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SaaS Onboarding Email Blog

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Breaking Down User Goals for Free Trial Success

Your product exists to solve problems. But how big of a beast can you tackle in two weeks?

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Picture this: it’s the beginning of a new year and you are full of resolutions. This is going to be your year, and you have the ambitions to prove it. Starting today you’re going to wake up an hour earlier so you can hit the gym and listen to audiobooks for at least 30 minutes every day and call your Mom more and only eat out once a week and finally organize your garage and Marie Kondo the crap out of your closet and start doing charity work.

Your end goal is clear: be a stronger, richer, more well-rounded you. But how much can you actually tackle at once? Are you trying to prepare for a marathon in a month when you don’t even take an after-lunch walk every day?
We’re all capable of fulfilling our biggest goals, but the cruelest thing we can do to ourselves is to bite off more than we can chew at once. Because if we do, we choke, and we feel like a failure.

I wanted to paint this picture before getting into the heart of the post because I need you to understand something:

Your users are not superheroes or superhumans; they are people. They are you and they are me.

I know you want them to succeed, but to do that you have to help them slowly and surely.

Imagine how much better off you, your users, or anyone trying to incorporate new habits or levels of success would be if we took baby steps.

Steady showers create lush fields, downpours create floods.

“But Stephanie, you’re being so abstract! I have things to do today, ya know.”

Yeah, I know, so let’s get to it.

Breaking User Goals Into Manageable Pieces

Today we’re going to explore scenarios that show you how to take the overarching user goal and break it down into something they can accomplish in 14 days, or less. Your users need a quick win to get hooked on your product. Most people can only keep chugging so long before their efforts are gratified with reward.

So, let’s leave treats along the road to long-term success.

For this post, let’s imagine you have a booking software for hairstylists.

Your users want to streamline their booking process so that they can:

  1. Let customers book their times online, freeing up the hairstylists time

  2. Avoid booking headaches, such as being double booked

  3. Provide a great customer experience, so they have repeat customers + referrals

In short, they want to reduce their time input while increasing their output (in the form of paying customers).

Now let’s break these goals into quick wins, intermediate goals, and long-term targets.

Quick Wins

Example quick win: Bringing existing appointments and client info into the program

Why it matters: You want to make your system their go-to reference point as soon as possible, by bringing existing data in they aren’t faced with a “blank page” and areas void of data

How to get users there: Highlight integration tools, or content that shows how data can be migrated in. Lower mental barriers with time estimations or a simple outline of steps with the first box checked.

Timeframe: 1-2 days after signup

Intermediate Goals

Example intermediate goal: Get their first new booking through the system

Why it matters: After you’ve shown them how nice your app is for organizing existing data, let’s really show them what you’ve got by helping them get their first booking through the app. Seeing is believing, and you want them to see how convenient your tool is.

How to get users there: Provide them with scripts to advertise their new tool to their social media following + clients who visit the salon. Offer support documents to get the tool set up on their website.

Timeframe: 5-8 days after signup

Long-Term Targets

Example intermediate goal: Increase repeat customers and referrals

Why it matters: Yes, convenient booking and management is important, but so is money. If you can somehow help or empower users to grow their businesses they’ll love you.

How to get users there: Send case studies of other users who have grown their business and how they did it. Also supply content that is useful in other aspects of their business, so that you’re a resource instead of just a tool. Highlight features such as appointment reminders or easy-to-use referral links.

Timeframe: 14+ days after signup

Don’t let this list of three fool you - there can be multiple of each type of win within a single customer journey. For example, your onboarding sequence may encourage 2 quick wins and an intermediate. It’s about finding the balance between getting a user as many wins as possible, while not completely overwhelming them.

To assess how many of which type of goal you should aim for in your free-trial sequence, think through how long each task realistically takes for someone who is totally new. You can look at analytics, or have a non-product person on your team start from scratch.

What questions do you have about breaking user goals into manageable chunks? Let me know down below!

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