One of the easiest ways to convert more free trial users into paying customers is by using automated (drip) emails.
Set it up once and profit forever. Here are the 4 simple principles of an effective SaaS trial email series.
#1 - Frequency: Send 4-6 Automated Emails During The Trial
We found that this is the ideal number of emails your trial users should receive from you. The 3 main objectives are:
- Activate users and remind them that they signed up for your trial
- Get them engaged (click on a link, take some action, reply to your email, etc. )
- Get a chance to connect with your users and communicate with them
#2 - Style: Be Personal
If you want higher response rates, then even your automated emails should make a personal impression. There are a couple of simple ways to do this:
Sender email address
Rather than making it something like email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org, make it email@example.com
Text Only Emails
Don’t send out a professionally designed, HTML-newsletter style email, but rather an email that looks like a real human being just typed it up.
When the email has the look and feel as if it comes from a person, response rates go up. Sometimes people are surprised about this, but think about your offline mail behavior. If you receive a personal, handwritten letter, you’ll be much more likely to actually read it than a mass-printed company mail.
Sent via iPhone
This is a bit of a gray area, but we’ve seen it work effectively. At the end of the email, add “Sent via iPhone” after your signature - just like it would be the case if you actually sent the email from your iPhone.
Not everybody is comfortable doing this, but we’ve seen this work successfully for some startups.
#3 - Triggers & Timing: Send Emails In Response To User Activity
Use triggers for your drip emails based on the actions your trial users are taking. Examples?
When they sign up
No explanation needed here.
When they actually engage with your software
When they are inactive
If a user signed up and has just been inactive, send them an email to remind and reactivate them:
“Hey, I saw you signed up 6 days ago, I’ve seen you didnt really have a chance to dive into the product, here are two things that you can do today.” or “Hey, I want to offer you a quick guided tour. I can jump on a quick 10 minute call with you to help you out and show you how our product can benefit your organization.”
When their trial is about to end
Offer your users an extension before the trial ends:
“Hey, your trial is about to end in two days, we didn’t have a chance to chat yet. Do you want me to extend your trial? Is there anything I can do to help? Just let me know!”
#4 - Call-To-Actions: No Emails Without Them
Every email needs to be call-to-action oriented. You always want to inspire them to take one specific action with every email that they receive from you.
For example, you can send out an email that gets them to:
- Schedule a call with you,
- Reply to the email with a question,
- Sign into their account,
- Try a certain feature.
Want to learn more about drip emails for SaaS businesses? Read/Watch these:
You Should Probably Send More Email Than You Do (if you believe that email marketing sucks, is spammy or won’t work for your company, you should read this)
Hacking Lifecycle Emails (this is actually a “salesletter”, but in it he shares so much valuable information that it’s worth reading. Especially the part where he shares how WPEngine increased sales with lifecycle emails).
This part of the talk at TwilioCon 2012 (relevant part starts at 15:36. Although Patrick talks about Twilio apps, the insights he shares are relevant for pretty much every SaaS business).
Any recommendations on software for drips?
Customer.io is a great drip email provider (check out the webinar I did with Colin, the CEO of Customer.io, on driving sales engagement with triggered emails).
There are many things you can do during your trial to convert more users to paying customers. One of our favorite things is actually calling trial users.
Automated email drips are another all time favorite of ours. If you don’t send automated emails to your trial users stop whatever you’re doing for the next 2 days and get a v1 done asap. This will give your conversion and engagement rates a huge boost!