Nothing makes me facepalm harder than getting an email from a SaaS company with a subject line that says…
“Dan, your free trial is about to expire”
*grabs an ice pack for my aching forehead*
If you’re using email marketing as a notification tool (and not as a 24/7 salesperson who doesn’t take holidays or call in sick after a Black Mirror binge fest)…
… then you’re missing a huge opportunity to convert more trial users.
Worse… you’re asking your free trial users to invest attention, while offering absolutely no value in return.
On the flipside, email automation can be the most effective and leveraged way to fix a lagging trial to paid rate.
If you’re not converting at least 10% of trial users, chances are you’re NOT sending the right emails — in the right order.
I shot this week’s episode to fix that.
Give it a watch to see the seven types of free trial email sequence you absolutely NEED to be firing into your automation software to close more free trial users in your SaaS.
Exclusive Download: Trial Converter Campaign™ – Design You Messaging Protocols And Double Your Trial Conversions Within 3 Months
In the episode, I go deep into the specific details of how to nail each one, but at a high level, the seven free trial email sequence you’ll be sending are:
- Welcome Email
- Case Study
- Tips and Tricks
- Offer to Help
- Make an Offer
- Celebrate or Learn
All of them are supercritical, and it’s hard to imagine a brag-worthy trial conversion rate unless you implement the whole stack…
But if I were to single one out, I urge you to make sure that you’re making an offer.
“Your trial is about to expire” is not a selling proposition that compels people to act…
… and if you’re using lazy “default-type” emails in your free trial email onboarding sequence, you’re gonna get “default-type” conversion numbers.
Give this video a watch to give your automated emails a massive upgrade, and then let me know in the comments if you’ve tested another type of free trial onboarding email sequence for your trial users that has proven successful.
Would love to learn 😉
What follows below is a lightly edited transcript of the video.
Dan: Hey there. I’m Dan Martell, technology entrepreneur investor and creator of SaaS Academy. In this video, I’m going to teach you how to set up your email campaign to close more customers and your free trials and be sure to stay the end where I share with you an exclusive download called the trial converter campaign, which is essentially a workflow for how to think through the different emails. I’m going to go over today and sequence them
Dan: so maybe you’ve got a ton of traffic but you’re not converting enough into your free trials and it’s really getting to you or you’ve got a bunch of people that are trialing and they’re not converting into customers. What I’m going to share with you is how to structure an email campaign, the information that should go in those emails so that you can get 10 to 25% of those trials converting and I know if you’re at like 2% you’re like, ok, Dan, that sounds a little crazy. Bear with me, I’m going to walk you through this. I’ve been doing this now for a very long time building software companies for over 20 years. I started when I was 17 and I’ve figured out there’s a process for understanding how to get in the mind of the customer. I did that with flowtown.com which got acquired clarity, same deal and I’ve coached hundreds of entrepreneurs at this point and improving their trials and I want to walk you through the step by step process that I use to make that happen.
Dan: Step 1: Welcome email. So this is the first email that a new sign up gets when they’re in the trial and to me this is all about showing them what you got. Think about the watch, the trench coat guy with his watches and he’s like, what do you want? What do you got? That is kind of how you want to think about that email. You just want to let people know and get them oriented and situated and be like, here’s where you go for support. Here’s what you go for training. Here’s how you, here’s what, if you get stuck, let us know. You can always reply to this email. I would actually highly encourage that in your welcome emails to, to to ask them, just let us know what you’re hoping to accomplish with our technology or a product and just make it all about just getting them situated and what’s available for them to move forward.
Dan: Step 2: Training. Ideally I’m hoping that you’ve got some level of training, not inside your product. If you drop somebody on a blank slate and then play a video and consider that onboarding process? shame on you. So that’s just right out of the gate. That video though is probably good training videos. So I think what’s really important is understand what’s the success gap within your product. Where is the customer coming in, what do they want to accomplish and what’s the ideal set of videos that they would need to consume to really understand how to get the most out of your product. And you want to link those in the email. So training is an important piece of information that you want to communicate, especially to new trials so that they actually get activated and use the product.
Dan: Step 3: Case Study. Now the fun part about this is you probably have a customer that’s totally crushing it using your product somewheres.
Dan: It may be you have one in different industries and verticals. What you want to do is you want to extract that case-study and talk about that result with your new signup trials and just paint a picture of euphoria in the future of what’s possible. If they like got all your technology deployed, what could their world possibly look like? That’s the goal of a case study. It’s about saying, Hey, I know how you feel. I know where you’ve been. You’re probably feeling these frustrations. One of our customers X had the same challenges. Here’s how they implemented our product to get these results and be specific but the numbers cause the more specific you are, the more exciting and engage the trial user’s going to be to want to get those same results and deploy your technology to get that.
Dan: Step 4: Tips & Tricks. Now you’ve been using your product forever and you take a lot of the settings and features for granted.
Dan: Maybe you just kind of like assume everybody knows about it. One of my favorite things to do, especially when I get in front of this camera, is remind myself that I’m probably talking to somebody who’s never met me before, has maybe it’s their first time doing this thing, building a product free trial sequence, demo email sequences, whatever it is, and I got to talk to them from that point of view. So the tips and tricks are unique and nuanced things that customers are doing. Maybe it’s about adding their link in a certain workflow in their business, or maybe it’s a specific report and how a company’s using that to get a result in their business. It’s, it’s the things, it’s the customizations, it’s a personalization. What are some tips and tricks, three or four things that you would suggest your customers to do to get some extra value that they otherwise wouldn’t know.
Dan: It’s not the obvious flow of value that they’re coming in for your product and just things that make them think like, Oh, that’s really cool. I didn’t know you can do that with our product or with this product. That’s what I would do in the tips and tricks email.
Dan: Step 5: Offer to help. If you’re monitoring and you have what’s called the member at risk monitoring set up in your free trials, then you should be paying attention to who’s active users and going through the free trial and who’s at risk. And if somebody is at risk, you want to send an email and just offer to help somebody from your customer success team to just say like, Hey, I noticed you, you signed up a couple of days ago. You haven’t invited anybody to collaborate with you on this, or you haven’t created a report or you haven’t sent out your first campaign, whatever it is in your product, and just say, Hey, do you want to get on a quick 15 minute demo and I’ll actually use your account and we’ll get a setup and configured.
Dan: Here’s a link to my calendar. Feel free to schedule with me. Now you can automate this whole process, which is awesome and really just make yourself available only to those that need you most the ones that aren’t moving along as you expect them. So offering to help to me is a no brainer. You should be doing this, you can afford to do this. Um, and it just, it just is the right thing to do in business. If somebody’s stuck, show up and say, Hey, let’s get this unstuck. Let’s move you forward.
Dan: Step 6: Make an offer. Now at the end of your free trial period, maybe it’s a seven day trial, three day trial. I’ve seen those pretty aggressive, but I love it. 14 day trial, et cetera. You want to, you want to use a little bit of salesmanship, you want to think about the context of persons use the free trial.
Dan: They’re at a certain stage of usage. What could I put in the email to get them excited about moving forward, about adding their credit card information if they haven’t yet about sticking around and making sure that the next billing cycle goes through. And it’s, to me, one of the easiest things is to make an offer to tell them, Hey, you’ve done X in our product. Maybe it’s like you’ve created three projects. You’ve sent two campaigns or 400 emails or whatever it is. And you know, we want to honor that activity and action and if you can, if you make a decision, move forward today. Here’s the opportunity. If you want to do an annual contract, we’re going to do it for nine months, like the cost of nine months versus 10 months, which is traditional, probably 20% off. Make them an offer, get them excited to click the button and like it and also let them know what they’re missing out on.
Dan: I think it’s important, you know in any sales conversation you want to talk about what’s possible and what’s awesome and you also want to say like, here’s what’s going to not change. If you don’t move forward. Then just let them know that and say, you know, now’s the time. Let’s get you set up, click the link, update your credit card info and somebody from our team will be reaching out to walk you through how you can get even more out of our product. Whatever you want to do. I just think it’s super important to craft an offer email at the end of the trial. Not your trial ends in 24 hours and at that point all your data is going to be deleted. That is like that’s an amateur hour at its best. Think about this if the way I think about email at a high level is what would I say to somebody in person if I had the chance? Email and automation is just a way for me to do that at scale.
Dan: Step 7: Celebrate or Learn. Now if they decide to continue with you, put their credit card on file, upgrade to a different plan, et cetera. You want to celebrate them, congratulate them, amazing decisions. So good to have you, excited for you to be part of the community. So that’s a one end. That is what we all hope everybody goes to, but if they don’t move forward, then I want you to send an email and ask them why? Because to me, this is the point that you get to learn, right? You either win or you learn. That’s, that’s kind of one of my life mottoes and at that point specifically sending them an email and just say, Hey John, I noticed you didn’t move forward too with our product. I’m just curious what was missing for you to make that decision and just sit back and say, that’s an automated email and you’re doing a hundred trials a week.
Dan: You’re going to learn so much. Maybe there was some confusion. Maybe there was an issue around pricing. Maybe there’s an issue around the packages or whatever it is and that’s something you can fix. If you don’t ask, you never know and you don’t have the opportunity to make it right. So to me, you celebrate if they buy or you learn if they don’t.
Dan: So quick recap.
- 1. Send a welcome email. Let them know what you got.
- 2. Training
- 3. Case study.
- 4. Tips & tricks.
- 5. Offer to help if they’re stuck.
- 6. Make an offer (Your free trial expiration email).
- 7. Celebrate or learn.
Dan: As I mentioned at the beginning of the video, want to share a resource called the Trial Converter Campaign. Now it’s a workflow structure that I’ve designed for people that are coming into your product and are new and what do you need to do to activate them and also really have a clear understanding of how to monitor if they’re there in a normal progression or if they’re at risk in the different flows of emails and information you need to be sending so that you can finally get them over. So think about all the emails I sent up in the trial converter campaign worksheet. It’s going to put that into a flow for you to understand and install automation into your business is going to absolutely crush it for you. So click the link below to download that worksheet.