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How to motivate your software users throughout their free trial period

Image of Rahul V puttalath
Rahul V puttalath

Not all your free trial users are here to buy your product. Most of the signup is here to understand how your product helps them to do some tasks, or what value you bring to them. So many types of people signup for your software, your prospects will signup, your competitor will do. Most of them in this group want to experience your product some may curious to know about your features, some may want to know how you are solving a particular problem to them(They are power users most likely) and some people landed to your website with the power of your marketing campaigns where they are not aware what your software does in reality.

The very first thing a prospect does once landed on your website is signing up for a free trial. People love treating them well, they always appreciate you if you helped and treated them well.  When it comes to software and free trial users like them to be treated well. A first impression matters a lot of time. As discussed earlier most of the free trial signups are to know what your product does, and most of the time they were not desperate to get started with it. If they haven’t had that motivation received in the first load they will postpone the trial account setup to some other time, which will lead the user to churn.

How do you motivate each software user during a free trial?

Be genuine and relevant. There is no shortcut to motivate and convert the free trial users to a premium. But there are some best things SaaS businesses can do to convert more. Stick to your values and principles. To motivate your free trial user you need to speak in a language that your user understands, which means to wear the user's shoe and run. As a software creator, you are always proud of your product, you build some great high-end features that deliver a lot of value, but if your user hasn’t understood it very well, all your effort went wrong.

Your trial signups are here to understand your product and use it for a long period if everything went well. The very first thing SaaS creators analyze is what keeps their trial users away from achieving these goals. All that you need from a trial user is using your product properly and identifying this is a right fit or not, if yes they will most likely buy your premium once the free trial ends.

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Motivating a user during their free trial will work very well. Motivating a user include guiding them through your features, correcting them when they went wrong, sending them greeting emails, and valuing their feedback. Motivating a user starts from writing the first email to the free trial user to welcome them to use your product. Once the user is been warmly welcomed tell them a story about why they are here and what they can achieve instead of throwing a get started page, knowledge base, or too many features in front of them. Let them settled first and gradually take them to your product training and onboarding steps, this will give them an impression to get started with your product.

8 proven steps to motivate the free trial user to premium

Motivating a free trial user is ultimately helping them to complete certain tasks and achieve the product goals. Once the user is identified the primary values and happy to spend time to complete the remaining task, half the job done for SaaS creators. Here are 6 proven steps SaaS creators can include in their process to motivate the software users during the free trial period

  1. Make your software user friendly
    The first impression matters a lot, most free trial users are unfamiliar with your software, so keeping things simple and user-friendly will not make first-time users overwhelmed. When you through so many features and tasks even in the first load itself, peoples will get demotivated, and will most likely the success rate will reduce. You may have complex steps to features the user need to perform, but is always better to break things down, and giving some easily achievable task could boost activation.
    Making the interface where the user performs the action is also very very important if your features are easily accessible and well-arranged users will try to perform self-service activation and reduce a lot of pressure in the customer success team.

  2. Understand your user behavior

    Understanding your prospect's behavior is also very very important. You should learn what your users are looking for and what problem they are trying to address. People reach out to your website through so many channels it might be a referral, the content you have created and the ads you run. You should identify your ideal users from your lead lists, even though they signup for a free trial, convey your software are not ideal for the problem they are trying to solve. It is better not to onboard an unfit user, unfit users create a lot of uncertainty and it is unnecessary to manage such issues.

    When you are strong on your personas and sticking to values you will always find a user that sticks to your values. Do not hesitate your eliminate unfit users, they may bring some initial benefits but in the long run, it creates a negative impact. All set you got your ideal free trial users, still tries figuring out their behavior, in terms of how they are approaching your software and how they performing actions.

  3. Do not limit the features in the free trial

    A very important step for SaaS creators to keep in mind is, people hate discrimination and the same happens in software activation as well. Earlier when SaaS companies offering free trials, they intend to limit their important features to premium users, and they make it inaccessible to free trial users. Free trial is the first step towards activation and this period will them to evaluate. Do not limit your wonderful feature to your free trial signup, you can alternatively reduce the period of free trial days or you can charge a neglectable amount to use the free trial version, etc. When you offer all your features happily to trial users it immensely boosts their confidence and motivates them to use your software.

  4. Send a welcome and greeting email

    Once everything is sorted and people signup for your free trial first sends an awesome welcome email with a greeting. Sending targeted personalized emails to each trial user is not a big task, you can use email automatons tools to send personalized emails to each user when they signup for the free trial. When writing the welcome emails, do not forget to mention what they are going to achieve in their free trial period, they will read it and happy to see the consideration. This will boost their morale and confidence.

  5. Build a feature adoption strategy

    Building a feature adoption or user onboarding strategy is a very important step to convert the free trial users to premium. Now your free trial users are in a stage, where they have some initial idea of why they are going to achieve, you already limited unfit users now the real game starts. You need to help your users to adopt your software features. Software features are essential in SaaS and adopting the features helps them to use the software for a long period.

    The most effective strategy to drive the free trial users to premium is offering a personalized product demo. It might be a one-one or self-service method. The demo allows SaaS creators to understand the user's pain problem and helps youth show how your solution can address this pain point. When you offer product demos either person to person or self-service mode, make sure that the user at least has trial signup. To make user onboarding economically viable, it is better to have a self-service product instead of delivering a person-person demo during the free trial. You can set up this one-one session once the user is converted to a premium user.

    When you provide a product demo to your free trial users, it helps them to understand how to get started with your product and that boosts their motivation to start using it. Feature adoption strategy is not only delivering product demo but it the way how your users are adapting your software and its features. To make feature adoption much easier, you should consider making the relevant steps to achieve the result.

  6. Use checklists and progress bar

    Last but not least, when there is a long process user need to execute showing their account completion level would boost their confidence. Using checklists and a progress bar that shows their progress would help the user to measure their scale. Same time it also helps SaaS providers to monitor the account activity, this will help when you prepare your follow-up emails later.

  7. Followup on their progress

    One best-worked method is sending emails based on the user's account activities. Email follow-up is very important to keep the user engaged with your product, there is a chance of users signup for free trials and forget it, emails remind them to continue with it. Before sending emails to users as the free trial follow-up, always monitor the user account statistics, what is their level of progress, and then craft your email accordingly. When users reading the email, they must get the feeling like you are closing watching them and so much curious about their progress. Also, add redirection or login link to your emails where users can directly access your account without searching for it. Free trial is the period when users are more curious about your software, there is no use in taking follow-up once the user is reached the end of their free trial period

  8. Celebrate their success

    Do not hesitate to celebrate each success, once the free trial user is reached their level of accomplishment and ready to buy your premium, celebrate this moment and send some beautiful emails to the user to keep them motivated. Who else doesn’t like celebrations and appreciations? Show the tone of your love towards them and keep your users for a long period.

Free trial to premium conversion is necessary to grow your business, there was some natural churn that will definitely happen and that is common in SaaS, all you need is our and fit users. Do not hesitate to keep users motivated, they are important to your business. Use the free trial period as the chance to create product awareness and to boost user's motivation to being converted to premium.

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