Offering free trials
Trials are a great way to introduce yourself to future paying customers and let them experience your product on their own time. Customers love the autonomy that comes with a trial, and the ability to experience your product's benefits without having to make a commitment up front. This can be especially useful for SaaS businesses, where a decision to sign up for a paid subscription may be made by a team or organization, rather than an individual. The more teammates trialing and enjoying your product, the more likely their administrator is to invest in it.
While trials aren't right for every business, there are some clear benefits to them:
- They reduce the barrier to entry, making it near frictionless for potential customers to try your product
- They are a proven, low-cost customer acquisition strategy
- They are often expected by customers (especially at the enterprise level)
- They support an efficient, product-led growth motion
Setting up your flow
It's crucial to pair your trial offering with a strong onboarding series. A good onboarding flow empowers its users to self-serve and tells them what they need to know in order to get value from your product. The goal of this flow is to increase your trial-to-paid conversion rate, so it's important for it to be informative, helpful, and inviting.
A 30-day trial onboarding sequence should include 5-8 emails:
- Email 1 - Trial activation: This is your welcome email; it should thank users for signing up and should include any important account setup instructions
- Email 2 - Getting started: Highlight your key USPs (unique selling propositions)
- Email 3 - Best practices: Provide educational content and tips for success
- Email 4 - Case study or testimonial: Use social proof to give your company credibility
- Email 5 - 15-day check in: Check in at the midpoint of the trial to see if your user needs help onboarding (you might consider offering a 1:1 consultation)
- Email 6 - Restatement of benefits: Remind your users about the value they get from your product
- Email 7 - Trial expiry reminder: Give your users a heads up that their trial is almost over; use a compelling subject line like, "Upgrade now to keep access"
- Email 8 - End of trial notice: This is a transactional email that confirms the trial has ended; include a CTA to upgrade and regain access to paid (premium) features
If a trial user converts to a paid subscription during this series, consider sending them a personalized welcome series to ensure they don't receive duplicative marketing material.