Converting Trial & Freemium Users: Keep Selling Post-Trial

Lead nurturing programs designed to convert trial users tend to focus, as they should, on the very front end of the trial period, when it’s critical to make sure the user is fully engaged with the product being tested. However, that doesn’t mean that your nurturing program should end just because the trial period expired and you didn’t get the sale.

When our agency works with open source, freemium, and cloud software companies we normally recommend those clients extend their lead nurturing programs to include at least one or two emails after the expiration date – say, a week later and then two weeks after that. Maybe the prospect just hasn’t got around to placing the order, and that final email could be the reminder he or she needed. Another option is to send a brief survey as the final communication asking why he/she didn’t buy. Depending on the response you get (particularly if the response is: “I just haven’t had the time”), you can trigger a follow-up call from inside sales.

Speaking of which, should you integrate telemarketing into your free trial nurturing strategy? The answer depends on whether you can prove telemarketing makes enough of a difference. Calling prospects will almost always increase conversion rates; the only question is whether the increased return outweighs the cost of that manpower. Consider a test: take a month’s trials, call half of them, then evaluate the ROI based on incremental revenue vs. the increased cost of sale.

Many software companies generate enough of a volume of trial or freemium downloads – tens of thousands per month or more, in some cases – to where telemarketing just isn’t practical on a broad scale. However, with a marketing automation system in place, those same companies can still integrate telemarketing based on specific demographic or behavioral criteria. For example, a company could choose to trigger follow up calls to only those trial users who haven’t purchased yet but who opened at least one follow-up e-mail, or visited a key Web page, or indicated a company size of more than 100 employees, or whatever other criteria makes them worthy of additional effort. This is an effective way to increase trial conversion rates yet stil avoid sending reps leads that don’t merit the effort.

Adapted from the white paper: “Closing the Deal: 7 Tips for Converting More Free Trials to Paying Customers

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