About six months ago, I started an email outreach campaign to get more clients for my SaaS marketing consulting business. I started with a list of 1,000 SaaS companies and filtered it down according to revenue, stage, B2B vs. B2C, etc.

One of the criteria I used was “Do they send this one specific email that I know increases visitor-to-trial conversions by at least 10%?”

The result: only 1 out of 6 companies sends this email!

I was baffled, and now I’m on a journey to teach as people about the concept as possible. Starting with you. Now.

Where 60% of your leads filter out…

The underlying problem is this: When you’re asking for credit card details during signup for your trial, there is one step in the process where most users stop.

Here’s what a typical signup process looks like:

The problem is the screen where you ask for credit card details. 2 out of 3 users who completed the previous step will walk away at this point. But since most companies don’t track their funnel this closely, they don’t realize where the problem really is. They just kinda know that their conversion rate sucks. 

Many companies track the following steps in their funnel:

  1. Visitors
  2. Pricing page
  3. Trial users
  4. Paying users

A lot of information gets lost in the crack between the pricing page and a trial user. Here’s a more detailed way to track the above funnel:

  1. Visitor
  2. Pricing page
  3. Signup step 1: email & password
  4. Signup step 2: credit card information
  5. Trial user
  6. Additional onboarding steps (e.g. feature usage)
  7. Paying user

The fix to the underlying lack of information is simple: Add more tracking to your funnel. Generally speaking, you should have a clear idea of what your SaaS KPIs are.

But tracking does not fix your “my house is on fire and 2 out of 3 leads are running for the exits”-problem.

… and here’s how you can get them back

Many people’s first instinct – maybe yours too – is to simply get rid of the credit card screen altogether. And it’s great because you’ll see your visitor-to-trial conversion rate jump up.

However, this merely moves your problems further downstream. Your previously excellent trial-to-paid conversion rate will nosedive like a German Stuka bomber. 

The reason behind this is that when you’ve lowered the friction by removing the credit card screen, you’ve simultaneously eliminated all commitment associated with signing up for new software and leaving your credit card details. This psychological commitment creates enough forward momentum to make most users engage with your app. And that in turn leads to a higher trial-to-paid conversion rate. 

This will often negatively impact your overall conversion rate. And the only way to get out of the hole you dug for yourself, is to spend months on optimizing your trial-to-paid conversion rate and refining your onboarding. 

Don’t get me wrong: Your app should have a perfect onboarding experience. It should also have no churn, no downtime, no errors, and revenue so high that Jeff Bezos is balling his eyes out.

But sometimes (read: always) you don’t have the resources to fix everything all at once.  

So instead of “fixing” one problem – and collapsing the whole structure of your business in the process – let’s focus on improving your signup conversion rate and postpone the remodeling. 

The one email you want to send in your SaaS business

So what can you do to stop your leads from dropping out of your funnel after you confront them with the credit card form? 

It’s simple when you think about it. You send them an email and ask them to continue the signup process. 

After all, the beauty of your signup process is that you already have their email address at this point. It was part of the first signup step. Nothing is stopping you from using it. 

I call these emails Signup Abandonment Emails – as an hommage to cart abandonment emails used in eCommerce

And you don’t have to get all fancy to see results from this email either. You don’t need discounts or bonuses or any of that. A nicely worded plain-text email will do just fine. 

For example, this email here increased Followerwonk’s signup rate by 12%

Plain-text. Looks like it was sent from the CEO of Followerwonk (truth be told, this was fully automated). Handles the obvious objection by explaining how secure the credit card is. 

Or take this example from MealMentor. They increased their signup conversion rate by a whopping 36%: 

Again, simple copy. Straight to the point, no fuzz. 

Of course, you can experiment with special offers for the delinquent signups. You can try time-limited discounts, extensions of the trial period or even offering a trial without a credit card. 

Here’s an article on writing automated emails that come from the heart.

Setting up an automation workflow for Signup Abandonment Emails

The copy is easy to write and the automation workflow is just as simple to build. The workflow is this: 

  1. Start the workflow when a lead finishes the first step of registration
  2. If the lead finishes the signup process within two hours, exit the workflow
  3. If not, send an email to the lead after the two hours elapsed

If you need help setting up event tracking in Platformly, here’s a handy guide on event tracking

Luckily, Platformly makes setting up abandonment emails super easy. 

Now let’s go through all the steps one-by-one. 

First of all, you have to register the two events. You can do so under “Tracking” → “Events”.

Create a “started registration” event like this:

Next, create the “finished registration” event:

Drop the respective Javascript code snippets that Platformly provides for you into the second step (“started registration” –after they submitted their email in the first step) and the step after they entered their credit card details (“finished registration”). Remember to include the “Add Email Identifier” code for both events and replace the placeholder with the customer’s real email address.

That was the hard part. You now have all the code in place to run the automation workflow. And Platformly makes that part simple. 

Just follow along and click “Automation” → “My Automations” → “New Automation” (screenshot below)

Then select “Advanced Visual Automation” and then select “Build An Automation From a Template”

Lastly, select the “Cart Abandonment Recovery” template from the “Advanced Templates” section. 

Customizing the automation workflow template

Next, we set the trigger to “Event has been fired” → “Started registration”.

Then we set all the fork conditions to “Event has been fired” → “Finished registration”.

Lastly, we update the email copy on the emails in this workflow. E voila, you now have signup abandonment emails. 

BONUS: Convert even more delinquent leads into trial users

Psst. Here is one trick to help you convert even more leads into users: Simply send a similar email again if they didn’t sign up after the first one. 

The team at Platformly did exactly this and managed to squeeze a few additional percents out of their visitor-to-trial conversion rate.

To be precise, they tuned it up all the way to 11 by having no fewer than five such emails. 

And they are using every tool in the toolkit to convince as many users as possible: Discounts, FAQs, countdown timers, testimonials… you name it, they got it!


Here are the emails they are sending:

Obviously, you don’t have to start with a funnel like this from day 1. You can build and fine-tune this beauty along the way. Just start with the first email and then add the same email with a different subject line. 

Conclusion

Signup Abandonment Emails are one of the quickest wins for any SaaS business. With only a few hours of work, you can increase your visitor-to-trial conversion rate by as much as 36%. So what’s holding you back? 

Let me know in the comments below.

About Author

Christoph bootstrapped and sold LinksSpy.com. Today, he's an author and email marketing consultant for SaaS businesses. He lives in Munich, Germany.

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