Aug 2, 2019

Read Time 4 min

How to Drive Conversions from Trial to Paid Subscriptions


Whether you’re shopping at Costco or signing up for the latest streaming music subscription, everybody loves a free sample. In fact, among food retailers free samples have been known to boost sales by nearly 2000%. While questions still surround proper sample etiquette, one thing is for sure: the power of ‘freebies’ is not to be doubted! 

With statistics like this, it’s not surprising that a strategy once reserved for food courts has spread to other industries; SaaS is no exception. In fact, according to the Subscription Commerce Conversion Index, 65% of the best preforming subscription software products offer their own ‘freebie’ in the form of a free trial. Of course, the real measure of success is just how many free subscriptions are converted into paying customers.  

Curious how to convert your free users into a fully-fledged product champions? Read on to discover three ways that ChurnZero’s Customer Success platform can help your businesses convert trial subscribers into paid accounts.  

Tip 1: Make it Easy for Both Paid and Unpaid Users to Use Your Product 

For SaaS based businesses, initial product usage has a major impact on long term Customer Success. Whether the contract value is $0 or $10,000, day zero adoption is essential when cultivating customers for life. The same idea applies when converting a trial customer into a paid account – product value must be demonstrated as quickly as possible. 

In order to covert a free user into a paying customer, opportunities for product confusion must be eliminated. With time at a premium, a user’s time to value must also be quickly realized. Considering that trial subscriptions are often free or at low cost, this is easier said the done. Afterall, few organizations can afford the luxury of providing Customer Success or Support staff to non-paying customers.  

Thankfully tools do exist that can help streamline your product’s ease of use without human intervention. Tools like in app guidance, known in ChurnZero as WalkThroughs, enable user understanding at a deeper level. With a majority of learning based upon first-hand experience, ‘learning by doing’ is a powerful approach to encouraging user adoptions. For example, Walkthroughs can direct your users through complex tasks or simply display the right content to the right person at the ideal time. Additionally, tools like knowledgebases, user documentation and other troubleshooting materials are other powerful ways to increase your product’s ease of use.  

Through the use of automation and proper product resources, trial users can experience the touchpoints and guidance that is typically reserved for top-tier customers. No matter your approach, ensure that both paid and trial users always have access to additional resources within easy reach.  


Tip 2. Nurture Your Trial Subscribers 

While a 150% increase in trial subscribers sounds great on paper, what really counts is their conversion into paid accounts. Just like traditional sales and marketing practices, subscribers should be nurtured and consistently moved down the funnel. 

Despite being $0 value account, consider ways to provide customer touchpoints that highlight specific features or case studies that may be most relevant to these trial accounts. One powerful way to introduce new features to trial users is through the use of in-app messaging. Automated emails or ‘Plays’ can enable your team to automatically target these users with relevant content as they continue their product journey. Proactively providing tips and other information of value can help guide trial users to their ‘aha moment.’ 

Nurturing trial subscribers provides a ‘win-win’ for both trial users and your CS team alike. ChurnZero’s reporting can help make sense of your data and create conversion best practices for your entire team. Furthermore, insights into product feature and other usage data can help optimize your nurturing campaigns. They can even help you determine the best moment to convert a trial user.  

By increasing the understanding of your trial users your organization will be better equipped to identify which product characteristics will resonate with specific user type. This can have a profound impact on your paid user conversion rate and pay dividends as you work to move these users down the sales funnel.  

Tip 3. 
Provide Seamless Personalization for All Users 

Personized experiences have become a cornerstone in today’s hyper-competitive market. It’s little surprise that a recent study by Hubspot found that personalized call-to-actions performed 202% better than those that were not personalized. Similar success stories are not just limited to marketing; areas like Product and Customer Success can realize measurable lifts in business through effective personalization. 

While basic personalization for the most part has seen little change (e.g. being greeted by name after signing into an app,) opportunities exist to take customization one step further. Centralizing your customer information in one place enables better understanding. Consolidating (and leveraging) your data surrounding usage and customer behaviors allows you to take your personalization from basic to exceptional. 

Because every Customer (and trial user) will utilize your product in different ways, it’s important to optimize CX on a user level. This is where personalization goes beyond the basics. Tools like segmentation can help divide your users into groups with similar characteristics and needs. This not only helps deliver a more relevant in-app experience but can help identify trends and patterns that allow for a more thoughtful approach. For example, if a trial user enters a segment commonly associated with a specific user type, historical data may suggest triggering specific messaging that appeals to this demographic.  Segments can also help answer questions like ‘when is the best time for an AE to reach out’ or ‘what features most often lead to user conversion” when dealing with specific user types.  

Beyond Segmentation, tools like in-app messaging can provide additional personalization while maintaining the native look of your application.  Whether based upon certain usage characteristics (features used) or based upon triggers (a user exits one segment and moves to another), in-app messaging provides another way to personalize a user’s experience. Best of all, ChurnZero’s powerful tools allow you to craft a customized trial experience without overly relying upon employee input.  


Now That You Know 

Understanding how to convert trial users into paid accounts can be one of the most challenging obstacles for any SaaS organization. Thankfully tools do exist that can help you convert these non-revenue users into product super users.  

Want to learn how ChurnZero can help your organization convert more trial users into paying subscriptions? Schedule a demo today

Customer Success Around the Web



Subscribe to the newsletter   

Empowering your customer success team through community

Has your customer community lost its spark? Teams are often eager to launch this new initiative, however, sustaining that same enthusiasm in the months ahead can be a challenge. “It's one thing to create excitement and another to keep people’s attention,” says Shauna...