For the consumer, this is of no concern, but for those offering free trials of their app the need to reduce churn rates for SaaS is vital; especially in our age of multitasking and short attention spans. Gone are the days where a free trial was something not to be missed.

With so many products, services and programmes all competing for your customer’s attention, it’s essential that you employ tools that onboard and educate to demonstrate your product’s value, in turn, reducing the churn rate of free trial customers and improving the conversion rate for your premium, paid SaaS product.

With these four key education tools you can significantly reduce your churn rate, turning those ‘free trialers’ into happy paying customers who come back month after month. It goes without saying that increased retention rates result in higher customer lifetime value.

Demonstrate Your Product’s Value

Before anything else, you need to create value in your customers’ heads about your product. Make sure your communications clarify exactly what problem your product is solving along with the how and why to guarantee that you connect with your customer.

Don’t just think about the end user, consider the gatekeepers and decision makers who control where money is invested and ensure your product is conveyed clearly and simply. If you can only convince one group of your product’s value, you’ll never convert those people into paying customers.

Take the time to research into who your consumers are and what they are looking for; build up a profile and make sure your communications (including tone of voice and images) are suitable. Beyond your copy and imagery you also need to consider the user interface. Simplicity is key. Never assume that your end-user is as tech-savvy as you and always test your product on a group of people similar to your end-users before setting it live. You’ll be throwing money down the drain if your user experience is turning people off, so set your own opinions aside and let your consumers inform the design.

App Churn Rates

Onboarding is the First Stage in Increasing Retention

Once you’ve obtained an email address your job is only 25% complete – here’s where you’ll notice high churn rates as customers see the initial value but don’t follow through with even using the product. Remember possession is 9/10 of the law, meaning once your customer actually uses your product the more likely they are to use it again and, with any luck, become dependent on it.

What is on boarding and how can it reduce churn rates for SaaS apps?

To increase retention you need to incorporate lots of different on boarding techniques to maintain continued usage of your SaaS product beyond the free trial period. We strongly suggest email sequencing which drip-feeds information via email to your new sign up. After your confirmation email, a welcome email with a link through to a quick start guide or tutorial will entice your customer to try the product with immediate effect. If you have a rather complicated SaaS product, start with something simple. Instant gratification is key. Get them trialling a small part of your product that has simple instructions to build their confidence but don’t make it too far removed from the reason they chose your product in the first place.

For example, if your product is about video creation, why not get the user putting together a short example video with pre-rendered assets? This demonstrates the product and its simplicity and is more rewarding than, say, uploading a profile photo to their online account!

Build a Knowledge Base and Educate

By handholding your new customer you’ll be able to increase their engagement and the subsequent retention rate for your app further down the timeline. Educating your customers of your product’s features shouldn’t stop after the first email or completed task. It should be ongoing and you need to be active in nudging your customer to come back and learn more. Education is key for demonstrating your product’s value, and if you can create value for your customer (that outweighs the cost) then you can create value for your business.


A knowledge base is no different from FAQs (frequently asked questions) and quick start guides. Whether you want a list of questions with drop down answers, video tutorials and demos or a database of comprehensive guides, providing the ‘manual’ for your product is a great way of getting your customers to explore the features and functionalities you have on offer. With more complex SaaS products you might want to separate these out into levels (beginner, intermediate and advanced) and could go as far as offering on hand support and assistance in the form of a live chat or forums. If you feel like you need something more complex such as this, a Learning Management System is the right solution for you.

A Learning Management System Could be the Solution to your High Churn Rates

In a trial period it’s unlikely that:

  1. Someone will go through and use all of your product’s features
  2. You’ll have all of your product’s features available
  3. They’ll use the product effectively

Nonetheless, if you know you have a complex product or products then your knowledge base may well need to be more than just your basic FAQs and a Quick Start Guide. A custom-built e-learning system or online training system used to educate people via courses could be the solution. Known as a Learning Management System or LMS , this online training platform can also provide your business with key insights and tracking to reduce churn rates for your SaaS app and improve conversions to your premium product. Learn more about our tailored solutions here.

How will tracking increase retention rates?

To get started you might want to have a few essential guides as necessary or recommended reading for all new users, but to encourage further exploration into your product features, be sure to signpost and link to your guides and manuals. Remember, this all links back to creating value – you don’t want your customer to imagine life without your product otherwise you’ll see those churn rates increase! So track how far into your product’s features your customer is getting before they drop out. Here are just some of the questions you should ask yourself:

  1. What features are they learning about and trialling?
  2. Which key feature are they using early on? Further down the line?
  3. Is there a correlation between a feature and a premium subscription purchase?

This essential data will help you to identify the real value of your product so you can position it front and centre, encouraging users to trial these features because you know it’s more likely to lead to a premium subscription purchase.

By understanding the way in which your customer uses your product and encouraging them to explore its features, you’ll be able to reduce churn rates for SaaS apps, which is, undoubtedly more valuable than just seeing how many sign-ups you get over time. Looking at trends and data beyond vanity metrics will inform you of how to position your product to increase app retention rates which lead to premium purchases. It is not sufficient to leave a customer after they have signed up for a free trial. Handholding your customer through a clear education system is essential to demonstrating the value of your product. Sometimes onboarding and an FAQs page might just be enough, but it’s worth looking at your product and its features and considering, ‘does this complex product need a custom solution?’

If you’re looking to create a custom LMS for your business or if you want to find out more about how a bespoke e-learning platform can help you then visit our dedicated LMS page.