How to Improve Free Trial to Paid Conversions

Adi Patel
March 6, 2023
7 mins

Are you looking for ways to increase your SaaS free trial conversions? 

You’re not alone. 

Many companies struggle with the same issue, trying to figure out how to make their product trial offerings stand out from the competition and convert more users.

The good news is that there are tried-and-tested strategies for improving free trial conversion rates and turning more of your trial users into paying customers.

In this article, we’ll show you how to maximize your free trial conversion rate by optimizing user experience and personalizing communication throughout the trial period.

What is a free trial for SaaS?

A free trial for SaaS is a product introduction that allows users to test and evaluate your products and services before deciding whether or not to commit long-term.

It’s a great way to get potential customers acquainted with your product, as it gives them an opportunity to experience what you have to offer without having to invest right away.

With a free trial, you can demonstrate the value of your product and give users the chance to see if it meets their needs.

You can also use the trial period to collect feedback from users, which will help you identify potential issues and make improvements.

Free trials are a valuable tool for SaaS companies to introduce their product to potential customers, demonstrate its value, and build confidence in the product.

By providing an enjoyable and intuitive user experience, you can increase conversions from free trials into loyal customers and ultimately boost your sales. Now let's take a closer look at how free trials can increase sales for SaaS companies!

How do free trials increase sales for SaaS?

Free trials have become a popular way for software-as-a-service (SaaS) businesses to drive sales and increase conversions. A free trial is also much easier to sell than the product itself.

A free trial allows potential customers to try out the product or service before committing to a paid subscription. While some companies report that free trials account for up to 10% of new sales, conversion rates can vary greatly depending on the type of trial employed.

Providing a free trial can increase lead generation opportunities. Even if the customer does not immediately make a purchase, you still get a qualified lead. 

How to Improve Free Trial to Paid Conversions [Free Trial Conversion Strategies for SaaS]This is important because these individuals have shown an interest in your product, making them an easier target for sales teams to try and convert in the future.

You should always make it a requirement for customers to include their contact information in order to sign up for a free trial. A basic email address or phone number will do.

By using the contact information that a trial user leaves, you can send them future updates, sales notifications, and even discounts to try to convert them into paying customers. Doing that directly increases the likelihood of increasing your sales in future.

Now let's take a closer look at the metric driving it all: What exactly is the Free Trial Conversion Rate?

What is the free trial conversion rate?

The Free Trial Conversion Rate is the percentage of free trial users that convert into paying, long-term customers.

It's an important metric for any software as a service (SaaS) company, as it shows how well you're able to turn interested customers into loyal ones. A high conversion rate indicates that your product and services are resonating with users and they are willing to invest in them.

The flip side is that low conversion rates can indicate that something isn't quite working — either your product doesn't have enough value or there is some kind of friction preventing users from converting.

Improving the free trial conversion rate requires understanding what works best for your particular business model, such as providing incentives or reducing friction points in the user flow.

Knowing your Free Trial Conversion Rate is a key metric for understanding how well you're turning trial users into paying customers. But how do you calculate it? Find out in the next section!

How to calculate Free Trial Conversion Rate

Calculating the free trial conversion rate is an important task for any business looking to measure the success of their product. 

It is a simple process that involves dividing the number of free trials that converted into paid customers by the total number of free trial users in a specific time period, and then multiplying this by 100.

For example, if there are 500 free trial users in one month and 250 become paying customers, then your free trial conversion rate would be 50%.

This metric can help businesses understand how well their product is performing and what strategies they need to implement in order to increase conversions. With this information, businesses can make informed decisions on how best to optimize their marketing and sales efforts.

Why is it important to track your free trial conversion rate?

It is important to track your free trial conversion rate because it gives you a concrete way to optimize customer acquisition. It can provide insights into product functionality and onboarding, which can help you find super customers and fine-tune your ideal customer profile.

By tracking the success of your free trial periods, you'll be able to get a better picture of how well your product is performing and what changes need to be made in order to increase conversions.

Being able to track the success of these efforts is essential for long-term growth. With the right analytics in place, you can make informed decisions about how best to improve free trial conversion rates and maximize customer value.

What is a good free trial conversion rate?

The success of a free trial conversion rate is dependent on many factors, such as the type of company offering the product and how well it is marketed.

Generally speaking, companies should not expect to surpass a 10% conversion rate in their free trials. However, some of the best-in-class brands may be able to hit much higher numbers - Slack achieved a 30% free trial conversion rate a few years ago - while other companies with an opt-out free trial may even be able to hit over 60%.

It's important to remember that these are just benchmarks; each company's individual circumstances will have an impact on their own unique conversion rates. Ultimately, the goal should be to keep optimizing and experimenting until you find the right combination that works for your business goals.

Why is it important to offer the right type of free trial model?

It is essential to offer the right type of free trial model in order to maximize conversions from free trials to paid customers.

Different models provide different incentives and opportunities for users, so it is important to understand what each model offers and how it can benefit potential customers.

  • Opt-in free trials give users the chance to test out the product without having to commit their payment information upfront, which gives them a sense of security.
  • Opt-out free trials require payment information upfront, which can be beneficial for customers who are already committed to buying but want to try out the product before committing fully.
  • Freemium models provide access to limited features of the product with no time constraints, which can be beneficial for users who are looking for a basic version of the product or just want something minimal and free.

Understanding customer needs and offering the right type of free trial model can help increase conversions from free trial users to paid customers.

Free trial models offer a great way for businesses to introduce their product to potential customers and increase conversions from free trial users to paid customers. 

With the right model, you can give customers the chance to try out the product before committing fully, ensuring that they are getting the best value for their money. 

So take a look at what type of free trial model could be right for your business and get your potential customers on board! 

How to increase free trial conversion rates

Having a free trial or freemium product can be a great way to get users interested in your product, but converting those users into paying customers is another challenge entirely. 

Fortunately, there are several strategies you can use to increase the chances of a successful conversion.

Ready to dive deeper into the importance of making your product easy to use during the free trial? Read on to find out more!

1. Make your product really easy to use

A good user experience of your product can considerably increase the chances that a user will stick around for the long-term. On the other hand, making your free trial experience unnecessarily complex will affect your conversion rates negatively. 

Always make sure that your product usage is intuitive and easy to follow. That will make it easier for customers to understand its value and convert from a free trial to a paying customer.

2. Use personalization and interactivity

Personalizing the user experience and building interactivity in your free trials for your potential customers is key to improving free trial signups for your SaaS.

The process of personalization requires you to have customer research data. By collecting data on their needs, interests and behaviors you can tailor solutions that match their requirements. 

This helps build strong relationships with them as they are being communicated with in a meaningful way.

Also, don’t forget to segment users into categories based on their preferences. Offering them personalized deals will help build trust and loyalty leading to higher free trial signups.

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3. Use habit forming product features

A key way to improve free trial to paid conversions is to make sure that your product's core features are low-friction and easily accessible.

For example, look at Slack's onboarding flow. It has been designed to get prospective customers familiar with the concept of channels and have them join existing micro-communities in a workspace.

New users are automatically added to several public channels and encouraged to send a message to the Slack bot in a safe environment, so they can start forming the habit of messaging others on the platform without having to figure out all the different channels themselves.

This helps build up a habit of using these core features before even considering upgrading to a paid subscription.

By making it easy for users to access and use your core features, you can help them form a habit around using your product over a period of time which will ultimately lead them towards converting from a free trial into a paying customer.

4. Communicate on a personal level

One of the most important steps to increasing free trial conversions is personalizing communication for every stage of the trial period.

A custom messaging plan should be created for website visitors who didn't activate a trial, customers currently in the trial period, and free trial users who didn't purchase the paid version.

For example, if you want to connect with free trial users who didn't convert, you can use email or SMS messages to remind them about the benefits of upgrading from a free trial to a paid subscription.

You can also reach out with helpful resources like webinars and tutorials that explain how to use your product more effectively. Additionally, consider creating incentives like discounts or early access to new features that may prompt users to upgrade their accounts.

By creating personalized messages for each stage of the trial period, companies will have greater success in converting trial customers into paying customers.

5. Use interactive product demos

Interactive demos are a powerful way to demonstrate the value of your product to your trial customers.

Interactive product demos are effective because they provide guided tours of your most important features to your prospects, customizing each demo based on the customer’s needs, and asking questions throughout the demonstration.

The data gathered at the back end also helps you determine if they need further help understanding your product's value.

Knowing when and how to give an effective live demo that helps prospects understand the full potential and value behind your product is essential for successful sales.

6. Follow up quickly

When it comes to following up with new trial users, time is of the essence. There's no such thing as too fast when it comes to following up. 

That old adage “you snooze you lose” has never been truer in this instance.

Being prompt and responsive will go a long way in engaging your prospects, increasing their likelihood of converting to a paying customer. 

Not only that, customer behavior research has found that users who remain active during the first three days after they start their free trial period are four times more likely to convert compared to those who aren't active on day one or two and three.

Try not to let ‘inactive leads’ slip through cracks because of your customer success team follow-up latency! With a strong follow-up game from the beginning of their trials, chances are higher that customers will be converted into loyalty after using your services for a few days!

7. Reach out with end-of-trial emails

End-of-trial emails are an essential tool in helping to convert trial users into paying customers. A properly crafted email should act as a gentle reminder that their free access is coming to an end while also outlining the benefits of upgrading to a paid account.

It’s important to make sure customers know what they'll be missing out on if they don't upgrade, rather than just listing the product’s features and pricing options.

When crafting end-of-trial emails, you should convey your appreciation for their trial usage and remind them of any popular features they may have overlooked during their use.

Making sure customers feel appreciated and highlighting the cost savings associated with upgrading can also be helpful in converting more customers.

You can also provide a “last chance” special offer or free trial extension to ensure you’re capturing any potential leads that nudging reminders would otherwise miss. This can include discounts, additional features, or other rewards for upgrading sooner rather than later.

8. Create urgency with the use of promotions

Creating urgency and encouraging prospects to act quickly is an important aspect of any successful SaaS business.

Creating a sense of urgency helps drive prospects to make decisions sooner, so they don’t move on to other contenders or lose interest when faced with difficult choices. Utilizing promotions as an additional incentive to take action can be a great way to generate this type of urgency.

One popular tactic for generating urgency is offering a time-limited free trial. By stating ‘try it free for 7 days’, you are conveying that the offer won’t last forever and will end soon if they don’t act now - ultimately prompting your prospects to take immediate action.

This tactic works especially well when combined with promotional offers, such as discounts or incentives such as free products. Always remember that creating urgency must be accompanied by delivering exceptional customer service to ensure that those leads remain interested and engaged over time.

9. Engage with nurture sequences

Creating effective nurture sequences is an essential part of engaging free trial users.

By targeting their specific intent, it’s possible to appeal to your prospects in a way that encourages them to consume content and use your product. 

Intent-driven nurture sequences focus on understanding the users’ goals and designing nurturing emails that help them achieve those outcomes.

The process of creating intent-driven nurture sequences first requires research into your user base, so you understand what their pain points are and can tailor individual messages accordingly.

Once you've established this baseline of understanding, you can craft optimized messages that provide value to your leads and drive behavior change for desired actions: upgrading from a free trial or purchasing premium features.

Key Takeaways

Free trials are important to any business as they provide potential customers with an opportunity to test the product and find a solution to their problem.

Free trials can attract long-term customers if they receive a good level of customer support combined with a short time-to-value offering and personalization to make sure that the customer feels valued.

First impressions matter so it's important to offer the right kind of trial in the right way to a potential client.

Businesses that offer free trials can make use of different strategies mentioned in this article that can help increase their conversions considerably.

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Adi Patel
March 6, 2023
7 mins

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