One goal you can have here is to create a sense of urgency for your free users to maximize the free trial while it lasts.
Or better, if you feel confident about your free trial strategy, you can also use these reminders to nudge them toward switching to a paid subscription.
9) Personalize Your Offer Based On Usage
One way to further optimize your free trial conversion rates is to personalize your paid subscription offer based on how the user has interacted with your SaaS product during the trial.
For instance, let’s say you notice that a particular user has been dabbling with a particular feature regularly and it’s delivering real value for them. Then you may want to highlight how they can get even more out of that feature if they upgrade to a paid subscription.
This is a great way to ensure that your users get the most out of their free trial and understand why it makes sense for them to convert into paying customers.
10) Make It Easy For Free Trial Users To Switch To A Paid Subscription
If a free trial user has to go through a lot of hoops just to upgrade to a paid subscription, then chances are they’ll get frustrated, lose interest, and just walk away.
The goal here is to make free trial users’ free-to-paid transition as frictionless as possible. And the best way to do this is to provide them with an easy-to-use self-service payment portal.
Ideally, free trial users should be able to upgrade to a paid subscription within just a few clicks.
Then you’ll want to include clear and concise pricing plans so they can pick the one that best suits their needs.
By making free-to-paid conversion as painless as possible, your trial users will be more inclined to convert into paying customers.
11) Gather Feedback From Free Trial Users
Whether your trial users turned into paying customers or not, they can provide insightful feedback about your free trial.
Maybe some users didn’t convert because they found the onboarding process too complex or confusing. Or perhaps they find the trial too short for them to really explore everything your SaaS product has to offer.
By gathering user feedback, you can better understand what works and what doesn’t with free trial users, allowing you to make improvements and optimize your free trial conversion rate.
12) Retarget Users Who Didn’t Convert Into Paying Customers
Just because a free user didn’t turn into a paying customer doesn’t mean it’s game over.
Like your offers for a paid subscription, these retargeting email marketing efforts can be based on their usage of your SaaS product’s free trial.
For example, let’s say a user successfully experienced a lot of the “Aha” moments but still didn’t convert. Your email could focus on the benefits that they have experienced and how others are making the most out of it.
It could also be different if your target audience includes users who did not seem to get any value from your free trial.
In such a case, your email marketing campaign might focus on recent updates or improvements that you may have made since their free trial expired. It can also include an invitation to go through another free trial with these new features and updates.
By leveraging retargeting efforts, free trial users who didn’t convert the first time around may still be convinced to turn into paying customers. Or at least go through another free trial.
Final Thoughts About Improving Your Free Trial Conversion Rate
At the end of the day, the success of your free trial strategy lies in its ability to make trial users experience the value that your SaaS product provides. I cannot stress that enough.
If your free trial users see that your SaaS solution will bring significant value to their companies, they will be more than happy to switch to a paid subscription.
While there are a lot of tips and strategies to optimize your conversion rate, that should be your main focus.
When you’re creating your onboarding process, think of ways to guide your users to the “Aha” moments.
When you’re gathering feedback, keep an eye out for areas where you can deliver more value.
When you’re retargeting free trial users that did not convert, emphasize the value that they are missing out on.
Focusing on this principle will set the tone and direction for why you are doing what you are doing.
This will help you optimize your free-trial-to-paid conversion rate from the inside out and give your SaaS product the success it deserves.
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