Optimize the free trial signups

Business Benefits

Improve the quantity or quality of sales leads coming from free trial signups.


Measure the step-by-step conversion rate in the signup funnel to understand how the entire process is working, and where the opportunities exist for step-level improvements.

Use a tool like Mixpanel to capture the data for the various signup funnel steps.

Gather on-page feedback about where each visitor clicks, how much they scroll, where the mouse pauses, how much effort appears to go into completing forms, whether they struggle to find where to click.

Use a tool like Inspectlet to capture data like session recording, click maps, attention maps, and scroll maps, on how visitors interact with the signup pages.

Invite visitors to provide feedback about the sign-up process immediately after they complete the funnel.

Use a tool like Intercom to acquire direct, qualitative feedback from visitors who just completed the funnel. Keep in mind that by doing so, you’re only getting feedback from people who are successful, so it’s somewhat self selecting. Also, you’re taking a risk that by asking people for feedback, you’re interrupting their desired goal.

For the entire process and for each step within, develop hypotheses about problems in the UI that are hindering people’s progress toward their goal.

One study suggests that free trial signups were more successful when credit card information was not required, 10% of signups versus 2%. Yet the same study found that 50% of people who enter a credit card in the free trial stage will convert to paying customers versus 15% when it’s not required.

In another case study, Expedia removed just one field from its purchase form that was causing confusion, and therefore drop off, and that small change resulted in an extra $12M in profit year-over-year.

There’s no right or wrong answer. The key is testing to find what works.

A workaround is to offer the option of social logins, like sign in using networks such as Facebook, Google, or LinkedIn, and thereby skipping form friction for some users altogether. Your goal is to strike a balance between minimizing friction and collecting enough data to use later in customizing communications and tracking the conversion process.

Here are a few more tactics to consider in the plight to increase conversion after signup:

  • Live chat. A form of active support, live chat opens the doors to increase questions, which furthers engagement. The focus should be on helpfulness, not sales.
  • Tutorials and FAQs. Onboarding tools make on-screen tutorials possible, while clever FAQs can answer questions and reduce hesitations.
  • Extended trials. Certain, qualified clients just need that little extra. Look for customers who have actively used your SaaS during trial and are nearing the end, to measure purchase intention and see if they’d like to explore the product more.

Work with a designer and copywriter to take what’s been learned and any theories about what needed to be addressed, and turn them into new designs.

Draw a clear line between every design change and the data to which it’s targeted. Measure any additional design ideas against what you learned during the data gathering process.

Rank the design fixes based on impact and effort required.

If your time and resources are limited, you want to be thoughtful about which changes to implement.

Build, test, and roll out new designs quickly to keep momentum going.

If you want a simple before and after comparison, turn off advertising campaigns well before the test begins, and keep them off during the test period.