Woo hoo! A hundred new trial users signed up to your application. Do you celebrate? Not yet. I want to explain the benefits of customer onboarding for SaaS (software as a service).
Signing up for a trial is obviously a long way short of the finish line. Converting these trial users to paid subscribers is a clear next focus. But even paid users aren’t over the line yet, either. The moment of purchase or trial is just the start of a mini journey. We need to get the user to the next incremental value as fast as we can. That’s the role of a customer onboarding sequence for your SaaS application.
We’ve just implemented a series of emails for onboarding customers, and early results suggest a 400% improvement in engagement. I suspect that once we get larger numbers of users into the program that will back off a bit, but it’s a great start for a relatively low cost.
Here’s how we did it
Like most SaaS businesses, our Funnel Plan is offered as a free trial and a paid upgrade – the so-called ‘freemium’ model. Most freemium implementations for SaaS offer the whole product for a limited time. However, we can’t. Most of the value of a planning application is enjoyed up front and so the urgency to upgrade would be missing. So we offer limited functionality during the trial, but allow users to enjoy it for an unlimited time. We baked enough value into the free plan so that a business wanting to build a sales and marketing plan can quickly do so using the free version of Funnel Plan. We then added enough value (more functionality, unlimited free coaching) into the paid product so that some of these trial users would upgrade at some point.
Before we had our onboarding emails, users enjoyed a lot of help and onboarding inside the application. Let me show you what we offered, but you’ve already sensed that I’m going to explain later why this wasn’t enough.