How To Boost The Activation Rate For Your SaaS Product

Editor’s note: the following was written by a guest blogger. If you would like to contribute to the blog, please contact [email protected]

Ever wondered what compels users to actually sign up or register for a free demo? Let’s look at the example of Salesflare, a CRM software that offers an interactive onboarding experience:

Win #1: The one thing that stands out the most on the brand’s home page is its contrasting CTA button – “Try it for free”:

User Pilot screen
Image Source

Win #2: The welcome page encourages the visitor to take an interactive tour:

Welcome screen Salesflare
Image Source

Win #3: The brand ingeniously makes use of a checklist to inform users of the status of their onboarding journey. More importantly, it strategically integrates ‘help’ and CTA buttons along the way to literally guide the prospects to activation:

Userpilot screenshot

Win #4: It empowers prospects to self-serve via an in-depth knowledge base that’s easily accessible:

User pilot screenshot

Win #5: It gamifies the onboarding experience and nudges users to try their hand at the different range of services available till they get their “aha moment” with the brand’s product in question:

userpilot screenshot

To sum up, it is not one singular CTA button or one isolated email in your prospect’s inbox that encourages prospects to take the leap of faith and activate. For Salesflare, the following ‘wins’ in its onboarding experience help prospects to convert:

  • An interactive tour which encourages users to do and learn about the product
  • A strategic activation prompt that props upright when users experience their aha moment with the brand
  • A fun, casual, informative, and conversational style of onboarding

Key takeaway: There are numerous ways to encourage users to opt for activation of your SaaS product. A stellar and sequential onboarding journey is just one strategy that works.

In this blog, we will look at the various strategies that work together to boost your activation rate. Before we jump into the “how,” let’s understand the basics, starting with:

What Is User Activation?

User activation is the process of demonstrating to your prospects the tangible values and USPs of your business. The end-goal is to encourage them to convert from trial customers to loyal patrons or take the desired action. In fact, the user activation rate is an important success metric for SaaS companies to understand if their brand is in deep waters or whether it’s doing swimmingly well.

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Why Is User Activation Rate Important?

Let’s assume you’ve spent $20 on Facebook ads to get one user to sign up, and a single customer earns you $50. Assuming that 40% of your prospectors will sign up for a trial and activate, is your marketing cost justified?

Here’s how to calculate: $50 x 40% activation = $20 

At this point, as you can see, your campaign is not profitable. Hence, you’ll need to boost the activation to 50% (or more) to justify your marketing spend and make a profit. 

So it is important to understand the activation rate of your product to analyze the efficacy of your activation efforts, which could include a personalized marketing campaign, content marketing initiatives, etc. Here’s the formula for calculating the activation rate:

Key takeaway: Activation rate throws light on how quickly, accurately, and effectively SaaS enterprises are helping prospects achieve true value from the product in question.

Moving on, let’s look at how SaaS companies can boost their activation rate through organic, cost-effective, and sustainable measures.

5 Ways To Boost The Activation Rate For Your SaaS Product

1. Send a highly personalized welcome email:

Think of the welcome email as the first impression your brand will create on the new prospect. Naturally, you want to make it a lasting and pleasant one. Here’s a use case of Dashly.io, which improved its user activation rates through a clear, concise, and action-oriented welcome email:

A couple of elements stand out in the email:

  • It clearly spells out why the users need a platform like this in the first place, in addition to talking about the goals and benefits that the user can achieve with the platform.
  • It encourages prospects to get in touch with the enterprise if they have any queries via a variety of options.
  • It uses an informal and informative approach to reel the users in.

Key takeaway: Personalized welcome emails double up as the perfect opportunity to connect with your prospects on a more intimate level. Plus, if drafted well, they can communicate to the user the ‘aha moment’, a.k.a multitude of benefits the latter can achieve with the platform.

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Goes without saying that your new leads will have questions about the product or features throughout the trial process (and even later on). This is why SaaS companies in particular need to integrate a live chat software on their website and address queries as and when they arise as Pollfish does:

Pollfish homescreen

In addition to this, the live chat tool can:

  • Gather feedback from users in real-time about what’s working and what’s not.
  • Activate users live.
  • Interact with prospects about their pain-points and understand what is confusing them.
  • Collate critical user-related data, which can then be analyzed and used later for building a useful FAQ guide.

Key takeaway: A live chat tool is like using instant messaging on your website. Your users don’t need to ‘wait’ to connect with an agent. They can get all their queries resolved instantly at the click of a button, allowing for a seamless user experience.

3. Offer short trial periods with decent follow-ups:

Prospects often sign up for products in the heat of the moment and forget about them. This is why SaaS companies should automate their follow-up process and send at least two reminders prior to trial expiration. If you have global companies on your prospect list which typically have a longer decision-making process, surprise them by extending the trial period and boosting the conversion rates as 3dcart does:

Here’s an example of a trial expiry email by Screenhero that goes beyond integrating a subscription link or providing a templatized section of new offers. On the contrary, it suggests prospects to take a variety of actions such as:

  • Visiting the dashboard to subscribe
  • Sharing feedback
  • Closing the account and unsubscribing
  • Reaching out to support and resolving queries

What’s also worth noting is that the language and tone are subtle, not salesy, making the communication effective and on-point.

Key takeaway: Sometimes, your prospects may just need a little reminder about the trial period expiring. Hence, it is good to follow up with them and remind them with personalized, positive, and helpful emails, without sounding too condescending or demanding. P.S. Throwing in an extension period definitely helps.

4. Provide simpler activation options:

A simplified and linear activation process is underestimated. Customers today want a seamless activation process, one that includes:

  • Single-step and short sign up forms as Asana demonstrates below:
  • Clean and aesthetically pleasing website design visuals as proof’s website demonstrate below:
Proof homescreen
  • Easy data integration from Facebook, Google, etc. so that users don’t have to type in their email address.
  • Crisp, value-oriented, and minimal content on the website that conveys everything in a few words:
Hellosign homescreen

Key takeaway: The idea is to eliminate points of friction through the activation process and make it quick, seamless, and simple to the extent possible. Nothing discourages new prospects more than lengthy, boring, or worse, complicated activation processes. To that end, try to call signups within 5 minutes of the user landing up on the website.

5. Boost involvement of cross-functional teams:

Most SaaS companies focus on providing excellent customer support (which is great) but they forget one important element of the puzzle: Involving cross-functional teams during the activation process. By including different personnel from varied teams such as sales, marketing, or customer service, you can:

  • Reduce the number of communication issues (especially around jargon or technical terms)
  • Address customer queries with respect to domain expertise, instantly and effectively
  • Offer your customers a 360-degree perspective into the product, for example, by recording a product webinar, which will ultimately boost the conversion rates

Key takeaway: The responsibility of boosting your activation rate should not solely fall on your customer service, marketing, or sales teams. The idea is for teams to collectively work together and provide your prospects with all the information they might need as conveniently and effortlessly as possible.

The Final Word

There you go. Boosting your activation rate requires more than designing a bold CTA button. It is all about using the right mix of intelligent tools and approaching the conversion process by getting into your prospect’s mindset and designing the experience accordingly. In the end, the more you personalize the experience and make it friction-less, the better your conversion rates will be. Try these five time-tested hacks and give your conversion rates a skyrocketing boost.

Meet the Author

Dhruv Mehta

Dhruv Mehta is a Digital Marketing Professional who works at Acquire and provides solutions in the digital era. In his free time, he loves to write on tech and marketing. He is a frequent contributor to Tweak Your Biz. Connect with him on Twitter or LinkedIn.

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