What is the perfect trial length?
That is a tricky question to answer and near impossible to do so without knowing exactly what your SaaS is, your market, and the outcome that you deliver.
Sorry, thought I was going to give you the perfect trial length didn’t you?
I’m gonna do better. Let me know you what the best trial length for YOU is.
Here are the two types of situations you’ll likely find yourself in:
Situation one: You already have identified your ideal customer and you know the problem that you solve for them. In this case, for example, it would be something like “We help restaurants get more reviews.’’
Given they are focused solely on restaurants - they know the pain points around restaurants.
They understand who their customer is and their desired outcome. They know what they need to do within the trial period to get them to see the value in the product.
Situation two: You have a SaaS product that solves multiple problems for many different audiences. A good example of this would be a website builder.
You probably have 50 different niches and industries signing up. (Hopefully) You’re segmenting new sign-ups so you know who they are and the outcome they want.
Then it becomes a matter of looking at how long it takes for a user to see the true value of the product.
Nobody is going to convert because a trial is ending. Period.
No one is going to sign up just because the 14-day or 30-day trial is coming to an end.
If your user doesn't see the value in the product, having a scarcity element isn't going to impact conversions.
The question then becomes:
“How long does it take for a customer to get the value from the product, and what needs to happen during the trial for the customer to experience the value of the product to help them see that it can solve their problem?”
In my experience in working with 100’s of SaaS, we’ve found that the first few minutes after a user signs up are the most important moments in the signup process; which is why the onboarding is such a massive part of making sure that customers see the value.
The goal of the onboarding might be to show the user how quick and easy it will be to get reviews. If your product is more complex, it's a matter of educating users as quickly as possible to the value of your tool and showing them how they can reach their end goals.
The more complex your tool is, the more time it will take for users to see the true value of the product. That's why products higher in cost require demos and hands-on demonstrations because they solve so many problems that only a 1-1 sales process can address when it comes to their specific concerns and individual needs.
We look at the data using a user analytics tool, like Innertrends.com . We ask ourselves, “What are the common user actions that make it most likely they will convert into a paying user?”
We start by interviewing customers who have recently converted. We ask them questions to figure out what they saw or what was the “aha-moment” for them during the initial signup process that caused them to convert, and then we work backwards to see how many days or how much time is necessary for them to get to that outcome.
That way we can come to an estimated trial period. In the case of the restaurant; we review and evaluate their SaaS. It might take seven to ten days on average for the typical user to get their first review from a customer. That is when they see the value and are most likely to become a paying user.
Therefore, we don't want to make the trial anything less than ten days given the chances of them getting to their desired outcome during the seven days is much less.
We want to extend the trial to make sure they can get value from the product. Now, once you have an estimated trial length - based on the data - you can look at your trial length as a hypothetical lever and move it up and down to see what effects it has on conversions.
People are strange.
There is no one-answer-fits-all for how long a trial should be. Even if you have the exact same product as someone else you might have more success with a 15-day trial. They might have success with a 30-day trial.
It's all about adjusting your trial length to see what effect it has on conversions. Move the trial up to 30 days to see what happens. Then move it down even further to seven days and see what happens.
The trial length “dial” is just one dial among hundreds of dials that you can move in your SaaS.
As far as how important that dial is to your growth and revenue, I would say that it's lower on the importance level. What’s much more important than the LENGTH of the trial is how effective you are at getting your customers to see the value in the product.
Start collecting data. Start asking better questions. Let the data inform your decisions, then work your way backward from there. Make sure that during the first few golden minutes of the trial experience that the user either gets to see the value of the product quickly, or they become further educated on how the product can help them.
Turn the dial and see what happens. Don't be afraid of testing and making mistakes. There is no failure in this process, only experiments that tell you where to go.