One of the advantages of self-serve SaaS with a free trial is the increase in leads. One of the disadvantages is that many users will disengage after their trial has started, often without ever having to explain why.
Although these users may have ghosted your app after their trial, it’s likely they haven’t abandoned your brand entirely. This means you will still have a chance to reengage users post-trial and turn them into paying customers.
How to reengage SaaS users after their trial has expired
There are countless reasons a user will abandon your app after their trial has expired, some of which have absolutely nothing to do with their experience of your product or brand. For example:
The user didn’t have time to experience the product
The user is still researching and in the decision-making phase
The user is still planning on reactivating
Of course, there are many other reasons that may have been within your control including:
The user onboarding experience did not guide them to value realization
The free trial experience did not match their expectations of your product
They had a negative experience with customer support or sales
The user had a better experience with a competitor’s free trial
The price was too high
Because there are many possible reasons for leaving, you will want to create content and assets that address some of these issues, without making assumptions about their reason for leaving or being too pushy.
Start with some of these tactics:
1. Create a post-trial reengagement email playbook
First thing’s first. A simple post-trial reengagement email playbook that contains three convincing emails will help you recover some of your lost trialists. Address some of the major reasons for abandonment with three key emails:
Customer case study highlighting results
Comparison against other platforms to address major points of difference
Directory calling out partners, integrations, or features
Now is not the time to bring discounts into the mix as many users may have simply lapsed because they ran out of time or are yet to make a final decision. Instead, offer something like a 7-day extension on their trial to help them see the value of the product themselves. Ensure you have a clear and achievable, onboarding sequence for this extension to minimize the risk of losing them twice.
Our free post-trial engagement Playbook template is the perfect place to start. It’s easy to adapt for any SaaS company and can be elaborated with additional emails. In this template, people will enter the playbook once they have left the trial onboarding period and will leave once they have subscribed or received all messages.
2. Send personalized content based on behavior or interests
Even if your free trial user only spent a short period of time in your app during the trial, it’s likely you have some data about who they are, why they signed up in the first place, and the parts of your app that interested them the most.
Use this information to create audience segments of lapsed free trial users and send personalized content that speaks to their interests. For example, if you’re an EdTech SaaS that helps businesses turn existing content into simple, digestible courses, you may have customers in a wide range of industries including B2B, SaaS, and ecommerce. On sign-up, it’s likely you asked your free trial user which use case applies to them.
With this information, you can send personalized content that speaks to their specific need state and use case. This could include helpful how-to content that includes mentions of your product, industry-specific case studies or testimonials, and videos that demonstrate what can be done.
Our Share useful content email template will help you get started.
A retargeting campaign that spans social platforms and Google Adwords can go a long way to helping remind your lapsed free trialists why they signed up for your free trial in the first place and why they should come back for an extension.
People get busy, so sometimes the reminder alone is enough to bring them back into the fold and motivate them to extend a trial or sign up. Make sure that your ad creative speaks to the value of your product. Testimonials, results from case studies, public reviews, and videos of your product in action can go a long way here.
If you’re an Ortto customer, you can use our Facebook, Twitter and Google Ads integrations to automatically sync audiences with your ads platforms. This means you can create an audience of lapsed free trial users, or several audiences based on industry and behavior, for retargeting. The audience will automatically update, meaning those users who convert will be removed in real time, and you won’t waste ad spend or risk annoying them.
4. Try an off-boarding campaign
Even the strongest reengagement and retargeting campaigns will leave you with an audience of post-trial users who are not ready to bite. Targeting these users with an off-boarding campaign that asks them why they’re leaving could open up a last-ditch attempt of winning them back.
For example, you could ask some specific questions about whether the product matched their expectations, how customer support performed along the way, and whether they experienced any difficulties getting set up. Open-ended questions that get to which competitor they’ve opted to use or anything you could have done better can also be helpful.
Sending these emails from a key member of the team, like a Product Marketing Manager or a CEO/Founder, can be a great way to give them a personal touch and compel the user to respond. It also opens up the channel of communication for follow-ups down the track.
Keep the tone light and remind the customer that their feedback is a favor to you and your business. This can be especially powerful for B2B companies where the person on the receiving end has likely been in your shoes before.
If some time has passed between your lead’s free trial expiring and your reach-out, showing them the new features, integrations, services and other product updates could get them across the line.
In some cases, your lead may have abandoned their trial simply because your product was missing a specific feature or service. Once it becomes available, they may be ready to sign up and become a paying customer.
Any pricing updates that offer more value, like an increase in seats or limits or additional features being added to basic packages, are also worth communicating to your lost leads.
This is one you will want to reserve for those lost leads who have a high buyer fit score and potential for growth. Offering lapsed trialists a personalized demo of your product or a session with a customer success representative can be a great way to get those high-priority leads across the line.
It’s really important to get that demo right, showcasing the features, use cases, and opportunities that will make a difference to your lead. Dig into the data to find out which parts of the platform were explored during the lead’s trial, and which were missed, and ask the lead what they want to see either via a short survey or open-ended question.
With this information, your Sales or Success representative can create a personalized demo that really speaks to the lead’s need state to win them over.
During a period of uncertainty and a recession looming, winning back lost leads should be a top priority for every SaaS business. With easy-to-use filters and audience segmentation tools, and templates for playbooks, emails, and popups, Ortto makes it easy to set up a reengagement campaign for users whose trial has expired.