5 Tactics To Increase Trial To Paid Conversion Rate Using Userpilot

Is it possible to increase the trial to paid conversion rate through the use of streamlined user onboarding tools? The answer is a reassuring yes, but it’s important that we delve deeper into the nuances of the process so you can see the whole picture.

User onboarding software like Userpilot can be a powerful weapon in the journey to gain new customers so let’s take a look at five key tactics that will help you out on this perilous quest!


  • Welcome screens help you segment users and tailor their onboarding experience accordingly.
  • Checklists encourage new users to explore key features — reducing the amount of time between signing up and experiencing value.
  • Interactive walkthroughs are better than product tours because they increase product engagement amongst new users which makes them more likely to reach the activation stage and pay for a subscription after the free trial.
  • Interactive walkthroughs are more effective than product tours in the same way that testing driving a car is more convincing than simply hearing about its parts.
  • A/B testing compares multiple versions to measure the impact of in-app marketing and new features so you can take a natural selection approach to decide what stays in your product.
  • Create microsurveys with Userpilot to figure out why users stop using your product and reduce your churn rate.

What is a trial to paid conversion rate (CR)?

It’s no secret that software companies often use free trials to draw users in and give them a no-strings-attached value preview before attempting to turn them into a customer (aka convert).

A trial to paid conversion rate is simply the percentage of users that sign up for a paid account after the trial period ends. You calculate this metric by dividing the total number of conversions by the number of free trial users in the same period then multiplying that number by 100.

Userpilot trial to paid conversion rate equation

Trial to paid conversion rate equation.

Using tools to increase the trial to paid conversion rate

Product marketing may seem like rocket science, but at the end of the day, all you really need to do if you want a higher trial to paid conversion rate is help users reach their activation point as soon as possible.

Activation is the second stage of the user journey, right after acquisition. Essentially, it’s the point where the value you promised them in the signup process is finally actualized.

It could be a key feature being fully utilized, positive results in their business, or benefits being reaped on a personal level.

Whatever triggers the activation point, it’s important to realize that this is a key moment that will determine whether or not your customers stay and convert.

User activation is similar but different to the “AHA moment” — the mental state where your user first perceives the value on offer. We’ll go into greater detail on how to bring users to their “AHA moment” in the tactics below.

To optimize the SaaS user experience, it’s crucial that you implement a product adoption tool that can help guide users towards the activation point during the primary onboarding process.

Userpilot user journey - trial, aha moment, activation, and adoption

The four stages of the user journey from acquisition to adoption.

How can Userpilot help you increase the trial to paid conversion rate?

We’ve gone over a lot of product marketing strategies in our articles, so here’s a curated list that condenses five of the most effective tactics which can help you increase the trial to paid conversion rate.

Every single tactic can be applied to your business — through the use of Userpilot onboarding software — without having to write a single line of code.

Without further ado, here’s how to build the perfect in-app experience.

Increase trial to paid conversion rate tactic #1: Segment your audience with welcome screens

Welcome screens are a great way to personalize the onboarding process. By segmenting users, you’ll be able to tailor the process to their specific needs and thus bring them to their activation point faster.

Userpilot microsurveys (pictured below) can help you figure out who your users are and what they need most. This data will make it easier to tweak the onboarding accordingly based on their use case.

Userpilot SaaS onboarding welcome screen

Want to personalize onboarding with welcome screens and segments? Get a Userpilot Demo and get started right away!

Thanks to the information from the microsurvey, Postify was able to sort users based on their answers and create segments. This allowed them to target the proper segment with the appropriate follow-up experience designed specifically for their use case.

Here’s a preview of the segmentation interface for Userpilot’s interactive walkthroughs:

Userpilot saas onboarding segmentation

Want to personalize onboarding with welcome screens and segments? Try the Userpilot Demo to get started right away!

Watch the video below to learn how to design an effective welcome screen, get insight into user intent, and more!

How to use welcome screens for user segmentation

Increase trial to paid conversion rate tactic #2: Bring users to their “AHA moment” with checklists

User onboarding checklists are extremely useful in leading users down the quickest path towards activation. The number of tasks in the checklist can vary depending on how many actions are required for the user to reach the activation stage.

Keep the number of tasks to a minimum to ensure that you’re creating the fastest route towards value actualization for your new users. At the same time, don’t omit fundamental steps for the sake of brevity — strike a balance.

One approach that has worked in the SaaS space is to hide the full checklist and gradually reveal additional tasks as the user completes the initial steps. Here’s what a checklist built with Userpilot looks like:

Userpilot onboarding checklist

An interactive onboarding checklist created with Userpilot.

Here’s a secret tip:

Do you see how “Create Postfity Account” is listed on the checklist? This might seem nonsensical at first as no one can see the checklist unless they’ve already made an account.

But that’s actually the point.

By putting a task on the checklist that they’ve already completed, the user will be inclined to cross it out and then work through the other items on the checklist due to the Ovsiankina effect.

This phenomenon describes the inclination to continue uncompleted tasks once you’ve started them. Similarly, the Zeigarnik effect makes unfinished tasks more memorable which reduces the odds that users will forget to finish up the checklist.

You can leverage Userpilot by creating in-app checklists in just a few minutes. Furthermore, you’ll be able to segment users so that certain checklists only appear to users in a specific category (i.e. users who haven’t reached the activation stage yet.)

Increase trial to paid conversion rate tactic #3: Replace product tours with interactive walkthroughs

Product tours are supposed to be your big chance to speed up the activation process for users but the sad truth is that countless people just end up skipping through them. Ironically, although users need guidance to avoid getting stuck but also hate long, drab explanations.

feedback on product tours

Facebook users opinions on product tours

The ideal middle ground can be found with interactive walkthroughs. After all, studies show that consumers actually prefer doing things themselves. This self-service tendency comes down to the feeling of independence and an innate need to learn by doing.

While a product tour may overwhelm users with an avalanche of information that they’ll struggle to retain, interactive walkthroughs allow them to take things at their own pace and familiarize themselves with one feature at a time.

This is the equivalent of taking a car for a test drive rather than having a salesman pitch all the specifications to you. When users learn by using the product itself, they’re more likely to continue engaging with it in the long term and eventually sign up for a subscription once their free trial ends.

If the goal is to decrease the learning curve, then interactive walkthroughs are clearly the way to go since they’re far less confusing than linear product tours that dump the full guide on new users all at once.

Userpilot interactive walkthrough product tour

The majority of consumers prefer self-service.
Source: Zendesk.com

Postfity, a social media scheduler tool, created a walkthrough with Userpilot that shows users how to use the group account feature on their platform. The tutorial only pops up when they interact with the feature.

This means they’ll get their instructions at the exact moment they need it rather than upon signup (to ensure they haven’t forgotten what they learned by the time they actually need it.)

Because they use the feature for themselves during the walkthrough — instead of being told how it works — they’ll also have an easier time remembering what they’ve learned. Lastly, interactive walkthroughs can have modules trigger automatically as they’re needed so users don’t need to constantly sift through the knowledge base.

Postfity interactive walkthrough made with Userpilot

Want to tag and track in-app engagement based on UI elements and trigger in-app experiences with no code? Get a Userpilot demo and see how we can help!

To help users stay focused, the first tooltip remains static until they’ve engaged with it — at which point the next one will show up.

Userpilot group creation

Step 1: Select all the accounts you want to group

Once they’ve completed the initial instructions, another tooltip will appear and prompt them to name the group they’re creating.

Userpilot group naming

Step 2: name your group

The third tooltip only shows up once the previous step has been completed and proceeds to end the tutorial afterward.

Userpilot group finalization

Step 3: finalize group creation

If you want to learn more about tooltips then check out our article on how to create tooltips without HTML and CSS!

Increase trial to paid conversion rate tactic #4: Optimize in-app onboarding experiences with A/B testing

A/B or split testing is a methodology of comparing two or more versions of a page to see which elements improve the user experience and which elements detract from it. This is paramount if you hope to optimize the in-app onboarding process for your users.

Userpilot lets you gauge the impact of tooltips, checklists, and other in-app experiences by comparing results with a control group. Users in the control group aren’t shown any in-app marketing so they serve as the baseline for your analysis.

Product experiments like these help you achieve a deeper understanding of user behavior and lead development by data over raw instinct. Split testing in-app marketing and/or features serves as a form of natural selection with regards to what should stay in your product and what should be removed.

The next time you introduce new functions, consider split-testing an announcement pop-up against introductory tooltips to see which approach is more effective at getting users to adopt the novel feature.

By investing some of your time in product experiments, you’ll have the information you need to increase user retention, engagement levels, and customer activation rates among countless other benefits.

When creating in-app experiences on Userpilot, set a specific goal and enable A/B testing.

Userpilot lets you test in-app experiences with a single click.

Increase trial to paid conversion rate tactic #5: Get feedback through churn surveys and improve

Customer churn is the percentage of customers that you lose over time. Implementing churn surveys can help you figure out why users stop using your product — allowing you to address the issue and reduce the churn rate as a result.

Traditionally, custom code was needed to create these microsurveys but now tools like Userpilot let you build in-app surveys and track results without writing a single line of code. These churn surveys will show up directly inside your product.

Userpilot provides multiple customization options so you can make the churn survey look its best for your end-users. Automatic responses can also be triggered depending on which answers are selected.

Userpilot churn microsurveys

Want to build in-app churn surveys without coding? Sign up for a Userpilot demo to get started right away!

Motivated users are more likely to increase your trial to paid conversion rates!

The Fogg Behavior Model states that every behavior is the sum of three components — motivation, ability, and a trigger. All three need to be present at the same time for a behavior to persist.

Even if your users have the ability to sign up for a paid subscription and a pop-up after the trial triggers the action, it simply won’t be enough unless they have sufficient motivation to keep using your product.

With enough motivation, you can change old habits (like loyalty to competitors) or create new behavioral patterns (such as continuing to use an app long-term.) There are four scenarios that can impact how effective a trigger will be:

Scenario 1: low motivation + low ability

If the user experience is poor and your trial users aren’t very motivated about the product, there’s a very high chance that they’ll churn.

Scenario 2: high motivation + low ability

Some SaaS products can afford to have a mediocre user experience — especially tools from startups that are in the open beta stage — if their userbase is motivated enough to keep using them. It’s not ideal to rely on motivation alone but, in this case, it ultimately saves you from churn.

Scenario 3: low motivation + high ability

This is the trap that many companies fall into. They provide a seamless user experience but they just can’t get customers excited enough about the product. Users may be okay with the platform for now but they’ll likely jump ship when a more exciting option comes along.

Scenario 4: high motivation + high ability

This fourth scenario is what you should aim for. When you combine an easy-to-use app with customers who are genuinely motivated about it, you’ll get sky-high conversion rates out of your free trials and have a “loyalty shield” that makes it harder for competitors to sway your users.

How to boost user motivation

When it comes to motivating users, you’re only limited by your imagination. Here are a few strategies that could pump those motivation levels up:


As you can see, getting people to take the leap from trial user to paying subscriber isn’t an exact science. What it really comes down to is sticking to best practices and streamlining the onboarding process in an easily digestible manner.

If you apply the tactics listed in this article then you’ll be able to massively improve user retention metrics like churn rate, user retention, and customer lifetime value in no time at all.

Want to create checklists that encourage users to use the most valuable features in your product or start A/B testing in-app elements to see which ones work best? Get a Userpilot Demo to do all that and so much more!

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