Marketing Automation

Using a Trial/Freemium Model? Here’s How to Convert Those Users into Customers


If you’re a marketer with a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) provider, you may have found that free trials and freemium models are an easy, low-risk way to introduce potential customers to your products. Freemium offerings allow prospects to download simplified versions of the product – for full functionality, the user must become a customer. Free trial offerings often offer full functionality, but only for a limited time.

Both methods give prospects a chance to test drive your product without making a big investment, and help minimize the risk of a new implementation. But as effective as these models are, converting free trial/freemium users into paid customers comes with unique challenges, which we discuss in our new ebook, SaaS Providers: Accelerate Conversion of Trial & Freemium Users to Customers with Marketing Automation,

The Conversion Challenge

Once users sign up for a trial or freemium version of your product, you’ll have captured their name and data. This is essentially an invitation to interact with the prospect. As your user decides whether or not to invest in your offering, you’ll need to nurture, route, and score these leads based on in-application usage.

To do so, you’ll want to understand exactly what your prospects experience as they experiment with your solution. The more data you have on the ways in which prospects are using your solution, the better you’ll be able to market your solution – both to your current trial/freemium users, and to users in the future.

So how can you make that happen? Through marketing automation. Specifically, through a sophisticated marketing automation solution that gives you in-depth insight into usage, and then allows you to encourage successful usage with tailored communications to your trial/freemium users.

As you evaluate potential marketing automation vendors to enhance your trial/freemium offering, here’s a list of things to look for:

In-Application Tracking

Using client side or server side tracking capabilities ingrained into the DNA of marketing automation solutions, you will need to know what stage of the trial each prospect is in. In-application tracking should also make it easy to see which part of your solution is being used, how long it’s being used for, the device your solution is being accessed on, and whether your application has been abandoned.

Advanced Lead Nurturing and Scoring

Just having the data isn’t good enough. You need to be able to use the data to send the trial/freemium users down the right path. That’s why you want a platform with functionality like our Customer Engagement engine, which can trigger email campaigns based on user action – for example, if a trial/freemium user hasn’t logged into your solution for a week, you might trigger an email encouraging that user to re-engage. According to Totango, free trial users still active after three days are four times more likely to convert into paying users. Checking in with these active trial users increases trial close rates by 70%.

This kind of functionality also allows you to automatically score users based on their application usage, placing them in the appropriate nurture steam. This will help you improve the journey for future free trial users.

Personalized Web Experience

Ideally, your marketing automation platform will have website personalization capabilities, so that you can present your users with relevant, personalized website experiences based on their position in your sales funnel. For instance, let’s say someone signed up and is using your freemium version. When freemium users visit your website, they’ll be presented with a personalized website experience focused on converting them to a paid customer. This ensures that you’re nurturing them to conversion in a way that speaks directly to their place in the buying journey.

To learn more about how marketing automation can help you convert freemium and free trial users to paid customers, download our new ebook, SaaS Providers: Accelerate Conversion of Trial & Freemium Users to Customers with Marketing Automation.

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