How to Get More Leads into Your Free Trial – with Mark Colgan
In this episode of SaaS-Story in the Making, Matt Wolach and Mark Colgan talked about the importance of onboarding and making sure the most amount of website visitors start a trial. Colgan also shared his experiences on starting his podcast journey, what companies today are missing out on, and other things that can help B2B SaaS companies improve their onboarding process.
Colgan is a co-founder and CEO of Speak On Podcasts and an onboarding specialist that helps B2B SaaS companies convert visitors into users.
Podcast: SaaS-Story in the Making
Episode: Episode No. 191, “How to Get More Leads into Your Free Trial”
Host: Matt Wolach, a B2B SaaS sales coach, Entrepreneur, and Investor
Guest: Mark Colgan, co-founder, and CEO, of Speak On Podcasts
TOP TIPS FROM THIS EPISODE
Speak Up and Sell Yourself
It’s easy to say “put yourself out there,” but the actual process can be challenging. It can be difficult to find the right avenue, audience, and the things you’re about to say. But it’s always possible.
One of the most innovative ways to talk about your product is through a podcast—you can either start your own or be a guest in one. It is a platform for you to share your story and expertise with your audience. This kind of exposure not only boosts your brand awareness but also establishes credibility.
Before anything else, preparation is crucial. For your podcast to work, Colgan mentioned several points. First, identify your audience. It is equivalent to finding the right target market for your product. To do this, he suggests placing other podcasts and doing keyword matching. Through this, you are digging into what they want as it helps you distinguish this specific segment.
Another tip is, keep an eye on your competitors. Most likely, your target audience is currently catered by your competitors. And being able to pinpoint your prospect’s influences allows you to know this segment on a deeper level. Now that you already know what they like, you can serve them better and even provide the bits your competitors are missing out on.
Consider your Buyer’s Journey
There is a shift in consumers’ buying behavior, and it is centered on discovery. Most prospects like to research the product before the actual interaction with the brand. The product details, reviews, and other social proof will be scanned and most likely contribute to their decision-making process. This is why creating your brand’s value is essential.
Your company’s intention must also be defined. You may know all the necessary bits about how great your product is, but they have no idea. Making it clear upfront how your product can help them makes the process easier. Just as Colgan said, ”the company that has a very clear outcome… almost makes it feel like a no-brainer, and I have to at least see what it’s all about and start the free trial.”
First Impression Matters
Getting your prospects’ attention can be tricky. But once you get a hold of it, all you have to do is own the game. One of the initial steps in taking hold of their interest in providing a first-time user experience.
In sales, I perform a Sale Process Audit where I act like an actual prospect for my clients to take care of. This way I can identify where the leaks are in their sales process Colgan has his own version as well, the Onboarding Review. It is a short video on what a first-time user would see, feel, and experience while using the product. It serves as an overview of a first-time user so SaaS companies have a better feel for what their users go through.
Giving your prospects a first-hand experience sets the first impression of your product’s quality. In the sales process, it can be similar to Mystery Shopping. It’s about engaging your prospects in the experience even before they sign up. This increases the chance of conversion, as they have the opportunity to see if the product fits their needs. And to seize this opportunity, you should put everything that they must know about the product–everything that can be a solution to their problem.
Creating and delivering value to your prospects builds your credibility. One of the most effective ways to do this is through speaking on a podcast. Since SaaS companies need a lot of valuable content to increase attribution, podcasts create a great platform for brand awareness.
Podcasts serve as a platform for sharing your story and expertise in the field. Colgan shared how he used this to discuss common knowledge among the host and guest. Podcasts have a wider reach in terms of audience engagement, especially when the channel has been established. This is why being a guest in a program can help your brand be more visible. Colgan explains that pre-existing audiences in these channels will eventually want to hear more from you. And this establishes you as a brand that prospects can rely on.
Interview podcasts allow you to collaborate with experts in the field. And this creates more value for both of your brands. Having this connection encourages rapport and an opportunity to learn from each other. Hence, a partnership opportunity for you, a wider reach of brand awareness, and an increased rate of attribution.
Common Mistakes on Getting More Prospects to Sign Up
Getting prospects to sign up can be tricky. A lot of SaaS companies have a great brand awareness but there are still struggles with customer conversion. Colgan pinpointed some of these mistakes, and most of them are only found on the brand’s page.
First, brands may not have enough social proof displayed on their page. Testimonials can help with the value of a brand and establish its image. Seize the entirety of the web page and include social proof from your clients.
Another is an inconsistent call to action. The kind of attribution you want and its call to action should align. Make it clear where that button will directly lead your prospects. In connection with this, there should also be outcome-based copywriting. Because at the end of the day, they would not care how great the product is in terms of technicalities. What’s important is, its features and other offers can solve their problem.
When your prospects are in the discovery phase, most likely, they are comparing brands. Colgan emphasized that “if your competitors are showing pricing, you probably should show your pricing as well.” This may not always be the best way. But it allows better evaluation for your prospects and an increased chance of signing up on your brand.
Lastly, when they finally fill out that form, engage with them. When clients start their free trial, it’s time to get them into the product. And having conversations with them increases the chance of conversion by up to 40%. It’s important to let them know that they are talking to the actual people behind the brand. It also matters when it comes to welcome emails, avoid sending a no-reply one. Make sure that it comes from an actual person because prospects will likely engage right after it’s sent.
Reducing Sign Up Form Friction
Once your clients are on the signup form page, give them a reason to complete that form. It’s also important to reduce as much friction as you can.
Provide everything that they should know in that form– whether they will need a credit card or not, or the amount of information you need from them. You can also include social proof and other bits of information about the product. The key is to ensure the ease of use of this page, and that maximizes the chance of completing the form. And in the end, you should be segmenting your clients according to their goals. This can help you optimize your services and be able to direct your clients to what they exactly need.
[04:40] “People are looking and doing discovery before even reaching out to salespeople.”
[05:01] ”It’s not just about the interview and the recording like we’re doing now. It’s the relationship you can build with the host… establishing partnership opportunities with the podcast hosts that they’re speaking to. It’s just a great first step in a relationship.”
[09:02] “As a founder, you’ve got a unique position– you got two angles, automatically: domain expertise, and your story.”
[14:11] “If a full-blown free trial isn’t going to be possible, that’s fine. But give them the experience of signing up, at least getting a little bit started, if possible at all.”
[16:20] “When you’re the founder and you’re building your set, you know what the little icons mean– you know that you’re supposed to click over here. But a first-time user doesn’t have all of that bias, and familiarity with a product.”
[21:34] “The one that I get the most responsive support from, the one that’s easiest to use, the one that gets me to my aha moment as quickly as possible, is likely to be the one that I’m going to go with if the pricing is right.
[05:37] “It can be even more powerful to be a guest on a show than starting your own, especially if your own show is a guest type of show… In that situation, the guest comes on and shares about their expertise. And the conversation goes around what they know.”
[09:16] “Do not gate case studies. Those are some of the most powerful things in converting your prospects.”
To learn more about Mark Colgan and Speak On Podcasts, visit: https://www.markcolgan.co.uk/ & https://speakonpodcasts.com/.
For Product Onboarders, visit: https://www.theproductonboarders.com/.
You can also find Mark Colgan on LinkedIn at: https://pt.linkedin.com/in/markcolganmarketing.
For more about how host Matt Wolach helps software companies achieve maximum growth, visit https://mattwolach.com/.