Chris Stainthorpe of CustomerSure
Explains How They Convert Free Users to Paid
Hi, I’m Chris from Customer Sure. We’re a SaaS product which helps you collect and manage feedback and use that feedback to turn customers into fans of your business. Thanks for your interest to do this lesson.
We’re just a startup like you, constantly measuring and analyzing every aspect of our conversion funnel, but one thing we know we’re pretty good at is converting trial users into paid users. I’m going to share some of the tips and tricks that we use to achieve that.
Of course, every business is different. I’m sorry if anything I suggest doesn’t work for you, but please drop me a line, let me know how we get on.
Now, the advice I’m going to give probably is very similar to a lot that I’ve basically heard before especially when … With regards to conversion optimization and that’s to convince people of the benefits that you are offering, not the features. In the context of converting from a trial to paid, what we’re trying to do is we relentlessly push them to achieve one objective with our product, then reminding them of the benefits of which having to achieve that objective, and then help them feel good about achieving those benefits.
We use three tactics to do this. Constant personalized communication with the users. I think that’s what the program calls do things that don’t scale. Second thing is we use data as much as possible to make sure that constant communication is really personalized. Third of all, don’t stop selling. Make sure there isn’t a gap in your messaging between a beautiful marketing website with a lot of time spent on copy and a product where perhaps you haven’t spend so much time when you copy.
I’m going to show you three aspects of our onboarding process and hopefully show you where those three tactic supply in each of those aspects.
Okay, first of all, let’s look at our data driven welcome cycle e-mails. We don’t send out identical e-mails because not every trial is identical. Look at what they have and haven’t done and send them e-mails customized to suit. Remember, we’re trying to get everybody to complete one thing in the software then remind them of the benefits of doing that thing. In our case, that one thing is getting feedback from their customers. We know what actions in the software we need to gain that feedback. We send out a set of e-mails which not only encourages those behaviors but made those behaviors easy to achieve. We don’t want people to have to log-in at the software and find out how to repeat them. They could do that after they signed up.
First of all, this is the generic e-mail which calls out everybody when they sign-up. It’s not actually that customized by what I just said. All I want to quickly say about this is it looks nice, so it establishes trust with our brand. It reminds you of how to get back in to the software in case you signed up a few hours ago and it’s at an expectation about what’s going to come next which is really important, so we don’t surprise people.
One of the key things that people can do to get feedback from their customers is add our site tab to their website. We know this, so a few tests into the trial, we check with them if they’ve done it or not. If they haven’t, they’ll get this e-mail. It reminds them of the benefits of adding the tab and makes the tab really easy to add with a simple copy and paste code. Again, don’t worry about tailoring the settings later once they’ve seen the benefit for themselves.
Now, a few days into the trial, you’ll receive one of these e-mails. If you’ve been naughty, you’ll receive the one on the left. This is what you get if we detect you haven’t used the software and you’re not seeing any benefits. To get more specific than that though, we look at what you haven’t and we put those things into this e-mail. Again, reminding you of the benefits of each individual thing and making each individual thing such as adding us to your website or send a survey to your customers easy to achieve.
If you’re doing great though, you’ll receive the e-mail on the right. This pats you on the back and you should receive the benefits of what you’ve done and we’ll strike while the iron is hot and we’ll give you a little bonus to subscribe.
Two last things to mention about the welcome cycle. First of all, if you’re interested and [inaudible 00:03:50] then we’ve made an open source [inaudible 00:03:54] called Welcome Cycle available. It might help you get this here on up. Second, we’re not perfect, no one’s perfect, but we know what problems we’ve got because we track everything that we send out by using [sent grid 00:04:05]. You can see the clicks and opens on every single e-mail and we know which ones aren’t performing, and we could tell the ones who need improvement. I suggest that if you do this, you do the same.
Next thing I want to talk about is something that we do that has massive benefits. Not just in converting people from trialists to customers, but it also makes us a better business. That is sending a personalized e-mail to every single person who signs up. By that, I don’t mean we send a template e-mail from a personal e-mail address, I mean, the whole team gets together, looks at their business, looks at their website and comes up with some concrete suggestions about how they can use our software to make their business better. If you respond really, really well to this, and their conversations which come out of these e-mails are massively valuable to our entire team, because it’s the easiest way of our customers paying points and business models and help us [tackle 00:05:01] the product itself and our website in our monthly material to better address these paying points. I really recommend you do this, if at all possible. It doesn’t scale, but if it can get you to a hundred or even a thousand paying customers, that is definitely something you should do.
A couple of tips. Have care studies ready in industries which is typically of people who sign up for your software and don’t accidentally make these personal e-mails seemed templated which is a mistake we’ve made in the past. Remember ask one question and one question only, because sometimes confusion can kill conversions and invite people to reply to you, ask them to reply, because sometimes people need to be invited or told what to do.
Great. The last thing I want to take you through is our in-app onboarding process. We recently switched this from a very open ended process to a very linear process which again, guides people relentlessly to doing that one thing we want them to do which is get feedback from their customers. Since we implemented this focus process, we’ve seen how the trial paid conversion jumped from average of 17% to a three month average of 26% which we’re pleased with. I’ll show you what we’ve done and why we’ve done it.
First of all, we welcome people in the said expectations that the process of how to go through is going to be easy, so they’re not cut off at the first hurdle. Then, the first thing we’ll get them to do is set-up a bit of branding. Why? It’s fun, it’s easy and add to those sticky notes because some people have customized them and sort of personalized it, the feel of ownership. We’re trying to come back very quickly, so you don’t have to read all the words on this screen. We’re just explaining the trialists.
There are two sides to Customer Sure. That is the public facing area which they’re in now, where the customers can read feedback and read reviews and there’s the app itself where they can manage reviews, manage help desk tickets and create service.
Okay, so now we’re in the app, but we’re missing something that a standard user will see and that’s something is the main menu. Why? Because we don’t want people to get lost by trying out things which they’re not going to see immediate benefit from. You have to push them down this path of benefit and have them get feedback. If we press the main menu with this Getting Started menu and place a simple linear process, and look you’ve already completed step one of the process. Hopefully, step two and step three will be as easy. Also, this is certainly implied step four which is put your hand in your wallet and get out your credit card and subscribe to Customer Sure.
There’s two main ways to get feedback from your customers here. They are, send out a survey and get a response to that survey. A way for the customer to initiate contact through the help desk. We don’t what people have signed up for, so we probably got people applying for both. It’s important to know that we never lost people down one route. We let them switch between the two, in case, they’re just not interested in surveys or just not interested in help desk. Also, we just reinforcing the benefits here through, again, copyright and telling people, reminding people why they hopefully signed up.
One thing we do which we think has great affect is we use [fact out of this point 00:08:05]. Why? Because we don’t want customers to create a survey themselves yet. Why? Because they might make mistakes. They might, for instance, trigger an error by not filling in the required field which would be bad for conversion or they may just ask rubbish questions, not the answers from their customers, which again would be bad for conversions. We just ask a couple of helpful questions which we’re pretty sure that are appropriate for 99% of businesses.
Again, there are no dead ends here. If people are genuinely aren’t interested in surveys we give them a second call to action and have them switch over at service desk if they really don’t want to send the survey out to their customers yet.
Now, we’re in the service desk. One thing I just quickly want to mention about this screen is don’t be afraid to special case anything. This is your one shot to convert these people into paying users and when we’ve gotten those paying users, you can educate them a lot more. For instance, this big green claim button over there. In reality, that claim button is very small, but here we’ve made in green because we really, really don’t want people to miss it. They click on that and then they see the case itself, which again, which may affect data. Why? Because in onboarding people into a help desk, normally you have to wait for the customer to get in touch before you can learn the UI. Not good, so we’d find you this [inaudible 00:09:25] case and coaching people to get in touch with us which has lead us to some great conversations between us and users.
Finally, once we’ve done … Once people have done everything which we believe leads to conversion, we give them a bit of reassurance, a bit of a pat in the back and another couple of options which we think improves stickiness such as adding more users or adding us to your website.
One last thing I’d like to draw your attention to is this form and the photo of the app. This form sends a message over into our team. It’s been the start of some amazing conversations we’ve had had with trialists and some of those conversations we know of lead to conversions to paying users. I implore you to try something similar in your own product.
Okay, so to summarize. Here’s what I want you to do…
Number one, do things that don’t scale which means talk to your users as much as possible. Come up with new ways, invent new ways if you have to to encourage them to get in touch with you and when you do have them get in touch with you, make sure you treat them as an individual. Which brings me up to number two, use data as much as you possible can, so you can’t treat them as an individual by knowing what they have and haven’t done with your product. Finally, number three. Don’t stop selling. If you use writers or you are already yourself. Make sure that you spend as much time on your conversion copywriting in your product as you do in all of your marketing materials.
Your homework, what I’d like you to do is to come up with at least one new way of initiating conversations with your users. That might be something as simple as we’ve done such as adding a photo to your product if you have one or maybe work on the mail that you sent out to new trialists and make it more obvious that you really, really care about them and you really want to talk to them. There’s a lot of good blog posts floating around about how to best rate these e-mails and best encourage replies. If neither of those are appropriate, rack your brains. There’s must be something you can do to make it more apparent that you really want to talk to your users and you will help them when you get in touch with them.
Let me know how you get on. Good luck.