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How In-App Messaging Converts Trial Users Into Paying Customers

Communication.

It’s the only way to demonstrate your product’s value to potential customers. Your goal is to convey information about new features, successful case studies, and industry trends.

Converting B2B free trial users into paying customers involves lots of communication about why your product trumps competitors. In-app messaging is a powerful tool to send on-time, contextual messages to connect with users.

“Customers are focused on your product at the moment of [in-app] communication, and can be delivered immediate, direct information that is targeted specifically to them and their patterns of behaviour,” states Alex Cohen, managing director at Xander Marketing.

Take full advantage of in-app messaging. Here are five ways to gain more paying customers:

1. Upgrade Your Onboarding

Trial users are ready to get started with your platform. Convinced by your promises to deliver, it’s your responsibility to exceed users’ expectations.

First, let’s debunk the notion that it’s easy to transform free trial users into customers. They still need guidance toward the sale.

That’s why onboarding is so important to the success of the user. You want these initial interactions with your product to showcase the best of your brand. To keep them hooked, your team must continue to offer solutions.

With in-app messaging, you can pinpoint targeted actions to activate the user sooner. Send tailored messaging to help the individual learn how to gain quick wins from your platform.

The CoSchedule team executes this strategy well. During the trial period, users receive tidbits on how to improve their experiences.

garrett-coschedule-onboarding

What’s also vital is celebrating small accomplishments with the user. A note of congratulations makes them feel part of your brand family. While the achievement is fresh on their minds, you also can ask users to complete another action.

Delivering ongoing value means setting expectations and understanding the user’s business goals. When tackling the onboarding process, strive to guide the user to a positive outcome.

2. Feature Product Updates

Alienating trial users is one mistake businesses make when interacting with this specific group. Giving them limited information won’t help them become customers faster.

While you may attempt to create exclusivity, trial users don’t like hearing the phrase: “Oh, you’re just a trial user. That’s unavailable to you.” Instead, look for ways to involve them in your brand community.

Work with your team—product, marketing, and sales—to include trial users in announcements about your application. It’s an effective way to show these potential customers that your product is constantly evolving, and you want them to be part of your growth.

Broadcast new product features within the application to encourage immediate use. Make sure to give specific instructions on how to use the feature and how it will benefit the individual. If not, you risk them ignoring every message you send.

Try giving simple examples to exhibit the ease of use. Depending on the complexity of the feature, you may want to add screenshots or a short video tutorial.

Check out the example below from Slack. When the company announced its video call feature, the message contained simple steps for users to follow.

slack-video-calls-product-announcement

Moreover, invite users to ask questions or report bugs regarding the new feature. It helps your team improve the product, and trial users know that their concerns are addressed.

3. Provide Educational Training

Education is the foundation of converting trial users into loyal customers. You need to properly train users how to gain value from your product. Without it, people will get frustrated and decide to churn.

SaaS companies must ensure that the learning curve isn’t too steep for their audiences. No one wants to feel like they are taking an advanced math class. Plus, people don’t want to waste hours (or even days) learning how to get your platform to work correctly.

So it’s not good enough to just say your product is easy to operate. It actually has to fulfill that promise, or you risk losing your trial user to a competitor.

In-app messaging works as another distribution channel for your marketing team to teach trial users. You can deliver helpful content to guide people throughout the journey.

And you don’t have to explicitly say that your message is for educational purposes. In the screenshot below, Hint Health frames the message in a “Did You Know…” format.

mike-hint-health-in-app-message

Image Source

With the power of data, your team also can decide who needs more training. Segmentation is an effective strategy to personalize the learning experience. That way, the advanced user isn’t getting bored with beginner content.

“One of the main benefits of in-app messages is the capability of hyper segmentation, so why wouldn’t SaaS companies take advantage of that? Sending the same message to every user without even knowing if they’re interested can be a huge shot in the foot,” says Gabriela Tanuri, Content Hacker at Pipz.

Be ready to train your trial users when they sign up, and customize the education to fit the user’s needs.

4. Gather User Feedback

In-app messaging is one of the best channels to collect user feedback. It’s a chance to speak directly with the user inside your platform.

You can learn about user challenges in real-time. So your team knows exactly when the individual used the specific feature and how the problem is affecting the user’s progress.

You’ll also gain insight on which benefits matter most to the user. Then, you can target more content resources around those particular benefits.

“From VIPs to free trial users and more, in-app messages have quickly become the best way for our team to get feedback from customers in the right place at the right time — and we’re noticing that the feedback is better when we can get really specific with both our targeting and messaging,” writes Dave Gerhardt, marketing at Drift.

You can employ the 1-10 rating scale to get feedback from your users. It’s quick and easy for the person to participate, and your team receives qualitative data to improve the product.

stitch-product-rating-survey

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Part of the sales process is listening to your users. Therefore, pay attention to user feedback to boost your revenue.

5. Leverage Sales Opportunities

Most companies want to create new channels to gain sales. In-app messaging helps facilitate the sales conversations with the trial user.

Like any sales call, there’s an appropriate time to ask users to explore your pricing plans. Avoid solely using in-app messaging to just convert users. Your audience will spot this tactic immediately and will start ignoring your messages.

If direct sales doesn’t work best for your company, try using it to take the conversation offline. Message users about setting up an appointment for a tutorial to demonstrate the product’s value. You also can offer special discounts or bonuses to this targeted group to clinch the sale.

Train your support team to spot opportunities to show trial users benefits only for paying customers. It’ll spark the user’s curiosity about upgrading his plan.

Another idea is to send customer success stories via the messaging platform. Users will become inspired to achieve similar results as their paying colleagues.

If the user doesn’t seem interested in buying at all, experiment with using in-app messaging to ask for referrals. Read this message from the Nickelled team:

nickelled-favour-to-ask

Image Source

Messaging for More Conversions

Building quality relationships with your audience starts with communication. In-app messaging offers an opportunity to connect and support your trial users in the customer journey.

Strive to educate users about your product and respond to users’ concerns to improve the overall experience. In-app messaging is your pathway to more conversions.

About the Author: Shayla Price lives at the intersection of digital marketing, technology and social responsibility. Connect with her on Twitter @shaylaprice.

  1. I have read about in-app messaging. At first, I thought that it would not be very wise for it is somewhat too personal. But I learned that it is perfect for warm leads. I guess you can call ‘trial’ clients that. I can see how this will work. It is now a matter of putting these into action

  2. This is a great idea. I saw some apps do this and they would always send promotions via messaging.

  3. Tessa Kawamura Mar 30, 2017 at 1:40 am

    Thanks for publishing this one. Love the idea about incentivising users to make the jump to a paid plan sooner. I guess it’s common sense, but the way you put it was very user-centric, and not the least bit ‘salesy’.

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