If you're a SaaS product owner, you know that it's important to give your users as much value as possible in the free trial.

After all, before you can get them to buy your product, you need to convince them that it's worth using.

And how do you do that? You show them what it can do for them.

But how do you get people to sign up for your free trial in the first place? What secrets lie behind getting those extra sign-ups?

There are quite a few things you can do to build up your sign-up rate, but we'll show you the most straightforward methods here:

Choose the right free trial period

It's been shown that a free trial period is a powerful tool for increasing sign-ups and gathering leads. However, it's essential to keep in mind that the effectiveness of your free trial depends on how long it is.

The best free trial period allows users enough time to learn about your product, see its value, and start using it. This means they need time to be trained and educated on the product, answer questions they have, and hopefully get positive results from using the product.

On the other hand, if you make your free trial period too long, you risk losing users' interest or attention. Longer isn't always better; there’s such a thing as a "too-long" free trial period. Users may forget about your product or simply lose momentum during longer trials because they don’t find value immediately or become distracted by other things going on in their life (for example, work deadlines).

Don't ask for payment details upfront

While collecting payment details during the sign-up process might make sense, asking for payment details upfront can be a barrier if you aren't ready to convert that user into a customer right away. It's crucial to consider the balance between having better guarantees and conversions vs. having fewer free trial sign-ups. Asking for payment details upfront can help you have your cake and eat it, too: better conversion rates combined with a large number of free trial users.

The SaaS world has started to move away from requiring credit cards before signing up for trials, reducing this barrier. Now, many SaaS companies simply create an account for their customers without collecting any money until after the trial is over. This means more people sign up and use their products without dropping off at the first hurdle—the payment form.

Let users know what they'll get

People don't want to make hard decisions when it comes to software products. All they want is to download a trial version and try it out themselves. According to data from the tech industry research firm Nucleus Research, “Sixty-five percent of people prefer free trials over pre-sales demos with salespeople.”

If you're not using a free trial for your SaaS product, you're missing an opportunity to convert potential customers. And if you do offer a free trial but aren't getting as many sign-ups as you'd like, consider these methods for improving your results:

  • Speak directly to your site's audience by letting them know what they'll get in the free trial and how that can help their business.
  • Give them details about features and provide examples so they can see how it could work for them.
  • Have reviews and testimonials from other people who tried it out on display on your page (but make sure they are real!)
  • Provide a video overview or live demo of how the product works so they can see it in action before downloading anything. If possible, show them how it compares with other similar products in its category that are less good than yours (but remember: never badmouth competitors).

Make sure your sign-up form is simple

Once you've implemented user research, it's time to revisit your sign-up form. Make sure it's as simple as possible by only requesting the information you actually need. Use drop-down menus where appropriate and checkboxes for any binary questions. Also, make sure each field is large and easy to use.

If you're using JavaScript, consider implementing inline validation so users can correct errors as they go instead of making them submit the form first and receive a list of errors. The more friction you can remove from your sign-up process, the better!

Finally, show progress bars, so visitors know how far along the sign-up process and what's left to do before they gain access to your SaaS product. This can help them feel more confident in their decision to give your product a try.

Explain the benefits of upgrading

Once you've hooked your customers with a free trial, you'll have to show them exactly how much better the upgraded version of your product is. What do they stand to gain by upgrading? What do they stand to lose by not upgrading?

Asking these questions will help you design an upgrade page that describes the benefits of the paid version compared to your free trial, free plan, freemium offering, and/or free version. For example:

  • Your upgraded plan has more spaces than our free plan (they can now track 10 spaces instead of 5).
  • As a paying customer, you get access to advanced email analytics (you can measure how well your emails perform with different subject lines).
  • You get full access to our API when you upgrade (you can now integrate us into any project or workflow).

Optimize your CTA copy

Make sure your CTA copy is action-oriented.

For example, if you have a button that says "Register now," change it to "Get started". If you have text links that say “Sign up” or “Subscribe”, change them to “Start my free trial” or something more dynamic like "Try it free through July."

The text of the link should be short and sweet, be clear and concise about what it offers, and emphasize the benefits of a free trial. People want to see what they will get out of signing up for this new product; make sure those benefits are front and center. You can also include a secondary call to action in text messaging or as an alternative placement for links.

Finally, make sure the copy is placed above the fold where anyone who visits your website will easily see it—this way people won't miss out on an opportunity to sign up for a free trial just because they didn't scroll down far enough!

Use a high-converting button design

  • Make your buttons a contrasting color from the rest of the page. This will make them stand out, and it ensures that all visitors will notice your CTAs, even if they're only looking at part of the page.
  • Use an arrow to indicate a clickable button image. Don't forget to add an arrow or some kind of directional cue in the form of an image, icon, or text ("click here" is still an okay CTA as long as your copywriting is good).
  • Use action verbs in your button text. Your main goal should be to convey that something happens when someone clicks on this button. Some ideas for action words include "learn," "start," "begin," and "download."
  • Keep your buttons big—bigger than you think they should be! The larger your CTA buttons are, the more likely users are to notice and click them.

By simply implementing these SaaS landing page optimization tips, you can increase your trial sign-ups and have a better return on investment.

Any SaaS product that offers a free trial will outperform those without a free trial. Why? Because there are more users to collect data from and more potential customers to turn into paying customers. But you already knew that, right?