32.7% Increase in Trial-to-Paid Customer Conversion Rate – Here's What We Did

Oliver Bridge

Working in the SaaS industry, here at Bonjoro we face the same kinds of issues as most of our clients.

  • How do we convert more trials into paying customers?
  • How do we make sure those customers stick with us long-term?
  • And, how do we make all our processes for this systematic and scalable?

Our team is constantly searching for tools and strategies to reach our growth goals and increase our customer engagement.

But one solution we've always been able to depend on is dog-fooding our own product.

In this article I wanted to share with you exactly how using our own product helped us go from relative obscurity in 2017 to one of Australia's fastest growing startups.

I'll talk you through exactly how we use video to convert more trials, increase activation, and get more customers upgrading to higher plans.

Ready? Let's go!

Our plan: get more conversions and upgrades

At Bonjoro we welcome every new customer that signs up to our service with a personalized onboarding video.

This is sort of our thing right? But let me break down what this really means.

To send our videos at the perfect moment, we integrate Bonjoro with our Intercom account.

Then, when a new user (trial) gets added to our Intercom account, they get added into our Bonjoro tasklist instantly, and one of our Customer Success the team can record them a welcome video using our web or mobile app to record the video.

Cool right? But here's the kicker...

Bonjoro has a unique feature when it comes to video, called Custom Attributes.

This means that along with each user, we pull across specific information about each contact from our Intercom account.

This means we can go super personal and relevant with each message, and tailor it to where they are in their journey, and how they are getting along with their trial.

This picture gives you an idea of what this looks like inside the app when we're recording our videos.

Let's say they haven't yet sent any videos, we can use our personalized welcome video to share useful tips and motivate them to get going.

Or, say, they haven't connected up Bonjoro to their other tools, we can talk to them about the power of our integrations.

It's such a game-changer, because it means each customer is not just part of some automated onboarding. They get personal messages with information exactly relevant to them.

Bonjoro integrates with loads of CRMs and ESPs used by SaaS companies like ActiveCampaign and Intercom, so you could do exactly the same thing here.

The aim of our personalized onboarding approach is as follows:

  • Show customers that we value their time, and are here to help them. Let's call this BRAND.
  • Increase # of trials who reach that "aha moment!" during their trial and upgrade to a paid plan. This is all about CONVERSION.
  • Reduce the number of customers who churn because they didn't get set up properly in the first place. This one is RETENTION.

Our strategy: relevancy and Call-to-Actions (CTAs)

OK, so this is all good.

But you might be asking:

  • Do we send these videos to everyone?
  • What do we say in each video to get the best results?
  • What action do we ask them to take?

Well, this is where it gets really cool. We segment our customers, and send different videos dependant on who they are, and what steps they've taken so far.

We create message templates for each type of video that we send. A message template links together our video email, with a customised landing page that contains our video and call-to-action.

We have tested TONS of different approaches here (see the GIF below showing some of the Message Templates in our account that we're testing), but let me share our current strategy.

Right now, we use two different CTAs dependant on whether the new trial user is a marketing qualified lead (MQL) or not.

  • For our MQLs we invite them to book a 1:1 demo with us, where one of our team gets to personally show them around the product, and make sure they are setup to convert. For these videos (like the one below) we link the CTA to our Calendly booking link that books a slot with one of our Customer Success team.
  • For any leads that are not MQLs, we have a slightly different approach. We send a video just like this one (click the image to watch it), where we give them some hints and tips, then share a link to a "Getting Started" doc that guides them on all the steps they need to take to succeed with Bonjoro.

This personalized approach to customer onboarding helps us give every new lead a great experience, and ensures we convert as many trials as possible. Plus, segmenting the demo invites to just MQLs means we don't get swamped with too many 1:1 demos with leads who are less likely to convert.

Activation hack: "Credit Card Added" videos

But wait, there's more!

We also do something super valuable, that we haven't seen any other SaaS CS team do. And it's this:

We send a personal video to any trial user who enters their credit card, but hasn't had a demo yet.

"But why?" I hear you ask.

This one is key, and I'll share some results from our A/B test around this in a moment.

Think about what happens when a new user enters their card, but hasn't set up their account properly. They're a major churn candidate right?

So, this is all about reducing the risk of new customers churning early in their journey with your business. We've all done it:

  • Got super excited about a new SaaS product.
  • Used it a fair bit in that first month.
  • Popped our card when we hit an upgrade trigger.
  • Then cancelled due just a few weeks later!

This strategy helps you not only forge a real, human connection with paid customers, but crucially lets you deepen their activation level with our product, so they figure out all your features and stick around way longer.

Psychology hack 🔥: giving users fallback options

But, what about users who don't like jumping on calls? Some people are too shy or time-poor right? We're all super busy and sort of overloaded with Zoom calls at the moment.

Here's what we do, and you should try too.

On our videos to MQLs and paid customers, when we offer them a demo call, we also do something else:

We offer them a fallback option.

We say that if they don’t want a call we will happily record a personalized walkthrough that they can watch in their own time. See the image below:

Tons of people take us up on this, and it creates yet another chance for us to boost retention rates, and turn that customer into a long-term super-fan of our product.

Our split test results 📈

Last year, we tested our personalized approach against a control group of new trials who only received our automated email onboarding flow.

We expected this to show a boost in free trial conversion rates and upgrades but we were taken by surprise by the level of improvements we got.

Here’s what our process shared above achieved vs. our control group:

  • Increased our trial conversion rates by 32.7%
  • Improved our upgrade rate by 307%, and
  • Reduced churn by 37%.

Not too shabby, right? Increased conversions, AND stronger relationships with our customers.

And hey, it's not just us winning with this approach.

These tactics have worked for other SaaS customers using Bonjoro videos in their trial flows, like YourVone who increased by MRR from $20k to $50k in just a few months, or CXL who increased trial conversions by 18%.

Why did this work?

These results served as a confirmation of something we passionately advocate: building real relationships with customers based on value and honesty brings results.

We used this experiment to double down on this notion and we became even more convinced that Bonjoro is a service that can help businesses around the world do the same thing we did.

There are numerous studies that all point to the effect of personalization. For example, one study found that people find it annoying when their shopping experience isn’t personal. Another study found that 91% of customers are more likely to buy from brands that offer personalized experiences.

It’s clear that many businesses found great success when implementing personalization. Around 80% of businesses report an uplift when investing in personalization techniques.

Users also prefer video content on almost all channels, in almost all countries, on almost all devices. It’s especially popular among younger demographics.

All of this showed us that personalized videos are the way forward and that our mission to bring that service to other businesses is on the right track.

Key takeaways: our tips for getting results with personalized video

Finally, we took some of the most important lessons we learned in our journey and made them into this list of tips. You don’t have to blindly follow them but we believe they will open your eyes to some things because the same happened to us.

  • Start as soon as possible. The more you sit around waiting for your customer conversion rates to start rising, the more you’re missing out. Start thinking about how you can incorporate personalized video into your acquisition strategy in different stages of the funnel.
  • You don’t have to go for expensive production. It might be tempting to splash the cash on expensive formats and hire a production crew to create professional videos but there is no need for that. Our experience showed us that hand-made, honest videos can achieve awesome results.
  • Make it relevant. It’s not enough to just use your customers’ first names in your videos. For a truly personalized experience, you need to know where each customer is in their journey, and show them they path to success. This approach will be a breath of fresh air in today’s saturated market where every brand is trying to compete for attention.
  • Treat existing customers with respect and attention. Your key goal may be to convert trials into customers but your existing customers deserve the same amount of attention. Retaining loyal customers is much more profitable than acquiring new ones

Boost your own trial conversions with personalized video

I hope you enjoyed this deep dive on our approach here at Bonjoro.

Now it's your turn.

If you like what we did and would like to try it, register for a free trial of Bonjoro and we’ll hit you up with a personal welcome – as we do with all of our clients ;)

Growth tips
About the author
Oliver Bridge
Growth Grizzly
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