How to plan a SaaS onboarding funnel

Presented live on Tuesday, Feb 13, 2018

Get a glimpse of upcoming live Tutorials

Before you start writing welcome emails and figuring out what features go where in your SaaS onboarding funnel, you need a plan. You need to know 4 things about your target user. In this tutorial, SaaS CRO consultant Sam Woods tells you what those 4 things are. And he shows you how to focus on one of them when you plan a SaaS onboarding funnel.

Video Thumbnail

This tutorial is brought to you by Airstory writing software.


Joanna Wiebe:                     Now? Okay, cool. So today Sam Woods is talking to us about SaaS onboarding funnels. Sam has worked with some very cool clients of all clients. I’ve been working with Sam for a few years now. And he’s most recently worked with companies like HubSpot, and Agora, which is very huge if you’re familiar at all with copywriting in particular. So he’s doing lots of really cool stuff. But he decided, he agreed to come here today and talk to us about this. Sam, I’m stoked to have you here.

Sam Woods:                          It’s great to be here, Joanna. Thanks for inviting me. There’s nothing more fun than mapping out and showing how you’re going to convince people to buy stuff. So I’m excited.

Joanna Wiebe:                     Right? Totally. Cool. Okay. So quick housekeeping before we dive in then, and while people are still filing in. Please us Q&A if you have questions that you absolutely want Sam to answer, which he will hopefully have time to take at the end of his tutorial. Also, use chat just to say hello, or anything that might come up along the way. Feel free to just chat that over. Well, I think that’s it. We are recording. This replay will be available. And I think we’re good to go.

Sam, anything else you want to add before we dive right in?

Sam Woods:                          I don’t think so. I think I’m good to get started. Absolutely.

Joanna Wiebe:                     Cool. I’m stoked. Okay. Well, what do you have to say to us today, Sam?

Sam Woods:                          A lot of different things. Let me see if I can start to share my screen, which will help everyone to see what I’m talking about. There’s nothing worse than me speaking into a camera talking about things and no one can tell what’s going on.

Joanna Wiebe:                     Meanwhile, people are saying hi from all over the world. So hello.

Sam Woods:                          Hi everyone. So, Joanna, can you see this at least?

Joanna Wiebe:                     I absolutely can. Yep. We’re good.

Sam Woods:                          Beautiful. I’m going to try to present, so hopefully you can still see my screen, it’s just bigger. Let me know if you can still see.

Joanna Wiebe:                     We can. It’s perfect.

Sam Woods:                          Beautiful. All right. Cool.

Joanna Wiebe:                     [crosstalk 00:01:51].

Sam Woods:                          So we’re going to talk about SaaS onboarding. This is the critical period between someone signing up for a trial, for however long that is, until they start paying for their usage and their account. The goal during this time is twofold. We want to make them believe, and we want to make them happy to pay. And I’ll explain exactly what I mean by that. But you’ve all heard and probably all know by now that when it comes to SaaS onboarding, the prime objective is to get people to the so-called aha moment. This is where they have a revelation about where your software fits in with their process or what it can help them do, whatever problem it might be solving, or if it amplifies or enhances their lives in one way or another. This is the key moment. This is when they realize the value of it, they have a clear understanding of how to use it, and they’ll want to use it forever and ever.

Now, the trick obviously with any kind of SaaS is that you’re trying to somewhat change people’s behavior, which is a hard sell, because it’s hard to make people change. People changing is one of the hardest things ever. And so what you’re trying to do is get your software to fit in with people’s behavior as much as possible without disrupting it completely. If your software is too much of a change, then you run the risk of not having them adopt it. So what you want to do throughout this whole period, whatever, if your trial is 14 days, 20 days, 30 days, whatever timeframe it is, you want to get them to this place where they have an aha moment, and where there’s minimal disruption to their behavior. Or, if there is some disruption, you want to make it such a no-brainer that they’re willing to change what they’re doing to adopt your piece of software. That’s critical.

To get them to this place, they need to have a major revelation that is led up to by smaller revelations. All this means is that with any SaaS network, I think with most SaaS companies, people need to have a sense of discovery when they’re using your app in order to see the value of it. And revelations, in turn, are made up of: know, do, believe, feel, which is basically, you want to get them to the point where they know something, do something, believe something, and feel something in order to convert, take action, and buy.

So for someone to have a revelation, you as a SaaS marketer, SaaS copywriter, CEO of your company, whatever your role is, you need to have a clear understanding of what it is that people need to know, do, believe, and feel in order to have this aha moment where they’re obviously going to use your app forever and ever, and never stop. Does that make sense so far? Know, do, believe, feel. Awesome.

Now, keeping that in mind, the most important thing is what they need to believe. This is where behavior is either modified, adopted, or changed. So we’re going to talk about all of these things, but we’re especially going to zero in on beliefs, which is what do people need to believe about your software, themselves, their work, in order for them to make use of your SaaS, your app, and never, ever leave. Right? Make sense so far? We’re going to zero into this belief system, because this is where behavior changes. If you don’t establish beliefs, you’re going to have a very hard time adding, modifying people’s behavior.

Now, believe, and beliefs. What we believe is made up or can be established by claims, proofs, and benefits. So if I want to establish a belief with someone, let’s say that I have a piece of software that, like, Hotjar for example, it captures mouse clicks and heat maps. Now, I need to believe … one of the things I need to believe about that software is that a heat map’s going to help me optimize a page that shows that heat map. So I need to believe that. In order for me to believe it, you as a marketer to me as a user, you need to show me claims, proof of those claims, and benefits in terms of what that claim is going to help me do.

So, for example, a claim would be that, “Heat maps helps me optimize my sales page so I can get more conversions.” That’s a claim. For me to believe it, I need to see proof of it, and I also need to understand the benefits of then using the heat maps, what it’s going to look like in my life and for myself. So far so good? You’re with me? Beautiful.

So I’m laying the groundwork here, because most people approach funnels and onboarding from a mechanics point of view, as in they think about, “Oh, what blog post should I write? What landing page? What emails? When do they come?” Pretty much like the email you sent earlier, Joanna, when you described, you know, “Here’s how most people put together onboarding.” It’s just a mishmash.

Joanna Wiebe:                     Yeah, totally.

Sam Woods:                          Yeah, stuff. “What am I going to do? I’m going to do stuff, and things, and just throw it all in.” That’s a mechanic point of view. And I’m telling you that in order for your onboarding to have results, you need to go deeper. You need to establish beliefs in order to get them to buy.

So with that in mind, I have a framework that I call M3: message, mechanics, math. These are three layers to your onboarding funnel, or onboarding system that you have for your SaaS app. And this can really be applied to most other products, but we’re talking about SaaS today. So at the first layer you have the message. This is where you establish beliefs, and I’ll go into this in a second. The second layer would be mechanics, which is what am I using to communicate my message? The third layer would be the math behind it. And this spans from cost of acquisition down to LTV, as in how much is a customer worth to you, but also the math of conversions. How many conversions does your onboarding need to produce every month in order for you to reach your goals of monthly active users, and revenue that you’re looking for. So math is just another layer of how to look at your onboarding funnel.

So with these three things in mind, you actually need to start with message mapping. Before you think about blog posts, webinars, videos, emails, before any of that comes, you need to first map out what the message needs to be across this onboarding period. On the right-hand side, you have the aha moment, which is the end goal. In between, you have beliefs and revelations, which I’ll get into in a second. And the starting point on the left is the existing persona with their beliefs, and they’ve just signed up for a trial. Right?

So the starting point is these people bring a set of beliefs into the trial. They’ve just signed up, they’ve just started. So they have some sense of believing that your software could help them. They’re not convinced yet. They’re only starting off a trial, but they have a sense of understanding of what it does. It’s limited, but they understand something, they know something, they’re doing something, they feel something, and they have a certain sense of beliefs about your software. It’s all very limited at this point. They don’t have a full picture, but you need to bring them and give them that whole perspective.

Now, in between them starting and getting to the aha moment where they’re paying for an account, you may have two beliefs or revelations that they need to have, or you may have eight. It depends on your software. It depends on what it is that people need to do in order to understand the value of your software. I’m using four for illustration purposes. There may be fewer, there may be more. It’s up to you to really pin down a couple things. Number one, you should have a good understanding of what behavior constitutes a good user, and what do they need to do to get to the aha moment. Maybe they need to install scripts on their website. Maybe they need to use certain functions or features within your software to get to the point where they’re realizing the value of it. So you want to understand that first. And I’m using four just for illustration.

So let’s look at these four. There are essentially four beliefs that lead to four revelations that will get them to the aha moment. So far so good? You with me there? Now, in your messaging, this comes before you even write an email. In your messaging, you need to understand, “Okay, belief and revelation number one. What is revelation number one, and what do they need to believe? And what do I need to communicate in order for them to believe this and to have this revelation?” It could be simple. It could be two paragraphs, or it could be two pages long. You need to have an understanding of what you need to communicate. Right? Same thing for belief and revelation two, three, and four.

Now, you could do this with different frameworks and different types of themes. So for belief and revelation number one, you can use proof, you can use promise, you can use benefits, future pacing, behavior, overcoming objections, you can demonstrate, you can use a story. These are just different ways that you can communicate belief and revelation number one.

So let’s say revelation number on is, okay, for Hotjar I need to install the tracking script. Very simple. Very easy. People do this almost automatically because they want to use the software. That’s just one step of the way. Now, you want to attach a promise to that in order for them to actually do it. So you want to say something along the lines of, or you want to communicate that if you install this tracking script you’ll have accurate data, you’ll be able to use the funnels, the heat maps, the click maps, all the different things that we use. So you want to give them the promise of what the outcome is. Very basic and example. Very straightforward. Right?

Other revelations could be more tricky, such as, “Okay, it’s not in a workflow right now to use heat maps, but we should use heat maps, because it’ll give us X, Y, Z benefits.” So you can use promises to communicate these beliefs, you can use future pacing, where you describe the future of them using your app. You can use objections handling to overcome objections as to why they should be doing something within your app. These are just examples of different types of themes and frameworks you can use to communicate each belief and revelation. So far so good? Awesome. Cool.

Now, the mechanics of it are the emails, the Facebook ads, AdWords maybe, LinkedIn, pages, blog posts. That’s just the format of how you’re communicating these things. So if you’re using proof and promise to establish belief number one, maybe you do that in the form of an email. Maybe you don’t need to do much else beyond that. For belief number two, or revelation number two, maybe you need to have a dedicated blog post that describes whatever the belief is that they need to adopt. So this is where you sit down and map out the mechanics of your funnel.

The math is the phase where most people just kind of skip over, or they don’t have to deal with it. One example of the math in this would be for how long your onboarding goes on. If it’s for a 30-day trial, then you can usually split it up into three phases: day 1 through 7, day 8 through 21, and day 22 through 30. It depends, again, on the length of your trial. But this is one part of the math. The other part of the math equation of everything is understanding of how many conversions you need, what your conversion goals are per month. So just a basic understanding of the math behind everything.

So the message, mechanics, and math. You have the messaging, you have the mechanics of how you’re going to deliver it, then you have the math portion, which is, usually for an onboarding sequence that’s over a 30-day trial, day 1 through 7 are the most critical days. If you don’t convert them there, you’re going to have a hard time converting them after. So don’t be afraid of selling people on signing up and paying for your SaaS before day 7 is over. Like, don’t wait until day 30 to sell them. Because chances are that at that point they either haven’t adopted the right beliefs, they haven’t had the right revelations yet, and so you’re going to have a hard time pitching them on something that they’ve barely used in 30 days, and they don’t see the value of.

So day 1 through 7 is critical. This is where you want to establish beliefs and behavior, and you can actually convert them at that point. You can send a sales email on day 7 and see if you can give them a deal or some kind of offer that’s going to make it a no-brainer. And an offer doesn’t have to be a discount. It could be, “If you sign up now within the next two days, then we’ll have one of our account specialists give you an hour consultation right off the bat. You don’t have have to pay for it. It’s free. But it’s only available for you if you sign up over the next two days.” So there are different ways you can make that offer.

Then, you have phase two and three, which is just in between. If no paid conversion has occurred after day 7, then you want to reaffirm the beliefs. You want to show up everywhere, which is, you want to have retargeting happening on Facebook, Google AdWords, and LinkedIn. You can even personalize your outreach here, so you might have someone on your inside sales team reach out to people directly via email and see if this does anything to help you.

Then, the final phase, day 20 or so through 30, continue to reaffirm beliefs, but now you focus on the sale. And so you reiterate promises, you reiterate proof, and you gently push them towards making a sale. You want to make it so that there’s no question that for them to continue using your SaaS app, they have to pay. Right? Make sense so far? Beautiful.

Now, I’m going to quickly recap, and maybe we can take some questions after this. But this is an overview of everything we’ve talked about. So getting users to the aha moment is paramount. To get there, they need to have a series of revelations that require beliefs, and they require them to do something, know something, and feel something, but most importantly, it requires beliefs. And your onboarding needs to establish and reaffirm these beliefs.

So start with the message maps where you map out the revelations and beliefs they need to have. Plan out what mechanics you’ll use. Use a variety of them. Don’t only rely on emails. Use a variety of different formatting. Maybe you do a video for one belief. Maybe you’d use a landing page with dedicated content for another one. Maybe you even use a podcast episode to establish another belief. So have variety in how you deliver it. Align it all with the math. So the time period of your trial, the conversions needed to make it profitable and actually useful for you. And then plot it out. Go live. And as a conversion copywriter, I cannot stress enough the need for iterating and testing as well.

It’s a quick kind of scope. Hopefully that gives people a sense of what’s really needed. And I would say don’t go any further until you’ve established this. Don’t think about blog posts or emails yet. Establish this first, because this will make or break your onboarding. Mechanics won’t make or break it. The math could make or break it if your conversions are awful. But if your conversions are awful, it means your message is wrong somewhere.

Joanna Wiebe:                     So, Sam, thank you. I have questions.

Sam Woods:                          Awesome.

Joanna Wiebe:                     [crosstalk 00:17:27] questions. I’ve got questions. What are some strategies or tips, or techniques you have for actually finding your aha moment in the first place?

Sam Woods:                          Yeah. So if you have … and there are two ways to approach that. If you’re a new, relatively new SaaS app, SaaS company, and you don’t have enough volume of users who have paid for it and who are using it, that’s tricky, because at that point you might not even be sure what your aha moment is. So at that point you need to rely on qualitative research which is, for the people who are using it, however many there are, and are you using it for a period of time, probably more than a couple months. My guess is that if your churn is high after three or four months, then that’s a place to start looking at, where people start churning. So talking to people who have left, and people who are right at that moment where the most churn occurs. Churn being people that stop using it altogether.

So talk to the people who left, and then talk to the people who are at right about that timeframe where they might actually leave. Ask them questions, especially people who left, like, “What was it that made you leave? What was it that you didn’t see the value of?” And the people who might be about to leave, just judging by time, talk to them about and ask the questions of, you know, “You’ve been using this app for the past three months,” let’s say. “How is it working for you? Are you finding it useful? How is it fitting in with your process? What impact is this piece of software having?” If they’re saying, overwhelmingly, “I don’t know. I’m not really getting much of an impact.” Then that’s a clear indication that they actually haven’t reached your aha moment yet, and you need to then reframe those questions and get to the point where, ignoring the SaaS work for a minute, “If something like this existed, what would make it so that you’d never want to leave?”

At that point, remove your SaaS from the equation. Just ask them, “If something like this existed, maybe not even my SaaS right now, what about it would need to exist in order for that to be a no-brainer for you?” So you want to have that conversation with them.

Joanna Wiebe:                     Yeah. That’s awesome. Then, I’m wondering about the … I know there are more questions. Sorry, but I still have questions. So you’ve got a 30-day trial. Let’s say you get to the aha moment in the first 4 to 7 days. They actually get there. But it’s a 30-day trial, and they know they have another however many days where they can use the product without paying. Do you wait in that weird two-week middle period? Do you keep emailing them? I actually had a talk with people at PDQ when I was out there last week about, like, “Do you send emails every day?” What’s your take on that, Sam?

Sam Woods:                          So if someone has that aha moment, the most important thing is, and this depends on the economics, but the most important thing is to actually get them to commit to a payment and make a payment. Whether you do a prorated payment for the first month, or whether you give them an offer they can’t refuse … This is where offer comes into play. Right? So let’s say on day 6 they’re displaying all the indications of someone who’s reached the aha moment. At that point, when they’re in that high, reach out to them and make them an offer. It doesn’t have to be discount. You could use it if your economics make sense.

But rather look for ways to get them to go, “You know what? Yeah. I’m going to pay for this, because I’m getting all these other things.” Such as, maybe you give them three one-hour sessions of special help from a consultant that’s in your company. Maybe you give them direct access to the CEO for a couple days. Give them an offer that makes them go, “Yeah. You know what? I’ll do it.” So that the pain of paying is mitigated in the sense that they go, “Yeah, I’ll pay $50 right now,” or even a prorated amount of $30-something dollars, “If I get all these other things, too.” So I would focus on making an offer.

Once they’ve converted, then obviously don’t send them anymore onboarding stuff. If they’re still hesitating and they haven’t taken up your offer at the end of those seven days, taken you up on your offer, the next few emails I would say you want to keep having them use the app. At that point, maybe you consider sending a different type of onboarding sequence where it’s more about them extracting value out of the app as opposed to getting them to do certain things. Maybe you don’t need to reaffirm beliefs anymore. But at that point just gently show them proof. Gently show them future pacing. You know, “You’re using it now, but imagine if you didn’t have this six months from now. What would that be like? Your life would probably suck. Right?” So you want to have a push and pull, a bit of a pain, a bit of promise, and nudge them, and keep repeating your offer. Maybe even change up your offer. Maybe next time you send an offer on day 14 you’re offering something different. Maybe it’s an info product along with your app as well.

Joanna Wiebe:                     Yeah, sweet. Okay. I’m not going to take my question [crosstalk 00:22:30] the line. Sorry guys. Okay. So UP asked, “How do you position for claim? Is it the value proposition?”

Oh, sorry. Before we get into that, Sam, can you go back to the recap slide and just put that up on there? People [crosstalk 00:22:45]-

Sam Woods:                          Yeah.

Joanna Wiebe:                     Awesome. Thank you. Then the question was, “How do you position for claim? Is it the value proposition?”

Sam Woods:                          So a claim would be, it could be the value prop, but most of the time for a SaaS app, it’s a claim about a feature and what it does for you. So I used the example Hotjar heat maps. A claim about not just, “Oh, we have heat maps, and then that’s it.” You want to say, “Heat maps so that X outcome happens for you.” That’s a claim you’re making about a particular feature. Or, Airstory, which I love to use. One thing to claim there would be cards and what kind of outcome they give me. For me, cards, as an example, I couldn’t use Airstory without it because I rely, doing my research, on picking snippets here and there. So that functionality of cards for me helps me do research without feeling like I’m being interrupted and having to stop every few minutes to take notes of things. I can do my research uninterruptedly, almost stream of consciously, and it just flows. So there’s uninterrupted research. Right? So that’s a claim about cards. That’s a claim that I might use if I wrote some copy for you guys. Hint, hint.

But you see what I mean? So it’s a claim about now just what it is, but what it can help you do. And then proof would be a testimonial, or maybe a video that shows, like, a sped up video that’s taken over the course of two hours, but it’s done in, like, two minutes, like, really fast, that shows me just doing uninterrupted research, and like, “That looks pretty cool.” I love to have just a stream of uninterrupted flow where I feel tapped into the research that I’m doing. So proof, and then benefits would then be what that helps me accomplish.

Joanna Wiebe:                     Yeah. We’ll talk about the whole [crosstalk 00:24:32]. Awesome. Kate asks, “Okay, message mapping is an interesting concept. Do you have any suggested resources that go into the idea of message mapping more?”

Sam Woods:                          So I don’t think this exists anywhere. I think this is something I came up with. So I’m not going to discuss it any further, but I am putting together some type of pdf that has my top eight message maps that I use. And I can share that when it’s ready. Probably two weeks from now it’ll be ready. But what I would say is, it’s just a matter of understanding storytelling, understanding human emotions, understanding what it takes to persuade someone of something. There are frameworks like, Oren Klaff, his book Pitch Anything, or Pitch Master, or whatever. Pitch Anything I think it’s called. He has a framework that he follows to persuade someone. Look into any sales training, and every sales guru out there has some type of step-by-step framework that they think is what you use to convince someone.

So message mapping is really only about having a baseline understanding of storytelling, understanding what it takes to persuade someone of something, understanding how humans think, and how beliefs are formed. Then, you put that into a string of messages that has to be communicated over a period of time.

Joanna Wiebe:                     Is that all [inaudible 00:25:59]? Is that all that’s required?

Sam Woods:                          That’s it. Anyone can do that.

Joanna Wiebe:                     Okay. [inaudible 00:26:05]. We’ll just go do that right now.

Sam Woods:                          We’ll just go do it right now, and that’s it. No, but that’s … So I’ve just found, over my work over the past few years, I have about eight, maybe ten or so message maps that I use, that I rely on to quickly create copy that could be slaughtered in for an onboarding, it could be used for a lead magnet type of funnel, it could be used for all kinds of funnels.

Joanna Wiebe:                     Yeah. So on that note, we had a link to in the email today. Where can people go … Not that we’re done, but just a side note if they wanted to get these message maps from you.

Sam Woods:                          So be my friend on Facebook.

Joanna Wiebe:                     Okay. Facebook it is.

Sam Woods:                          Yeah, Samuel Woods. You can search me. I’m friends with you, Joanna, so people can really look at friends list and find me there, too. But I rarely do … I don’t do much content marketing. I don’t do much blogging. If and when it’s ready, or when it’s ready, I will share it on Facebook and say, “Hey guys, ta-dah. Here it is.” So, yeah, find me on Facebook and be my friend, however desperate that might sound.

Joanna Wiebe:                     [inaudible 00:27:10].

Sam Woods:                          Please be my friend.

Joanna Wiebe:                     Okay, Val, hello. Val asks, “Do you work with other team members on things like Facebook ad copy, podcast episodes, blog posts, help docs, et cetera to help the message and voice align across the various channels a trial user directs with? Or,” [inaudible 00:27:27], “Or [inaudible 00:27:29] creating those pieces of copy for your customers?” Do you consult the voice, or get in there?

Sam Woods:                          It can be done either way. I’ve done it both ways: either working with a team and help them do it, and usually that starts with everyone getting on the same page with the message map that we’ll be using. It can certainly be done that way. And I would say you get a lot more done with a lot more creativity if you use more people. Or, I’ve done it on my own. It’s an either/or.

Joanna Wiebe:                     Okay. That’s cool. Awesome. Ariel asks, “Is there someplace I can read up on the how, do, and feel side, because we only got into belief today?” [inaudible 00:28:09].

Sam Woods:                          Yes. There are books on this. One of my favorite books on this, and I’ll see if I can spot it right now, if I can show it on the screen. Maybe not. So it’s a book by Steven Reiss called Who Am I? And he’s a psychologist who has done research into human motivations. His model of this is that there are 16 basic desires or intrinsic motivators that people operate from. Things like approval, things like security. So that intrinsic motivation is something that comes from you, and you don’t have to be motivated from outside. Extrinsic would be outside motivation, like I’m holding a carrot in front of you and you want to eat it. Intrinsic motivation in that sense would be, “I really love carrots, so I have a natural drive to eat your carrot.”

So intrinsic motivation is powerful, and that’s where a lot of these ideas come from, which is people have desires, people have feelings, and behavior sometimes drives feelings, too. So it’s not just that feelings drive behavior, but sometimes behavior drives feelings, too. So you want to read that book, Who Am I? by Steven Reiss, which will give you a firm foundation in terms of different types of intrinsic motivations. And there’s a rabbit hole you can go down too with a lot more books that talk about this. But that’s a good starting point.

There’s another one by Gerald Zaltman, Z, Zaltman, How Customers Think. That’s another book that’s really good about these things, too. And a lot of it’s just baseline psychology, human behavior. You know, desires and beliefs drive a lot of things that we do. It drives a lot of behavior that we’re displaying. The reason I covered beliefs, and knowing, and doing, and feeling, is that you don’t just want someone to believe something, you want them to also feel something. Those things usually go hand in hand. So you want them to know. You want them to have a logical justification, which is the knowing part, of what they are about to do or are doing, and a logical justification as to why they’re feeling what they’re feeling, and a logical justification as to why they believe what they believe. So all those things work together to drive behavior.

Joanna Wiebe:                     Interesting. Very cool. Okay, I’ve chatted over the links to both of those books that Sam mentioned. They’re both on .com, so find them wherever you actually are. That is cool. So we’re getting towards the end of time. I know.

Bridget, your whole question didn’t come through, if you want to retype it down below. So I’m just going to clear that one.

There’s a chart that you have in here that Lilian is asking for a copy of. Of course, the recording will have all of them [crosstalk 00:31:01] on the screen. So Lilian, just feel free to check out the recording.

UP asked another question, “Can this be applied to service-based businesses?” So we’re talking about SaaS onboarding all month, but what about service-based businesses?

Sam Woods:                          Yes. So this model, this framework can be applied to eCommerce, service, SaaS, any type of funnel. I use this baseline model and my eight to ten message maps to write copy for monetization funnels where someone has bought, but now you want them to buy again, for lead acquisition funnels where it’s about having someone sign up for a lead magnet of a different kind. It’s applicable for all things, not just SaaS onboarding.

Copy is driven by context. So just keep that in mind; that you can apply this to any kind of funnel, whether it’s on the front end, or the back end, or in between. Just make adjustments and modifications. So beliefs and revelations come into play whether it is for someone who’s a lead, or someone who’s been a customer for 10 years and you want them to buy again. They still have beliefs, they still have revelations that they need to either be reminded of, or to have a new revelation happen to them.

Joanna Wiebe:                     Okay. Dig it. And Sarah has chatted out the link to your Facebook page as well. So anybody who’s wondering where it is, it is in the chat.

Sam Woods:                          Awesome.

Joanna Wiebe:                     Gustavo asks, “What’s a high churn rate? Is there an acceptable average churn?”

Sam Woods:                          All dependent on your economics for your app. For some, 5% churn is a disaster. For others, that’s not so bad. And we’re talking on a monthly basis. Right? For some, if the churn happens after four months and they made their money back, then that’s not so bad. For others, that’s an abject disaster. It might even kill their SaaS app. So the short answer to a complex topic is, it depends on your economics. It depends on what the lifetime value is. It depends on what, historically, you’ve seen. It depends on how much revenue you need per month. All those things together. Again, 5% is really bad for some, and not that bad for others. 8% is awful for some, or acceptable to others. Others want to be at 2% or 3%. It just depends.

Joanna Wiebe:                     I know we’re over time for you Sam, but I have lots of questions. Do you have five more minutes to share?

Sam Woods:                          Yeah, totally. Happy to.

Joanna Wiebe:                     Cool. Thank you. So Bobby says, hey, Bobby, “What do you use as bait? Or like an incentive to get people who are churning or who have churned to tell you why they did? Do you use gift cards or something like that?”

Sam Woods:                          Yeah. I’ve seen all kinds of things used. If they’re churning, it usually does not make sense to offer them more of your app, because they’re going to say no to it. So I would find something that’s industry-appropriate for them. Meaning, like, a gift card can go a long way. It certainly can. It’s the easiest one. But it might be, you know, let’s say if you’re HubSpot and they’re churning, maybe they just don’t want to use your software, but they would love to come to your inbound conference. Maybe you can comp them a ticket, for example, if there’s a conference that you have or are hosting.

So if you want to use gift cards, you can certainly do that. But think of something that will add value to their lives beyond just what your app is. Maybe it is a ticket to someone else’s conference. Maybe you just want to be mindful of that. And make it so that they feel appreciated, even if they are leaving and they’ll never come back. That’s the biggest thing. Sometimes you can even ask them. You can say, “Hey, I have a gift card to Starbucks or to Which one do you want?” Give them an option.

Joanna Wiebe:                     Hmm, yeah. I like that. Okay. Whew. Still have lots of questions. Anonymous says, “Should we push for an aha moment during a demo for new trialing users? Or should we string out beliefs/revelations throughout a trial period?”

Sam Woods:                          You can. You can try to at least plant the seeds of it. Usually, a revelation has to happen to someone, so you can’t necessarily force it on people by talking about it. You want them to discover it as they’re using the app, or as they’re using your stuff in their process, or their daily lives. So you can plant the seeds for it, but don’t expect it to work necessarily every single time, or often, because a revelation is something, by definition, that happens to you as you’re doing something, as opposed to something that’s necessarily force on you, like, “Here’s what you need to believe.” You want people to draw conclusions on their own. That’s probably the biggest lesson in this, which is you guide them with leading content and questions, but you wat them to feel like they’re having this revelation themselves. Because there’s nothing more persuasive than self-persuasion. If I convince myself that I reached a conclusion, it’s very hard for someone to convince me otherwise.

Joanna Wiebe:                     Yeah. Awesome. Okay, let’s aim for this, there’s lots more, but this is the last [crosstalk 00:35:50]. Bridget asks, “What are the best sources to find out what your audience’s beliefs are?”

Sam Woods:                          Everyone exists, and I’ll try to shorten this because I can talk about this for hours, but there’s an ecosystem in your market, not just with what they use, but also with what people are saying. By ecosystem I mean they have competitors saying things, they have colleagues saying things, they have other people saying things to them, they have things they tell themselves. So use an empathy map to map out what people are seeing, what they’re hearing, what they’re feeling, what they’re doing. And you have to understand that all these impressions come from everywhere in the market. Right? And so use an empathy map to map out those different modalities of what they’re hearing, seeing, feeling, doing. Look at what competitors are saying, look at what industry news are saying.

Like, if I sold hardware in the past year, I would have played out the bitcoin mining angle, for example. If I sold hardware to do stuff with computers, I would say, “Okay, everyone is talking about bitcoin and mining cryptocurrencies. Maybe I can use that angle to sell my hardware.” So think beyond just the scope of what you’re selling. Think about what the world is saying at large, but more specifically, what your market is talking about. What’s the latest news item? Because that informs the leads. What are the classic books everyone in this industry are reading? If there’s a top-10 list of books and the same books show up like it does for copywriters … Like, anytime you look at a copywriting top-10 book list, there are usually five or six recurring books over and over again. Those books form beliefs for copywriters as a market. So look at that stuff.

Joanna Wiebe:                     Yeah. Okay. Sam, that is amazing.

Sam Woods:                          Awesome.

Joanna Wiebe:                     That is all the time we will take of yours. I know it’s very precious time. So That’s also been chatted over. If you have a question that you want Sam to answer that you did not get answered today, just copy it right now, take it out of Q&A or chat, wherever it is, paste it over onto Sam’s Facebook page, and hopefully he will be inundated with questions, [crosstalk 00:38:03]. Yay! Sam, thank you so much for all of your insights today. It’s amazing.

Sam Woods:                          It’s a lot in a small timeframe on a few slides, so hopefully it made sense for everyone.

Joanna Wiebe:                     I asked you to do a lot in a little time. But I think it was amazing. So thank you, Sam. And people know where to find you. Sarah, thanks so much as well. And thanks everybody for giving such great questions, and participating. And we will see you next Tuesday for the next Tutorial Tuesdays. Thanks, everyone.

Sam Woods:                          Thanks for having me, Joanna.

Joanna Wiebe:                     Thanks.

Sam Woods:                          Bye.

Joanna Wiebe:                     Bye.

Get our new articles, videos and event info.

Join 89,000+ fine folks. Stay as long as you'd like. Unsubscribe anytime.