Here are five high-level things we've done at Close.io to boost the activation rate of our trial users and turn them into hard core fans and customers:
Call signups as quickly as possible. Within 5 minutes if possible. Your reach rates should easily be > 25%. The quicker you can call someone after signup, the higher the likelihood of reaching them and being able to have them in the "product frame of mind".
Pseudo-personal welcome email. I send an automated email to all of our signups some random number of minutes after they signup. Just a quick, text-only, message welcoming them and giving them a few pointers. Responses go directly to me and I will always reply within a few hours. This establishes a direct line of communication with a founder from day one and gives them an easy mechanism to send support requests, etc.
Short trial periods. Liberal extensions. It's common to sign up for a service, get distracted, and forget you ever signed up. We use a short (14 day) trial period but send two notices of trials expiring. We even automatically extend some folks. This has been a great way to reactivate larger accounts who have lengthier decision-making processes.
1-hour training sessions. Our product can be complex and there are a multitude of ways to successfully use it. We like to use our training sessions to understand how you're currently operating your business and then focus on how to solve your business challenges with our software. Remember: every business is different—your trainings should be focused on solving those unique challenges.
F*cking Amazing Support™. Support is an extension of sales—be fanatical about it. Our help chat is staffed by our engineering team at the most ridiculous hours of the day. The team is always there to help and if there is an issue, there may be a good chance we can solve it on the spot. It's not uncommon for us to be answering support requests at 4 AM.
Here's another great SaaS activation rate blog post from our friends at KISSmetrics to give you even more ideas to boost your activation rates and fine tune your SaaS funnel!