How to Optimize The Conversion Path to Drive Growth

How to Optimize The Conversion Path to Drive Growth cover

Whether you’re converting website leads or attracting paying users, understanding and optimizing the SaaS conversion path is key to unlocking success and achieving sustainable product growth.

In this article, we examine the unique world of SaaS conversion. We will also explore strategies for optimizing different conversion paths. And discuss how you can analyze your path’s success.

Let’s dive in!

TL;DR

  • The SaaS conversion path is the journey that potential customers follow from unknown website visitors to product subscribers.
  • Successful conversion paths often contain persuasive, tailored messaging, simple, value-driven language, a clear call to action, and a compelling offer.
  • You can boost your trial signup conversion path by showcasing social proof of your product’s value, using a clear pricing model, and keeping the signup process friction-free.
  • For the activation conversion path, use carefully curated in-app experiences to help users derive value. You can also use onboarding checklists to direct user actions.
  • Finally, for the freemium-to-paying customer conversion path, give users a limited taste of your product’s value and adopt contextual upselling methods to drive conversion.
  • Regardless of the path, you can identify conversion rate optimization opportunities by setting up conversion goals for different user segments, comparing each segment’s performance, and identifying kinks in the journey.
  • Userpilot provides the tools needed to help you optimize your SaaS conversion paths. Book a demo today to learn how it works.

What is a SaaS conversion path?

The SaaS conversion path is the guided journey that a potential customer follows from an anonymous website visitor to a subscriber to a product or service.

It is a step-by-step process that turns qualified website visitors, first into leads, then into paying customers.

What makes a successful conversion path?

Not all conversion paths are identical. However, regardless of your business type or offering, successful conversion paths share a few similar features:

  • Tailored Messaging: A good conversion path features messaging that’s tailored to the specific needs and pain points of your target audience. It leverages available data on your leads and customers to personalize their experience and deliver targeted messaging.
  • Value-driven Content: Provide valuable educational content throughout the conversion path to build trust and establish your authority.
  • Engaging Call-to-Action (CTA): An effective conversion path utilizes clear and compelling CTAs at every stage. Whether you’re inviting users to sign up for a free trial or offering website visitors a free ebook, your call to action should be prominent and persuasive.
  • Compelling Value Proposition: To be truly successful, your conversion path must begin with a clear and compelling offer. It should communicate the benefits and unique value your product offers and how it addresses your customers’ pain points. You can create specialized website pages to do so.
  • Persuasive Landing Page: Depending on your targeted conversion, a landing page may be a necessity. If that’s the case, ensure your landing page is persuasive, engaging, and optimized for mobile users. Its singular focus should be to emphasize your product value.

Best practices to create effective conversion paths

Now that we’ve seen what makes a conversion path successful, let’s take a closer look at the different SaaS conversion paths and identify the best practices for optimizing each of them.

Trial signup conversion path best practices

Getting your website visitors to sign up for your free trial is a crucial step in the SaaS customer journey.

A good trial conversion path turns visitors into leads by compelling them to test the product. And to create an optimized trial conversion path, you should:

Use social proof to show prospects your product’s value on your landing page

Good landing pages are key to the success of your trial conversion efforts. Create landing pages that connect with qualified website visitors and resonate with their needs.

Use social proof, such as customer testimonials, user reviews, case studies, or industry awards, to build trust and communicate your product’s value.

The Userpilot Sign-up Page
The Userpilot sign-up page.

Optimize your pricing page

Your pricing page is where users go to see what they’ll get for their money. Ultimately, your chosen price model and price points will help users decide whether or not they’re ready to convert.

You can optimize your trial conversion path by keeping your pricing model simple and easy to understand. Your target audience should know exactly what each package includes and how it differs from others.

The Userpilot Pricing Page
The Userpilot pricing page.

Regardless of your chosen pricing model and strategy, ensure the perceived value of your product is obvious and your pricing is justified.

Create a frictionless signup process

According to the State of SaaS 2023 report, 79% of SaaS products have a friction-riddled sign-up flow. Too many products, for example, still use the sign-up page as a source of a barrage of customer data.

Likewise, requesting users’ credit card information at a time when they simply want to test your product may be more trouble than it’s worth, depending on your product type and industry.

Ultimately, you want to keep the sign-up page simple. Use Single Sign-On (SSO), where possible. Otherwise, a user’s name and email are often enough to get them started.

Miro sign-in page
Miro removes friction with its SSO sign-in.

Delay the email confirmation

Requiring email confirmation before a user gains access to your product often places an invisible wall between them and the product.

To ensure users start using your product as quickly as possible, you must eliminate every source of friction during sign-up. This is necessary even if you need that step for legal compliance or identity verification purposes.

Delay the email confirmation request so as not to disturb users at the start of their journey. Instead, use an in-app banner to remind them to confirm their email after they’ve already accessed the application.

Jivochat notification
Jivochat in-app email verification banner.

User activation conversion path best practices

After successfully getting users to sign up, your next target will be to lead them toward activation. This is the stage where the user unlocks the value in the set of persona-relevant key product features.

A successful activation conversion path is, thus, key to any long-term customer retention targets. Some ways to optimize this path include:

Deliver personalized in-app experiences

People use your product to solve specific problems. To that end, users with different goals use different parts of the product to achieve these goals.

Thus, one way to drive activation is by segmenting users and personalizing their in-app experience to make it easier for users to derive value from the product.

Use modals to collect relevant data about the customer’s profile, goals, etc., upon signup.

Then, use that data to identify their user segment, personalize their onboarding, and direct them to the most useful features for their needs.

User segmentation in Userpilot.
Create user segments in Userpilot.

Use an onboarding checklist to drive users to the activation point

In addition to understanding your users’ needs, it’s also important that you understand what actions within your product will help them achieve their goals.

Armed with that knowledge, you can create checklists that prompt users to take those actions and move closer to activation.

Working with checklists also taps into a psychological effect known as “endowed progress.” By getting users to believe they’re close to achieving a goal, you increase their motivation to complete the goal.

SKED Social
SKED Social’s onboarding checklists.

Trial/Freemium to paid conversion path best practices

Getting your trial users to commit to your product by purchasing a subscription package is the final, most important conversion path users must follow.

How can you optimize this path for your desired end?

Set usage limits for the basic features offered

In order to be valuable to the user, the free tier of your SaaS product must provide genuine value. It should address their pain points just enough to showcase your product’s benefits.

However, it’s also important that you do not give it all away for free. By setting usage limits, you can showcase your product while compelling the user to purchase a plan.

For instance, you may throttle the product experience, limiting the full power of your product to only those who commit to a premium plan.

Loom's upsells
Loom limits freemium users to just 5 minutes of recordings per video.

Trigger contextual upgrade prompts to freemium users

While prompting users to upgrade to a premium plan, it’s important to keep your message tailored to their needs.

A good way to do this is through contextual prompts. This means providing upgrade prompts within the context of what the user is doing in your app.

As a rule of thumb, your prompts should target users who have demonstrated interest in specific features or reached certain thresholds.

Loom's contextual messages
Loom uses relevant messaging to encourage upgrades.

Good messaging is not salesy or annoying. Instead, it is helpful and encouraging. When you nail your timing and messaging, your upgrade offer becomes more convincing.

Show freemium users what they are missing out

Seize every opportunity to showcase the additional features and benefits of your premium plans.

You can generate excitement by creating a sense of exclusivity around your premium plans. By tapping into your users’ Fear of Missing Out (FOMO), you can raise your freemium conversion rates.

For example, after correcting basic errors in their free plan, Grammarly highlights additional mistakes and errors that a user can sort out if they had access to the premium version.

The Grammarly editor
Grammarly uses FOMO to drive freemium conversions.

Let users experience pro features for a short time

Yet another way to get users excited about the premium plan is by giving them a taste of the plan’s offering. You can give all users free access to the premium for a limited trial period, then downgrade them if they don’t wish to upgrade.

This strategy banks on the human desire to retain their slice of heaven at all costs. This is especially true if users are given enough time to truly get used to the premium offering.

Users who have gotten used to the premium experience will be unwilling to return to the bare minimum. Thus, this model nudges users to make a purchasing decision sooner.

Loom email
Loom encourages limited-time premium users to convert.

How to analyze conversion paths to identify conversion rate optimization opportunities

Identifying legitimate conversion rate optimization opportunities is a conscious process. It involves you paying attention to your different conversion paths and analyzing them to see if they work as expected.

Let us now consider a few ways of measuring the success of your conversion path.

Set up conversion events to see how customers progress

Create clear goals for your different user segments. For each segment, there should be a defined path to conversion and clarity on what defines success at each stage.

What constitutes a target conversion event (goal) may differ based on your identified user personas, industry, or conversion path.

Preparing for the different conversion events within your product and closely monitoring the data they provide, will grant you insights into users’ behavior along each conversion path.

Conversion goals
Track conversion events – Userpilot.

Compare how different conversion paths perform

Next, you need to track and analyze the performance of each conversion path. How many users are completing the required steps in the path? How many are converting at the different stages?

More importantly, though, you need to compare how users progress through the different conversion paths. What are the touchpoints for each path? What determines conversion in each path?

Essentially, you want to choose one of the starting points in your product and see how users progress from there. This comparison will make it easier to identify areas for improvement within each path.

Userpilot conversion path analysis
Conversion path analysis in Userpilot.

Identify drop-off rates of different conversion points

As you analyze the various conversion paths, look out for areas where users drop off and abandon the process. Try to identify the patterns or bottlenecks in these areas that hinder progress.

For instance, users who follow a path may drop off when they interact with a particular feature. A little investigation will tell you whether this is a bad UI issue with a simple fix or whether the feature doesn’t work as expected.

Identifying and fixing these friction points will optimize the conversion path for better success.

PS: In-depth funnel analysis at the click of a button will soon be available in Userpilot.

Userpilot funnel analysis
Coming soon – Funnel analysis in Userpilot.

Identify reasons behind customer churn with exit surveys

By the time a user decides to unsubscribe from your product, it’s often already too late. While you may not be able to save these users, though, you can learn from them.

Use churn surveys to identify the most common reasons why users abandon your product. Are there too many bugs? Is the product difficult to use? Do they prefer your competition?

Userpilot churn surveys
Learn why customers leave your product with churn surveys.

Fixing the issues you identify will improve the customer experience and, ultimately, improve your conversions.

Conclusion

There are many ingredients of any effective conversion path. An optimized path eliminates any friction, addresses your users’ needs, and satisfactorily demonstrates value.

Book a Userpilot demo today to learn of the many ways it helps you optimize your SaaS conversion paths for success.

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