Learn How to Grow SaaS with Email – Ebook Teaser

Sandra Wilk - Senior Content Creator at Woodpecker
increase trial conversion

This blog post is a chapter of an ebook I wrote, called “How to Grow SaaS with Email”. It includes lots of useful advice from top SaaS experts and email templates for each job to be done. Go grab a copy!

This chapter is about increasing free trial conversion.


Free trial is a sample of what your product can do for the users. They take it for a test drive to see if that’s the vehicle that will get them where they want to go.

When you’re building a user onboarding process, the single most important thing is — as product-led growth expert Wes Bush puts it — to help people get better at what your product enables them to do.

To do so, you need to take a look at the big picture and learn why they’re using your product. What’s the context?

increase trial conversion Wes Bush

When Woodpecker users sign up for the free trial, they use the tool to generate leads, increase their trial to paid conversion, drive traffic to their websites… and all the other stuff I’m talking about in this ebook (wink-wink).

With the context in mind, you’ll be able to onboard users by showing them only the necessary steps that’ll move them towards their desired outcome.

What determines when users are going to convert?

According to product growth expert Michał Fiech, it depends on a couple of factors.

Creating an account-wide notification system when the trial is about to expire is one way to boost the conversion.

If you put trial users at a full-featured plan, most of them will pay right before the trial ends (or even after).

If you design your trial to offer limited features, you might be able to speed up the process as well — you need to make sure that users who reached the “aha” moment have to convert to keep using the tool in a more efficient way.

Another factor is how and when you nudge the users to pay.

So if you’d like to give them a lil’ nudge, which channel would be the most effective?

increase trial conversion Michał Fiech

So what emails can you put in your user onboarding sequence to boost your trial engagement?

The types and number of emails you send depends entirely on your strategy — you might do more, you might do less, you might send different kinds of messages. But if you don’t know where to start, try these 5 emails that Wes singles out as the main ones when onboarding users:

  1. Welcome email
  2. Usage tips
  3. Sales touches
  4. Usage reviews
  5. Expiry warning

# Pro tip: don’t use html in your onboarding sequence. Plain and simple is the way to go. Pictures and elaborate graphic templates might confuse users or divert your messages from the main inbox.


Welcome email

The first email in the sequence has two main functions: to build a habit in your audience to open your emails and set the users’ expectations on what’s next.

What you put between the “thank you” and your CTA will vary. Do you want your welcome email to be more of an introductory one? To ask what job the user wants to get done with your product? To build a connection with them? Or pull them into the product?

Usage tips

This one focuses more on your product’s features and what they can do for the user.

So, you might want to direct the user to a specific place in the app, offer best practices tips, try to bring abandoned users back, or link to specific blog posts or help articles.

Sales touches

While all the emails should be personal, this should be super personal. You can e.g. celebrate the user’s success in your app (aka, them achieving the “aha” moment) and offer how they can use it to get more out of the product, ask if they have any questions, or offer them a demo.

Your goal with this email is to make sure the user achieves more with your product.

Usage reviews

Show the user how much they’ve achieved with your product so far and offer a suggestion for what they can do next. Use metrics (pick the key metric for your product).

Thanks to this, the users will see the value quicker.

Expiry warnings

Reminders that the trial will expire in a week/few days.

With this email, it’s easy to slip into a salesy tone — but don’t be pushy. Be helpful.

What to avoid in your user onboarding emails?

  • Don’t assume users will be ready to buy straight away
  • Don’t focus on your benefit instead of theirs
  • Don’t send one-to-all kind of messages with no personalization
  • Don’t try to seal the deal no matter what

If you’re using a tool that sends time-based emails (instead of behavior-based), be sure you’re:

  • Answering common questions and objections at a given stage of the funnel
  • Educating users on how you can solve their pain point
  • Focusing on the benefits, not features of your product
  • Offering a clear CTA (and just one)

# Pro tip: you might segment your trial user base and set up two different types of campaigns: one that is aimed at the users that best fit your ICP (this campaign is personalized and aimed at starting a conversation with the lead), and a different one that onboards the users that are less likely to convert into paying customers (still personalized, but not focused on as much contact with a salesperson).


Liked what you read? Get the ebook and see how else you can use email to grow your SaaS.