Our cloud-base product has a bit of a learning curve and we suspect this is affecting the # of conversions we get via free-trials. We're considering a number of approaches to improve conversions and aren't sure which way to go. Any insight is greatly appreciated!

Some things we've discovered through testing and other anecdotal evidence:

  • Prospects who find our service through search engines generally feel that we don't provide sufficient vision into the product. In tests, they indicated that they wanted to see screenshots, videos, tutorials and the like in order to determine if the product is the right solution for them. Fact: We require prospects to sign up for a free trial in order for them to see the actual product.

  • Anecdotal evidence suggest that intervention from a sales person (within minutes of prospect signing up for a free trial), helps them to better understand the power of the solution. However we don't have any real data that these folks convert after speaking with a sales person.

  • We recently completed research with prospects (those who had gone through our current trial flow, but had not converted*), testing a flow that provided detailed information about the product including screenshots, reviews and ratings as well as access to a preview of the product, which allowed them to "kick the tires" so-to-speak. While we got very positive feedback from participants (flow was improved, felt more confident that the product might meet their needs), we still don't know if they would convert.

Given the complexity of the product and a somewhat steep learning curve, an alternative approach would be to require interested parties to sign up for a free demo with a "coach" before allowing them into a free trial. The thinking is that the coach will help speed up understanding about how the product works, more fully exposing it's true power - and (hopefully) clearing up any questions or misconceptions. The concern with this approach is a belief that most folks will NOT sign up for a free demo.

Does anyone out there have a similar problem, or have you tested similar approaches to improve conversion. Any thoughts are surely appreciated!!

*Lack of conversion was not necessarily due to lack of understanding or interest. In some cases, for instance the evaluator was not the purchaser and pricing was the issue. Pricing & packaging is being evaluated as a barrier to conversion as well.

  • Do you currently have tutorial videos for your product? If so, are they only available to users who have purchased the product?
    – cimmanon
    Commented Oct 9, 2013 at 19:07
  • We don't currently have tutorial videos that are designed to help someone evaluate the product, but we're considering those as well. We offer daily webinars that are accessible from our external site, but these seem to be more helpful for those who are already using the product.
    – Annabelle
    Commented Oct 9, 2013 at 19:18
  • Sometimes a tutorial video can double as a feature evaluation. Have you tried testing to see if your current videos could be used this way? Low conversion rates could be related to the product being too expensive or too complicated for the user, even if it is a good fit for their task.
    – cimmanon
    Commented Oct 9, 2013 at 19:28
  • 1
    I think this is a classic case of not doing sufficient research before making a decision, and not making a decision because there isn't enough information. Given that the only certain thing is that the product is complex, I would probably still start with trying to improve the usability and simplicity of the product because this is still going to be an issue regardless. I think you need to work out whether it is more important to improve the product or the conversion process.
    – Michael Lai
    Commented Oct 9, 2013 at 21:59

1 Answer 1


First of all, your objective statement is quite clear: make people try your product.

Second, I guess you should identify of few things about your prospects, and write that down to share with your team :

  • what do the prospects actually need? Don't think of any solution yet (such as trial..), just think about their needs.
  • what does a sales person tell them? What key-arguments are told, or shown, which are sufficient to convince the prospects?
  • what made your testers have a positive feedback?

This will allow you to identify the key features of your app.

Third, question is: how to communicate these key-features to the prospects in the most effortless way? There are a lot of different possibilities and the choice mainly relies on the specificities of your prospects. However, it should be attractive and straight forward. A key feature benefice has to be understood in a matter of a few seconds. Then, animations and videos may help you to explain how great your app is to benefit this key feature.

Once, the prospect is convinced of the plus values of your product, the effort of subscribing, downloading, installing a trial will feel less important for him. However, as this is your objective, you have to make these steps very usable and attractive as well.

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