How to Reduce Churn in SaaS During Free Trials: 5 Strategies

Knowing how to reduce churn in saas

It costs five times more to acquire new customers than to retain them. That’s a lot of time, resources, and money spent on drawing in trialists, just to have them leave during your free trial period. Understanding the tactics that will convert trial users to paying customers will improve your business profitability, increase growth, and reduce customer churn during free trials.


Focus on How to Reduce Churn in SaaS with Optimized Onboarding Flows

When it comes to trial conversion, user onboarding sets the tone for user experience and product value. It’s the key step for users to find the value in your platform and stay hooked.

What really moves the needle for trialists to convert to paying customers comes down to three factors. They must:

  • Experience the benefit, or the promised solution the platform provides to their problem.
  • Understand how to navigate a new platform.
  • Enjoy a positive user experience.


For example, imagine your platform promises easy task management lists. Users will opt into a trial to see how fast your platform organizes and manages their to-do lists. If your onboarding flow gets into the weeds of irrelevant and complicated features, users will miss out on the value and time-saving benefit your platform could provide.

When you understand that 86% of users agree they’re likely to stay loyal to businesses that invest in welcoming and educational onboarding content, it becomes clear that your onboarding flow and features you chose plays a big role to reduce SaaS customer churn.


Personalize onboarding flows to reach “aha” moments quickly.

A personalized onboarding experience means that the onboarding flow is relevant to the users’ needs, role and responsibility, and goals.

An onboarding flow is personalized when user data is used to alternate the onboarding flow to fasten the process to the “aha” moment.

The more relevant a user onboarding flow, the more likely users are to see the value of a platform and convert to paying customers. In fact, over 71% of consumers expect personalization, but even more shocking is that 76% get frustrated when there is no personalization. That’s because onboarding content is relevant to solving their challenge.

Ildefonso Prieto, Product Growth Consultant, says “Cut the bloat! Remove unnecessary steps, automate where possible, and simplify the rest. Make their journey lightning fast.

This framework delivers instant value. Users experience the power of your product right away, driving increased engagement and higher adoption. More wins for you, more wins for them!”

You can personalize the onboarding experience using a welcome survey to understand your user’s role, goal, and seniority. This allows for different triggers for customized onboarding flows depending on their needs.

In turn, the more relevant the user onboarding experience, the more likely to reduce user churn.


Introduce contextual support features.

Contextual onboarding is the term used to describe users that are self-learners and interact with “contextual” onboarding features. These features are usually hints or tooltips, because they provide users with additional information and help within the setting of a user.

The reason contextual support helps increase conversion rates boils down to two points:

  1. Support is a click away, which avoids frustration and misunderstanding, and
  2. Self-serve guidance leads to a 123% onboarding completion rate.


Users want to explore your solution on their own time, but that doesn’t mean they should be left in the dark.

Contextual onboarding gives users helpful nudges in the right direction, without being perceived as overbearing or intrusive to their self-learning process.


Lean into Data to Pinpoint Adoption Roadblocks

Reducing SaaS churn doesn’t solve itself by crossing your fingers and hoping your new CTA button converts users. It comes from understanding your users’ needs and feedback to improve your product and user experience.

And for that, you need relevant data. In fact, most successful teams use their data insights for problem discovery, validation, and solution generation.


Platform analytics identify points of adoption or churn.

Search your analytics to identify common drop and churn points during the free trial. Sometimes it comes down to complicated features, misunderstood actions, or lack of support.

By understanding where your users struggle, you can take the steps to improve your support and their experience.


Include NPS and feedback widgets for improvement.

Although data from analytics can tell part of the story, to get the full scoop you’ll need to get insights directly from your users to truly understand their struggles.

Net Promoter Score (NPS) and feedback widgets are helpful tools to capture the opinions and satisfaction of your users in the right moment. These tools will help you understand if your product satisfies their needs to a point they’d share it with others.

This insight will clarify if a feature might need additional resources, contextual help, or promotion.


Complement Free Trials with Helpful Content

Support free trials with valuable resources and information. This will empower users to make the most of their trial experience and understand the product’s full potential, for helping how to reduce churn in SaaS.


Organize webinars for FAQs, stories, and engagement.

Webinars are helpful communication tools to address frequently asked questions, share success stories, and build engagement with trialists.

Through live or pre-recorded webinars, businesses can provide in-depth explanations, demonstrations, and real-life use cases of the product. This interactive format allows trialists to ask questions and receive immediate responses that deepen their understanding of how the product can solve specific challenges.


Send out use case best practices and tips by email.

Email communication has the advantage of delivering targeted content directly to trialists’ inboxes.

By sending out regular emails during the trial period, businesses can provide use cases, tips, and best practices to help trialists maximize their experience. By delivering valuable content in a digestible format, businesses can keep trialists engaged, informed, and motivated to explore the product further.


Set Up Integrations Immediately

Setting up integrations immediately during the free trial period is a crucial step in reducing SaaS churn rate and enhancing the user experience. This is because integrations allow users to connect the product with other tools or platforms they already use, which enables a seamless workflow and maximizes the product’s capabilities.

It’s important for the integration setup to be easy to integrate and eliminate any technical barriers that can cause friction. It’s good practice to include toggles to opt into or out of integrations.


Remind Users of their Achievements

During the free trial period, it’s crucial to remind users of their achievements to keep them engaged and motivated. Recognize and celebrate user progress on how to reduce churn in SaaS by creating a sense of accomplishment and reinforcing the value they have gained from the product.

Studies in psychology have shown that rewarding achievements through gamification can satisfy reuse intention, which increases the likelihood of conversion.


Award users on goals achieved.

Award users based on the goals accomplished during the trial period to motivate repeat platform behaviors.

For example, if the product helps users save time or avoid specific problems, businesses can track and quantify these achievements, and share them as trophies or awards.

Personalized notifications or badges highlight the time saved or problems avoided and help reinforce the value proposition and positive impact the product has had on their lives.

This recognition not only boosts user satisfaction but also increases the likelihood of conversion by emphasizing the tangible benefits they have experienced.

how to reduce churn in saas with gamification


Introduce gamification to show users their progress.

Gamification is a powerful technique that can be employed to engage users and show them their progress during the free trial period.

By incorporating game-like elements such as progress bars, levels, or points systems, businesses can visually represent users’ advancement and accomplishments.

This gamified approach provides a sense of challenge, competition, and achievement, which makes the trial period more enjoyable and motivating for users. In turn, reduces churn by maintaining user interest and motivation throughout the trial period.


User Experience Ultimately Decides Their Fate: Churn or Convert

User experience is the key to reducing SaaS churn.

A smooth, easy-to-navigate interface with all the benefits upfront makes users feel like they’ve struck gold, nudging them towards upgrading.

But if the trial feels complicated, long, or irrelevant, users will start to doubt whether paying for your product is worth it.

A positive experience keeps users hooked, making them want to stick around and explore more. Plus, when users know they can count on quick help and support, it makes the whole journey feel more secure.

That high-quality user experience can be the biggest differentiator between you and your competitors.

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Author Profile
Tamryn Mounier
Tamryn Mounier
Tamryn Mounier is a B2B marketing specialist who specializes in tech and SaaS. She's worked with successful companies in Silicon Valley, to fast-growing start-ups and everything in between. Her curiosity for technology and business growth fuels her desire to share knowledge with others.