Users getting stuck on the free plan?
Often you’ve reached product market fit and have users from your ICP consistently signing up to the self-serve version of your product. The challenge is when these users end up staying on the free version (even though they would benefit from paid packages) or become inactive or churn altogether.
How do you ensure that free users get to value quickly and stick around longer?
The 'Treasure Hunt' Framework
A carefully curated onboarding experience can improve conversion by helping users get to value faster. Make sure you are solving for their specific pain points with the creation of targeted guides for each segment.
Try this Playbook
What you'll need:
- A self-serve freemium product
- An outline of your onboarding steps
- A CDP or Data Warehouse with product usage events
- A tool like Appcues to build onboarding guides without code
#1 Ask questions that will allow you to find out "what the treasure is?"
Let’s first define “treasure” in this context. Treasure is simply your users’ goals for your product based on their segment.
Ask questions that will allow you to find out what the “treasure” is. A simple in-app survey early in the process will allow users to self-segment. A question like “What is your primary goal for signing up with our tools today?” will help you create highly-targeted messaging, quickly adding value and squashing churn.
#2 Create a simple but effective treasure hunt
Make the “treasure hunt” as simple as possible. First, take a look at your product to see where tooltips can be added to “empty states”— product fields that are empty before a user adds their data to them. Take a moment to include some information describing what they can do in these states, what they can achieve by using these fields, and what they need to do to start entering information.
One tip is to set up different tours to align with different user goals. So, if a user answers your in-app survey saying that they’re most interested in using your tool to send a marketing email, you can drop them into that onboarding flow, with a tour to match.
Similarly, it’s OK to have different “levels” for tours which build upon each other and introduce the user to more and more value as they spend time with your product.
#3 Segment users by their goals
Although this playbook is targeting self-serve free users (which can be considered a type of segmentation) it’s best to break it down even further based on their goals for the product.
For example, Appcues has several types of customer segments:
- Developers that prefer to explore on their own
- Everyone else who are more likely to walk through a product tour
These two sets of people can both come in from self-serve. Ramli says that’s why segmenting early on is very important. It should be product based leveraging user feedback on what they hope to achieve.
You can also set up segments based on your goals, whether it’s to improve activation, upsell, or convert from free to paid — those three business goals represent different onboarding journeys.
#4 Create guides aligned to goals
Create your guides ensuring that users have the resources within the product and outside of the product to get value. Guides can be in the product (like the tooltips) or in the documentation,and they can also leverage a human-assisted approach (sales outreach).
#5 Define triggers for intervention
Define product signals for your team that either trigger an automated intervention or a human touch point to optimize conversions.
Ramli highlights two key moments that are primed for sales to intervene:
2. Moments of celebration: These are also super important when moving someone along the buyer’s journey. In Ramli’s experience, those are very critical moments for sales to intervene and say “congratulations, you just did this thing… Make sure you’re on the right path, here’s some resources, happy to set up a call.” It’s the perfect opportunity to sell your product, because your user has already gotten value, you know what that value is, and you can nail your messaging and timing.
Frustration and celebration are triggered by the presence or absence of user activity within the product. Signals like repetition of a particular activity, usage of certain features, or a lack of engagement can be helpful. It’s important to use this product data to enrich conversations and not just depend on the user profile.
Ramli says it’s all about first proving the value — sales should be there (like a sales-assist motion) helping users achieve their goal.The payment conversation comes next.