Get Around Free-Trial Drop-Off
A lot, if not the most of us have been a culprit for this: have you ever signed up for a free-trial of any product, especially SaaS products but ended up never using the free-trial software at all? In this case, since these people are not really trying the product, the possibility of a conversion will be much lower.
For a SaaS business, free-trial campaign is a very important marketing effort. In fact, for some if not many SaaS businesses, 100% of their customers signed up for free trial before making the purchase decision. When done right, the conversion rate for free-trial registrants can reach 60%. On the other hand, there are a lot of SaaS businesses that lost 75% of those who signed up for a free trial.
Why is the gap so big? In general, there are three main factors:
- The quality of your leads. Obviously, your free-trial registrants are not equal. If you can get more qualified leads, your conversion rate will be much higher.
- Whether your signup process is optimized. Are your forms optimized and seamless? How easy is it for them to convert after trying your product? Is the signup process optimized according to your audience?
- How you nurture them. We should nurture each free-trial sign up as a very valuable lead with the highest chance of conversion. The better you can do this, the higher your conversion will be.
If we can optimize these three factors, we will get one of the best SaaS growth hacks eve, and here we will learn how for each of them:
First, you can improve SaaS lead quality by mainly doing three things:
- Understanding your audience or buyer persona. The better you can understand your audience, the more effective you can reach for them. Remember if you are a B2B SaaS company, there can be several different roles in your target company that can be involved in your purchase decision—hence, several different buyer personas.
- Choosing and optimizing the right lead generation channels according to your target audience. This can include choosing the right keywords for your SEO and PPC purposes, developing the right content, or developing a lead magnet and sales funnel.
- Having a proper lead scoring system to effectively segment your prospects, optimize your cost per lead, and prioritize your sales and marketing efforts.
Second, to improve your signup process, here are the things to focus on:
- Make sure your forms are optimized for mobile devices. Meaning, your buttons should be clickable on mobile devices, and don’t include too many fields. The sign-up page(s) should appear properly on mobile devices.
- Use personalization when you can. The most common practice here is to use the user’s first name, but you can also utilize various data to include more personalization
- Be plain and transparent, don’t surprise them with unexpected process or lengthy forms. If necessary, you can show a progress bar on the bottom of the page.
You might want to check out this guide on more about optimizing the sign-up process.
What about lead nurturing? Lead nurturing is a fairly complex process in the e-commerce space, and you might want to check out this guide by Hubspot to learn further. However, the next step we will discuss below will also focus on lead nurturing.
Maximizing Your Email Marketing Potential
Even today, email marketing is still one of the most effective marketing tactics for any businesses. Email marketing’s ROI can reach over 4,000%, higher than any other marketing channels out there. Yet, email marketing is especially important for SaaS business where you don’t physically engage with customers.
Email marketing is especially powerful in the lead nurturing stage. Not all of your prospects will be ready for a purchase in the first place, especially if your SaaS product is relatively expensive causing a longer sales cycle.
While as we have mentioned, email marketing is a very effective strategy on its own, doesn’t mean we don’t have to do it properly to achieve success. Here are some key tips to effectively implement email marketing for SaaS:
- Building your email list effectively
The strength of any email marketing is in the size of your email database, and there are two main ways to build your email lists in the SaaS environment: using a lead capture magnet to build your list organically, or purchasing email lists from third-party sources.
Generally, organic list will perform better, simply because you are capturing your ideal audience. However, purchased lists can also perform effectively but will require some trial and error. Experiment with different lists until you can optimize the results.
- Make sure it’s delivered
Seemingly obvious, your emails will only bring value to your business when it’s properly delivered to your prospects and customers. However, delivery issues are actually pretty common in any email marketing efforts.You might want to check out this guide by Campaign Monitor on how to optimize email delivery. Generally, however, if you are using a proper email marketing software, you shouldn’t encounter this issue.
- Use automation
We have briefly touched the subject of email marketing software above, and using a software that offers automation can be a major time (and resource) saver. The idea of using automation is that you can deliver the right message to the right people exactly when they need it, a tactic we know as drip marketing (link). A proper email automation can dramatically improve your results for that reason.
- Use personalization
Using personalization can be very effective in improving your email marketing results. The most basic way to do this is to address your email recipients by their first name, but you can also personalize based on location, behaviors, and many other factors. You might want to check out this guide to learn further.
If you can optimize your email marketing, you can improve your prospect-to-customer conversion ratio, which will translate to more revenue.
Utilizing Chatbots and Analytics for Better Conversions
The A.I.-driven chatbot is a relatively new technology, but has been really popular in recent years simply because it is so effective. Studies have suggested that the average customer’s satisfaction level for chatbots has risen throughout 2018, even beating human customer service.
Also, A.I.-driven predictive analytics tools have also risen in popularity, and now we can monitor various user activities on our site—in real time—. We can combine this with chatbots to engage with users based on the pages they have visited, where they clicked, the content they consumed, and many other relevant behaviors.
Remember that there is the “service” in Software as a Service, and excellent customer service is an integral part in achieving quick growth. If you can provide an instant response—or engage your user before by combining predictive analytics and chatbots, you can improve user satisfaction and thus, conversion rate.
Here are some tactics in implementing chatbots for your SaaS business:
- You can use chatbots as a lead qualification tool: the chatbot can ask preliminary question like their available budget, their contact information, etc. Only when the prospect passed the preliminary question they will be passed to a salesperson. This can save your time and resources, and you can deliver better service to qualified ones.
- You can integrate chatbot with a lead magnet, for example, offering a downloadable content for those who have consumed a related content in exchange of their email address. Combine this with email marketing.
- An engaging welcome message is always important. First impression does matter, and you might want to optimize this as much as you can.
- Develop a personality for your chatbot. Do you want it to be humorous? Or do you want it to be a polite, humble butler? Be consistent and engaging.
- The main idea is to engage your user based on their (predicted) needs. If the user just abandoned a free-trial sign up, the chatbot can ask a relevant question like “how can we help you with the free trial?” while stating the benefits without being pushy. The better you can predict their needs, the more effective your chatbot will be.
- Set clear expectations of what the chatbot can—and cannot—do. Don’t promise something you can deliver, and vice versa, don’t sell short. For example, if your chatbot will pass the conversation to a real salesperson, tell them exactly that. If your chatbot can’t handle technical support, explain it clearly.
- For each conversation, guide the user towards one potential action—or more—. You can implement CTAs in the form of response buttons if necessary.
Using behavioral analytics and seamless user engagement via chatbots can be really effective in improving conversion rate, which will translate to faster growth. You might want to check out this guide by Martech on implementing a chatbot, including choosing the right platform for your SaaS business.
Implementing Inbound Marketing To Get More Leads
It’s no secret that inbound marketing is now a very important aspect of any SaaS business. The key industry leaders from HubSpot to Marketo to Shopify all have one thing in common: strong inbound marketing game.
In its most basic form, inbound marketing is regularly publishing relevant, valuable content according to your target audience’s needs. This is most often done with textual content pieces through blog posts, but nowadays we can also publish podcasts and even videos through many different platforms.
If email marketing is a strong tactic for lead nurturing, inbound marketing is especially powerful in the lead generation stage. By publishing relevant content, we pull prospects “inwards”. Also, inbound leads are generally more qualified, since they are the ones actively searching for information.
With a proper inbound marketing, we can get more leads that will potentially convert into actual customers—meaning, more growth.
Here are some key principles in implementing inbound marketing for SaaS growth:
- The key to a successful inbound marketing is proper understanding of your (ideal) audience. Specifically, what are their needs? Are there any common issues among this audience? How can your product help them? Then, you develop content to address these needs and problems
- Don’t focus on developing content to sell your product, instead, focus on establishing your position as the thought leader of your niche by providing relevant information. People only purchase things from brands they can trust, and you should leverage on this fact.
- An integral part of inbound marketing is SEO, specifically targeting the right keywords.