There are two types of SaaS Free Trials: Reactive and Proactive; you want to be one of the latter because they will convert more prospects to customers. Period.
Reactive SaaS Free Trials
Most SaaS & Web App vendors fall into this category, and their mindset about Free Trials is something like this:
- Get them to sign-up for the trial
- Get their Credit Card number up front to keep the riff raff out
- Think that free trial sign-ups is a good metric to keep track of
- Send them their login info via email but otherwise we don’t want to bother them.
- Give them access to the app, but let them do their thing
- Toward the end of the trial remind them that the trial is ending
- Then try to keep the trial from ending without ever asking for the sale
- Offer to extend the trial
- Try to get them to convert after the trial has ended by finally asking for the sale (maybe)
- Then, if they don’t convert, stop communicating with them altogether
- Maybe send a holiday or birthday greeting with no call to action once a year… that goes right to spam or gets deleted/ignored because, really… once a year? C’mon!
Proactive SaaS Free Trial Strategy
But, when you’re proactive, you know the purpose of a Free Trial is to create a customer and you create your strategy with that goal in mind.
You indoctrinate them – buyers and influencers – before they sign-up because you know they might not find you at the right point in their buying cycle and you need to be top of mind when they’re ready.
You get the right audience to sign-up for the trial by creating a strong value proposition around the product and yet asking for as little information as required to get started.
You can ask for a credit card or not, but you realize that isn’t the important part of the process; it is just one part that still requires everything else.
You understand the rules of Consistency and Commitment and combine those with the need to get them engaged and using the app as quickly as possible for a powerful on-boarding process.
And you ask for the sale early (even before the trial, you offer them a way to “Buy Now”).
You work hard to get them invested and moved toward Common Conversion Activities (CCAs) through a combination of in-app marketing, email marketing, other marketing tactics, personal outreach, etc.
And you ask for the sale.
And you work to get them invested further.
And you ask for the sale.
If the trial goes on – if they don’t convert early – you see if they’re moving toward CCAs
If they aren’t, you do something to get them to take another action to reinforce the rule of Commitment and Consistency – attend a webinar/training, download a paper, setup a coaching call, etc.
If they are moving toward CCAs, ask for the sale again, perhaps adding an incentive to convert, using strategic discounting to entice, etc.
If they don’t convert and the trial ends, make them an irresistable offer.
If they don’t convert, offer a downsell.
If they don’t convert, continue to indoctrinate.
A few weeks later – while continuing to indoctrinate – find a reason to offer a second free trial (new features, new training, case study with new use case, etc.)
Never stop communicating and never stop indoctrinating!
Never wait and hope; always be agressive.
There’s a fine line between over-the-top agressive and not doing enough… find that line and walk it like a madman (or madwoman… madperson?).
Ride that line and just when you think you’ve done too much, do a little more.
I hope this helps you… if you actually do this stuff, I know it will!