Converting Free Trials to Paid Customers: How the right message at the right time generated a 68% lift in free trial conversion

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Recent experiments reveal 2 common design mistakes can kill microsite conversion rates …

Recent experiments reveal 2 common design mistakes can kill microsite conversion rates

Many marketers agree microsites, in general, are an effective approach to connect prospects with a specific offer or product line. However, the process of designing a microsite uncovers many questions as it relates to ensuring an ROI:

• How many different audiences can I really serve?
• What is the optimal number of products/offers I can show?
• Is it possible to have too much design or copy?
• How should the microsite connect to the overall sales funnel?

In this Web clinic, Flint McGlaughlin, Managing Director, MECLABS, will uncover recent research revealing two often overlooked design decisions that have a significant impact on a microsite’s conversion rate potential.

**PLUS: Live Optimization**

To help you apply the research covered during the Web clinic, time will be reserved for live

More in: Business , Technology , Design
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  • 1. Converting Free Trials to Paid Customers: How the right message at the right time generated a 68% lift in free trial conversion #webclinic
  • 2. #webclinic JOIN THE CONVERSATION ON TWITTER #webclinic
  • 3. #webclinic
  • 4. #webclinic 4 TODAY’S PRESENTER Dr. Flint McGlaughlin – Managing Director, MECLABS Flint McGlaughlin is the Managing Director of MECLABS Group. The organization has partnered with key market leaders including The New York Times, Microsoft Corporation, and Reuters Group. Dr. McGlaughlin also serves as the Director of Enterprise Research at the Transforming Business Institute, University of Cambridge (UK), as the Chairman of the Board of Governors for St. Stephen’s University, and as a Trustee for Westminster Theological Centre. Dr. McGlaughlin originally studied Philosophy and Theology at the University of London’s Specialist Jesuit College. Today, his primary research is focused on enterprise as transformative agent. His work has won multiple awards and has been quoted in more than 13,000 online and offline sources.
  • 5. #webclinic An Experiment
  • 6. #webclinic EXPERIMENT SERIES: BACKGROUND Background: An online, do-it-yourself website creation and team management software for sports coaches, parents, and league administrators Goal: To increase free-trial conversions and post free-trial upgrades Common Research Question: Which page will yield the greatest revenue per visitor? Common Test Design: A/B Variable Cluster test Experiment ID: TP1420, TP1508-9, TP1512 Record Location: MECLABS Research Library Research Partner: [Protected] Research Notes:
  • 7. #webclinic EXPERIMENT SERIES: BACKGROUND Free Trial Timeline During Free Trial After Free Trial End of Free Trial
  • 8. #webclinic EXPERIMENT SERIES: BACKGROUND During Free Trial After Free Trial End of Free Trial Free Trial Timeline
  • 9. #webclinic PRE-EXPIRATION: CONTROL
  • 10. #webclinic PRE-EXPIRATION: CONTROL
  • 11. #webclinic PRE-EXPIRATION: TREATMENT
  • 12. #webclinic PRE-EXPIRATION: TREATMENT
  • 13. #webclinic PRE-EXPIRATION: TREATMENT
  • 14. #webclinic PRE-EXPIRATION: SIDE-BY-SIDE Version A Version B
  • 15. #webclinic PRE-EXPIRATION: RESULTS Design Conv. Rate Revenue/Visit Version A 6.37% $2.69 Version B 7.55% $4.51 Relative Difference 18.43% 67.6% 68% Increase in Trial Conversion Revenue/Visit The treatment page increased free trial conversion revenue per visit by 67.6%
  • 16. #webclinic EXPERIMENT SERIES: BACKGROUND During Free Trial After Free Trial End of Free Trial Free Trial Timeline 68% 
  • 17. #webclinic AT-EXPIRATION: CONTROL
  • 18. #webclinic AT-EXPIRATION: TREATMENT
  • 19. #webclinic AT-EXPIRATION: TREATMENT Keep using limited basic Note: This link only appears when the checkbox above is selected by the user
  • 20. #webclinic AT-EXPIRATION: SIDE-BY-SIDE Control Treatment
  • 21. #webclinic AT-EXPIRATION: RESULTS Design Conv. Rate Revenue/Visit Version A 8.74% $5.65 Version B 12.48% $6.50 Relative Difference 42.77% 15.13% 43% Increase in Trial Conversions The treatment page increased free trial conversions by 42.77%
  • 22. #webclinic EXPERIMENT SERIES: BACKGROUND During Free Trial After Free Trial End of Free Trial Free Trial Timeline 68%  43% 
  • 23. #webclinic AFTER-EXPIRATION: CONTROL
  • 25. #webclinic AFTER-EXPIRATION: SIDE-BY-SIDE Control Treatment
  • 26. #webclinic AFTER-EXPIRATION: RESULTS Design Conv. Rate Revenue/Visit Version A 1.74% $1.06 Version B 3.69% $3.21 Relative Difference 112.1% 202.6% 203% Increase in upgrade revenue per visit The treatment page increased upgrade revenue per visit by 202.6%
  • 27. #webclinic EXPERIMENT SERIES: BACKGROUND During Free Trial After Free Trial End of Free Trial Free Trial Timeline 68%  43%  203% In sum, the complete test series increased total free-trial conversion revenue by 63% and average order value by 27% 
  • 28. #webclinic Why do free trials work? When are they most effective? KEY QUESTION
  • 29. #webclinic FKey Principles 1. As we have said elsewhere1, our goal as marketers is to “build” cognitive momentum. We are not simply building marketing campaigns, but rather mental velocity. 2. However, there are certain offers in which the potential cognitive momentum built in the marketing channels and/or website is limited. In these cases, it takes an experience of the product to clearly understand the value of the product enough to overcome the inherent resistance. WHY DO FREE TRIALS WORK 1. Reducing Cart Abandonment (Web Clinic), MarketingExperiments, June 20, 2013 Page Templates that Work (Web Clinic), MarketingExperiments, July 5, 2013
  • 30. #webclinic Velocity Needed for Conversion Marketing Channels Website Product Trial Call-to-Action Conversion Experience Progression CognitiveVelocity Marketing Channels Website Call-to-Action PATH 2: PATH 1: PATH 1 does not include a free trial PATH 2 integrates a free trial THE POTENTIAL OF PRODUCT TRIALS Conversion Gap
  • 31. #webclinic WHY DO FREE TRIALS WORK • However, as we saw in the previous case study, simply adding a product trial will not produce the cognitive momentum required for conversion without a proper messaging strategy. 40% 30% 67% Original Free Trial Messaging vs. optimized
  • 32. #webclinic Today, we are going to walk through 4 key principles we learned from this series of tests about the messaging surrounding a free product trial TODAY’S FOCUS
  • 33. #webclinic PRINCIPLE #1: Sustain Value
  • 34. #webclinic In the control… • Expired features are only given single-line text descriptions • A text call to action link is used PRINCIPLE 1: SUSTAIN VALUE
  • 35. #webclinic PRINCIPLE 1: SUSTAIN VALUE In the treatment… • An interstitial with more space to sell is created • Existing text is inserted and additional bullets are added to clarify value • Images are added to also clarify value • The call to action is larger, sequenced
  • 36. #webclinic PRINCIPLE 1: SUSTAIN VALUE The treatments also increase value force by three types of content adjustments… 1. Evidence 2. Explanation 3. Inspiration
  • 37. #webclinic PRINCIPLE #2: Leverage Urgency
  • 38. #webclinic In the control… • The copy does not clearly communicate an immediate loss • The call to action position and copy encourages someone to choose Basic PRINCIPLE 2: LEVERAGE URGENCY
  • 39. #webclinic In the treatment… • Copy emphasizes the loss in a point-first written style • The call to action setup and copy communicate a clear expectation for a non-upgrade decision PRINCIPLE 2: LEVERAGE URGENCY Keep using limited basic
  • 40. #webclinic PRINCIPLE #3: Anticipate Concerns
  • 41. #webclinic • In the control, visitors discover that they can’t access their data and there is no copy addressing what has happened to it PRINCIPLE 3: ANTICIPATE CONCERNS They expect this…And get this instead…
  • 42. #webclinic • In the treatment, anxiety reducing copy is inserted in close proximity to the call to action to reassure expired users that data and functionality will come back immediately PRINCIPLE 3: ANTICIPATE CONCERNS
  • 43. #webclinic PRINCIPLE #4: Layer Incentive
  • 44. #webclinic • In the control, there is additional reason to upgrade at the time of expiration PRINCIPLE 4: LAYER INCENTIVE
  • 45. #webclinic • In the treatment, a special one-time incentive is presented as a thank you at the time of expiration PRINCIPLE 4: LAYER INCENTIVE
  • 46. #webclinic PRINCPLE #1: Sustain value PRINCPLE #2: Leverage urgency PRINCIPLE #3: Anticipate concerns PRINCIPLE #4: Layer incentive SUMMARY: 4 KEY PRINCIPLES FOR CONVERTING TRIALS
  • 47. #webclinic Live Optimization
  • 48. #webclinic Joe Pulizzi Founder Content Marketing Institute KEYNOTE SPEAKERS Flint McGlaughlin Managing Director and CEO MECLABS Visit Ninan Chacko CEO PR Newswire
  • 49. #webclinic MECLABS conducts rigorous experiments in the new science of optimization. We apply our discoveries to help leaders optimize the financial performance of their sales and marketing programs. Learn more about how you may be a fit for a MECLABS research partnership: • Select Research Partnership Opportunities on the post- webinar survey • Contact us directly 1-877-635-0565 How To Apply for a Research Partnership x
  • 50. #webclinic Live Optimization Primary objective(s): Trial conversion and sales conversion Primary audience: People interested in learning a new language URL: Memolife
  • 51. #webclinic Arbor Day Foundation Live Optimization Primary objective(s): Convert to free trial Primary audience: Businesses shopping for wholesale coffee URL:
  • 52. #webclinic Live Optimization Primary objective(s): Convert viewers to sign up for a free account Primary audience: Job seekers and recruiters URL:
  • 53. #webclinic Log My Calls Live Optimization Primary objective(s): Lead Generation Primary audience: Businesses searching for call tracking software URL:
  • 54. #webclinic Live Optimization Cisco – WebEx Primary objective(s): Customer enrollment Primary audience: Businesses hosting virtual meetings URL: