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The art of converting free trials to full customers

No matter the size of your organisation, it’s likely you’ve been affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. The ongoing global pandemic has changed consumer spending priorities and habits overnight.

Sales leaders need to adjust how their organisations sell in the face of adversity. Those that are successful are already navigating the crisis, focusing on how to make targeted changes that help their businesses weather the storm.

No one is denying the COVID-19 crisis has created unprecedented uncertainty, but it’s vital that companies figure out how to protect and increase revenue—not just contain or cut back.

If your business centres around subscription-based software, the chances are you rely on free trials to persuade potential customers of your value proposition and the benefits your software can bring to the table.

If the sign-up rate for your product’s free trial is high, then you’re doing something right. It’s a great sign if people are willing to take the time and give up some information to try out your software for a few weeks.

So, we can all agree, getting customers to commit to the trial isn’t the hard part. The real challenge is convincing prospects to sign up for the solution post-trial period. But what happens when your audience signs up for a trial, only to never become paying subscribers? And how do you covert free trials into cold hard cash?

Highlight received benefits

One successful tactic is showing a summary of the benefits the user has received from the product. For example, if they were using a product that helped their business, what key results can you share with them that they could not live without if they didn’t use your product? Try to incorporate tangible results.

The last call

An appropriately worded and timely delivered end-of-trial email is your last chance of steering your customer into a conversion. Believe it or not, one of the simplest tricks is to just ask customers to upgrade.

This seems basic right? But lots of businesses don’t do it and fail to convert trial sign-ups to customers. You should guide your customer and let them know what’s the next step. A quick reminder email that explains the process makes a huge difference.

Appreciation goes a long way

Providing trial customers with an irresistible offer for an extended period not only creates urgency and action but also acts as a thank you. This promotional activity can increase customer engagement with your product and keep them coming back for more.

Where possible try to avoid price cuts as it will impact the business now and, in the future, instead, offer price alternatives. Adjusting your pricing model to reflect usage, or amending pricing terms for certain clients, may help during this period. This may be an extended license, higher-level premium features, or a free support contract, something that sweetens the deal, (we’ve added a handy guide to Accelerate called, ‘How to convert free trials to full customers’ for more tips on making your own trials a success).

Some may need an extra little push to sign up and upfront discounts can help more price-sensitive users get onboard. When offering a discount, make it for a limited time and remind them of the full value of your service.

Hassle-free transitions

Just how easy is it for your trial users to convert to subscribers? Do they have to spend time searching for how to upgrade, or is it easy to figure out?

Even the happiest and most engaged users will not take that final step if the process seems difficult or even impossible, removing conversion friction is essential.

Offer a smooth transition from free trial to a premium plan by adding a call-to-action on the dashboard that trial users can see each time they log in. This is a great reminder to your users that they can upgrade and choose the plan that suits them best.

Re-engage users who didn’t convert


  • Shorten trial periods and offer generous extensions

For some companies, a 30-day trial is too long, try shortening your trial period. This technique drives consumer engagement, the less time available the more proactive the user. This also benefits your bottom line by lowering your cost of acquisition.

You can always provide users who need more time to evaluate your product with extensions. Don’t just give your extension away, remember to remind your users that with the paid version of your product they can do so much more.

  • Extend your drip email strategy beyond the trial period

Customers aren’t necessarily ready to make the purchase right now but that doesn’t mean they won’t buy your product in the future. You want to keep in touch with former users without blasting out spammy emails.

Ask for feedback

Not converting a trial user to a paid user during a trial is unfortunate but it also provides an opportunity to reach out and ask the question why. You can then address their reservations in a more personalised way, making them more likely to convert to a paid user.

Your free trial is one of the most important tools in your SaaS sales toolkit. It allows you to provide value to buyers before they spend a penny and implicitly sell value over price.

Keep looking for ways to fine-tune it.

The art of converting free trials to full customers webcast

For more information relating to this topic, Gamma has created a webcast that delivers in-depth strategies you can adopt for your best chance of retention, new programmes, and initiatives to support, as well as real-world examples to demonstrate success.

Enter the webcast: The Art of Converting Free Trials to Full Customers

Don’t forget to make use of the resources available to you

To help get you started with your own trials we have created a guide, ‘How to convert free trials to full customers’ which can be accessed via the Gamma portal >> Help & Support >> Gamma Accelerate >> Collateral and search ‘How to convert free trials to full customers.’

Every Gamma Channel Partner has free access to Accelerate, our online partner marketing portal; a simple and secure platform that’s designed to make it easy for you to customise white-label marketing material, generate new leads, and engage with prospects and customers.

To access Accelerate go to the Gamma Portal >> Help and Support >> Gamma Accelerate

Need help getting started with Accelerate? Get in touch