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One Onboarding Process to Convert More Free to Paid Users

Updated: Sep 19, 2022

The marketing process doesn't end the moment a lead becomes a free user. Shortly after they click sign up and land in an unfamiliar dashboard, the process shifts to education and product mastery. Although product mastery may not be as exciting to marketers as targeting, prospecting, nurturing, and converting leads, it's critical to your program's overall success. Without product mastery, your free users will not upgrade for more services.

Three ways to encourage product mastery

I'm seeing three key tactics pushing free users to paid conversion lately:

  1. Free video course. A high-converting video course will walk new users step-by-step through your product — from introduction to the basics to advanced use cases. Make it a free course on YouTube or hide it behind a free trial / sign-up paywall. The important part is that users aren't left scratching their heads after they land in their dashboard for the first time.

  2. The remarkable "Pro" feature. You may have a ton of great Pro features. Some that take time to learn, and others that get users to first value, fast. If you aren't aware of what that high-value feature is, find it, and promote it to new users. Show them exactly how to use it so they can get the most from your product right away.

  3. Templates. I've seen 20% of free users upgrade because they found a template to meet their needs. Find the most popular use cases from your Product team and build one-click templates inexperienced users can install during onboard. Ask your product writer to place template upgrades throughout relevant blog content — from top to bottom-funnel — to capture high-intent traffic and encourage paid service conversions.

Seven steps to converting free users to paid accounts

It doesn't matter whether you run a Freemium pricing strategy or free trial accounts. In all cases, you will need a good onboarding process to convert these users.

  1. Sign up. Get leads to join your freemium or free trial program.

  2. Onboarding with a questionnaire. Before a free user gets to their dashboard, ask a series of questions to collect additional information, and understand their goals and needs. You can use a tool like Typeform or Google Sheets if you're on a budget. Or embed it during first engagement. Always require new users to fill out the questionnaire.

  3. Assign templates based on questionnaire answers. Once a new user fills out the survey, offer a template based on their goals and needs.

  4. Quick template install. Make the recommended template easy to install and get the user to first value quickly.

  5. Provide content for advanced learning. Whether it's a video course or suggested articles on your blog, give new users everything they need to master your product.

  6. Build with remarkable Pro feature. Remember that unique, amazing, extraordinary, never-been-done-before Pro feature we discussed before? Encourage users to build with it. Walk them through how to use it during an assisted setup and point it out in your templates.

  7. Upgrade. Monitor user behavior in-app to find relevant touchpoints to offer the upgrade. If you've given them the power to achieve what they want, they'll feel great about paying for your service. And will likely do so.

Got questions? Want to share your thoughts? Let's connect on Twitter.

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