How To Get More Free Trial Sign-Ups in a SaaS Product

Is your SaaS product struggling to attract free trial sign-ups? Get ready to level up your game with these expert strategies and tactics.

How To Get More Free Trial Sign-Ups in a SaaS Product
Photo by Andrew Wulf / Unsplash

Are you struggling to get more free trial sign-ups for your SaaS product? You're not alone. As a SaaS founder, one of the biggest challenges you face is getting potential customers to try your product. In a world where users have endless options and limited attention spans, it can be tough to stand out and convince people to give your product a chance.

That's where this guide comes in. In this comprehensive post, we'll dive into the strategies and tactics you can use to increase free trial sign-ups for your SaaS product. From understanding your target audience to optimizing your landing page to using A/B testing to track and analyze your funnel, we'll cover everything you need to know to take your free trial sign-up game to the next level.

So whether you're a new SaaS founder looking to increase sign-ups for your MVP or an established SaaS business looking to optimize your conversion rates, this guide is for you. Let's get started.

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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. Remember that your free trial's effectiveness 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. 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 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!

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 try your product.

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 integrations than our free plan (you can now integrate 10 apps instead of 1).
  • 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 "Register now" button, 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 from signing up for this new product; ensure 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.

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 ensure 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 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 conveying that something happens when someone clicks 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?


1. What are some effective strategies to promote free trial sign-ups in a SaaS product?

There are several effective strategies that you can use to promote free trial sign-ups in a SaaS product, including:

  • Creating a compelling value proposition: Clearly articulate what your product does, why it is valuable to your target audience, and how it solves their problems. Make sure your messaging is concise, persuasive, and easy to understand.
  • Offering a free trial: A free trial is an excellent way to let potential customers experience your product's value before committing to a purchase. Make sure to offer a long enough trial period for users to fully explore your product's features and benefits.
  • Optimizing your website: Your website is your digital storefront. Make sure it is well-designed, easy to navigate, and optimized for conversions. Use persuasive copy, high-quality visuals, and clear calls-to-action to encourage visitors to sign up for your free trial.
  • Leveraging social proof: People tend to trust the opinions of others, especially when making purchasing decisions. Use customer testimonials, case studies, and social media reviews to show potential customers how others have benefited from your product.
  • Running targeted ads: Paid advertising can be an effective way to drive traffic to your website and increase sign-ups. Make sure to target your ads to your ideal customer persona and use compelling ad copy and visuals to capture their attention.

2. How can I improve my website's landing page to encourage more free trial sign-ups?

Your website's landing page is critical to converting visitors into free trial sign-ups. Here are some tips to improve your landing page:

  • Focus on the benefits: Make sure your landing page highlights the benefits of your product and how it solves your target audience's pain points. Use persuasive copy and visuals to help visitors envision themselves using your product.
  • Keep it simple: Avoid cluttering your landing page with too much information or too many calls-to-action. Keep it simple, clean, and easy to navigate.
  • Optimize for conversions: Use persuasive copy, clear calls-to-action, and a simple sign-up form to encourage visitors to take action. Make sure your sign-up form is easy to find and fill out.
  • Include social proof: Use customer testimonials, case studies, and social media reviews to show potential customers how others have benefited from your product. This can help build trust and increase sign-ups.
  • Use high-quality visuals: Use high-quality visuals, such as product screenshots, videos, and infographics, to help visitors visualize your product's value and benefits.

3. What is the ideal length of a free trial period for a SaaS product?

The ideal length of a free trial period for a SaaS product depends on several factors, including the complexity of your product and the needs of your target audience. Generally, free trial periods range from 7 to 30 days. However, some SaaS products offer longer trial periods of up to 60 days or more. The key is to offer enough time for users to fully explore your product's features and benefits and decide if it meets their needs.

4. Should I require users to enter their credit card information to sign up for a free trial?

Requiring users to enter their credit card information to sign up for a free trial can be a controversial issue. Some argue that it is a necessary step to prevent abuse of the free trial system and ensure that only serious prospects sign up. Others believe that it creates unnecessary friction and can deter potential users from signing up. Ultimately, the decision depends on your business model and the type of product you offer.

If your product is a high-end enterprise software that requires a significant investment, requiring credit card information may make sense. However, for more consumer-oriented products or lower-cost SaaS solutions, requiring credit card information can be a barrier to sign-ups.

One possible compromise is to offer a free trial without requiring credit card information, but require it when the user decides to upgrade to a paid subscription. This approach allows users to experience the value of your product before committing to a purchase, while also ensuring that only serious prospects convert to paid subscribers.

5. How can I use email marketing to increase the number of free trial sign-ups?

Email marketing can be a powerful tool to increase the number of free trial sign-ups for your SaaS product. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your email campaigns:

  • Build a targeted email list: Segment your email list based on demographics, behavior, and interests to ensure that your messaging is tailored to your audience's needs and preferences.
  • Craft compelling subject lines: Use attention-grabbing subject lines that pique your audience's interest and encourage them to open your email.
  • Use persuasive copy: Craft persuasive copy that clearly communicates the value of your product and the benefits of signing up for a free trial.
  • Include clear calls-to-action: Use clear calls-to-action that direct recipients to your landing page or sign-up form. Make sure the process is straightforward and easy to follow.
  • Send follow-up emails: Send follow-up emails to remind recipients about your free trial offer and encourage them to sign up before the trial period ends.
  • Use automation: Use email automation tools to send targeted emails based on user behavior, such as abandoned cart reminders, personalized recommendations, or welcome sequences.

6. What is the role of social media in promoting free trial sign-ups?

Social media can be a powerful tool to promote free trial sign-ups for your SaaS product. Here are some ways to leverage social media to increase sign-ups:

  • Build a strong social media presence: Build a strong presence on social media platforms that are relevant to your target audience. Share valuable content, engage with your followers, and establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry.
  • Use paid advertising: Use paid advertising on social media platforms to drive traffic to your website and increase sign-ups. Use compelling visuals and copy that align with your audience's interests and preferences.
  • Run social media contests: Run social media contests that encourage users to sign up for your free trial in exchange for a chance to win a prize. This can help increase engagement and build buzz around your product.
  • Leverage user-generated content: Encourage users to share their experience with your product on social media using a branded hashtag. This can help build social proof and increase sign-ups.

7. How can I leverage customer referrals to increase free trial sign-ups?

Customer referrals can be a powerful way to increase free trial sign-ups for your SaaS product. Here are some ways to encourage referrals:

  • Offer incentives: Offer incentives, such as discounts or extended trial periods, to users who refer others to your product.
  • Create a referral program: Create a referral program that makes it easy for users to refer others to your product. Provide them with pre-written messages, shareable links, or social media graphics that they can use to promote your product.
  • Encourage sharing: Encourage users to share their experience with your product on social media and other channels. Make it easy for them to share by providing social media sharing buttons or other sharing options.
  • Show appreciation: Show appreciation for users who refer others to your product by thanking them publicly or offering exclusive rewards.

8. How can I optimize my landing page to increase free trial sign-ups?

Your landing page is a critical element in your free trial sign-up funnel. Here are some tips to help you optimize your landing page for maximum conversions:

  • Keep it simple: Keep your landing page simple and easy to understand. Use clear and concise language that clearly communicates the value of your product and the benefits of signing up for a free trial.
  • Use eye-catching visuals: Use eye-catching visuals, such as product screenshots or videos, to help users visualize your product and understand how it works.
  • Include social proof: Use social proof, such as customer testimonials or trust badges, to build credibility and trust with your audience.
  • Make the sign-up form easy to find: Make the sign-up form prominent and easy to find on your landing page. Use contrasting colors and clear calls to action to guide users through the sign-up process.
  • Minimize distractions: Minimize distractions on your landing page by removing unnecessary links or elements that could distract users from signing up.
  • Include a clear value proposition: Clearly communicate your product's unique value proposition and how it solves your audience's pain points.

9. How can I use A/B testing to optimize my free trial sign-up process?

A/B testing can be a powerful tool to optimize your free trial sign-up process. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your A/B tests:

  • Start with your landing page: Start by A/B testing different versions of your landing page to see which one generates the most sign-ups. Test different headlines, visuals, copy, and calls-to-action to find the most effective combination.
  • Test different sign-up forms: A/B test different versions of your sign-up form to see which one performs best. Test different form lengths, fields, and designs to find the most effective form.
  • Test different sign-up incentives: A/B test different sign-up incentives, such as a free trial vs. a free demo, to see which one generates the most sign-ups.
  • Run continuous tests: Continuously run A/B tests to optimize your sign-up process over time. Test different elements of your funnel, such as your email campaigns, social media ads, or referral program, to identify areas for improvement.

10. How can I track and analyze the effectiveness of my free trial sign-up funnel?

Tracking and analyzing the effectiveness of your free trial sign-up funnel is critical to optimizing your conversion rates over time. Here are some metrics to track and analyze:

  • Conversion rate: Track your conversion rate at each stage of your funnel, from website visitors to free trial sign-ups to paid subscribers.
  • Bounce rate: Monitor your landing page bounce rate to identify areas for improvement. A high bounce rate could indicate that your landing page is not resonating with your audience or that there are technical issues that need to be addressed.
  • Time to convert: Track the time it takes for users to convert from website visitors to free trial sign-ups. This can help you identify bottlenecks in your sign-up process and areas for improvement.
  • Source of traffic: Monitor the source of your traffic, such as organic search, social media, or paid advertising, to identify which channels are most effective at driving sign-ups.
  • User behavior: Track user behavior, such as time spent on your website, pages visited, or actions taken, to identify areas for improvement in your funnel. Use tools like Google Analytics or Mixpanel to track user behavior.

By tracking and analyzing these metrics, you can identify areas for improvement in your free trial sign-up funnel and make data-driven decisions to optimize your conversion rates over time.