After looking over all the aspects of acquisition in the first phase, now it’s time to explore the second phase of the sales funnel series– Activation. User Activation is the second phase of the sales funnel series. It is created with an aim to scrutinize each stage of the AARRR framework making it more understandable and adaptable for businesses of all sizes.
Activation – How good is the customer’s first experience
Activation in the sales funnel framework is all about providing your potential prospects an excellent first experience when they land on your website. 96% of visitors that come to your website are not ready to buy. The initial few moments need to be impressive enough for creating a lasting impact on the prospect so that they purchase or return to your site. Activation is a chance to display your product’s value proposition and acquaint them with the top features. Like, SaaS companies offer 15 to 30 days free trial to give their prospect the first-hand experience for understanding how they will benefit from the product. Potential prospects can actually see what they are getting into before committing to it. This increases the chances of conversions.
As per a survey, 60% of SaaS companies are deriving revenue from free trial “ Try before you buy”.
If your activation techniques are right, then you won’t only convert them into active users but also get a chance to reach their network through word of mouth.
Acquisition and activation almost seem like twin sisters so it is often confusing. However, in the acquisition stage, you are attracting your target audience by displaying the solution to their problems. While in activation, you are providing a sample of your solution.
Example: Kissmetrics, a marketing analytics platform has a very alluring layout with a simple yet catchy tagline ”Get, keep and grow more customers” that says it all. Moreover, with a CTA (Call to Action) like “Request a Demo” they are motivating the visitor to take an action. So basically, the interesting homepage layout comes under the acquisition stage, where Kissmetrics is trying to capture the attention of the right target audience. When the visitor clicks on “Request a Demo” and explores the software then he enters the activation stage.
You have just one shot at activating the new user. So, ensure you make the most of it by rendering a seamless and positive first experience.
Once you clearly define your activation milestone, then you need to concentrate on building a best-in-class onboarding experience.
Create a seamless experience with effective onboarding
Onboarding communicates the value of your product to the users being a crucial part of the activation stage. Every action related to this stage of the funnel begins and ends here. It’s original term is defined as,
“the set of top of the funnel activities you use to guide, nurture and turn your target audience from visitors to customers.”
No matter how good is your product or marketing activities, but if your onboarding has holes that can push your lead to churn.
Every user that approaches a product do so because they have some pain points and goals in mind. The product lays down the path to solve the business problems. If the onboarding is done right, then it can create good impression on the users and demonstrate that your product helped them in achieving their business goals.
It is necessary to walk the users down each step to eliminate the need of hunting for alternatives. Once the users see the value of your solution, they will be encouraged to explore it further and eventually get converted into paying customers.
Smart tips and tricks for activation
There are many tricks that can help you succeed in the activation stage of the sales funnel. Below are the most successful ones that you can consider to give your new users more reasons to stay with you for a longer time:
1. Effective drip campaign
Don’t stretch and annoy your users with too many emails. Five to six emails are enough to provide the necessary information for generating interest in your product. Avoid sending random emails, instead systematically plan your email strategy.
You can send them following emails:
- A welcome email including information about your product or service. As per a research, 64% of people read the welcome emails.
- Product walkthrough email to get started.
- Feature emails displaying your USP.
- Reminder email if the user missed any of the action related to the activation point.
- Email offering help if your user faces any problem .
- Feedback email to learn about their experience with your product.
To save your time you can automate these emails using a CRM solution. You need to set action based workflows, and timely emails will be sent automatically to your potential prospects.
2. Exit-intent pop-ups
This is the best way to engage the visitors and increase their average time spent on your website. An exit-intent pop-up appears as soon as a user tries to leave your site. It reduces the bounce rate and gives you one more chance to impress your visitors.
With exit-intent pop-up, you can –
- Provide special offers and discounts. Use the scarcity strategy to activate the users by presenting an offer that won’t last for long.
- Build your email list by encouraging them to subscribe for a newsletter.
- Promote an intriguing piece of content.
3. Live chat for excellent user experience
Potential prospect expects instant assistance or they will leave the website. With live chat messages, you can connect with them instantly and solve all their queries in real-time. With auto-triggers, send an automatic chat invitation to the visitor to interact with them and provide more insights about your solution.
4. Explainer videos
It is the most effective way to explain the value of your product. For instance, SaaS products appear as a complex maze for many new users. With an explainer video, they will know how the product functions and gain a better understanding of the solution without getting lost.
In just a few minutes, you can tell your website visitors who you are. What is your product about, and how will your product help them. The explainer video of Dropbox contributed 10% increase in conversion rate, leading to 10 million additional customers and $48,000,000 in extra revenue.
5. Testimonials from your customers
Find the best spot on your website and highlight the testimonials of your satisfied customers. Testimonials have the power to influence a buyer’s decision; they tell your prospect how well you are doing. Build trust and credibility by displaying the positive experience your existing customers had with your product. 85% of consumers said they read up to 10 reviews before feeling they can trust a business.
6. Freebies and free trial
A free product or service is the most widely used business strategy to attract the target audience. If used wisely it can be very beneficial for your business. This strategy can be played around in many ways. For example, offer a free plan for a limited period like 15 to 30 days. The Free trial to paid conversion rates goes as high as 50 percent. The idea is to make users comfortable and give a chance to learn about your product to see how it can be beneficial for their business. People prefer to purchase from those they know, like and trust.
7. Optimized landing page
To keep your activation metric high you need to ensure your landing page is optimized and performing well. For reducing bounce rate and increasing conversions, you will have to pay attention to your landing page and optimize it by –
- Using the right keywords
- Minimizing loading time
- Adding compelling CTA’s
- Having attractive design and engaging content
- Using complementary color schemes and easy-to-read bullet points
- Including social share buttons
- Using relevant meta tags
- Adding images and videos
- Testing your page with A/B test
8. Anything else that is required
Unfortunately, there aren’t many playbooks that can introduce you to extraordinary activation techniques to increase your conversions. However, none of them know your product better than you. All the popular blogs, books, and how-to guides will just show you a general path taken by most of the entrepreneurs in various industries. Ultimately, it is you who has to complete the journey by identifying and showcasing the USPs of your product. Step into your customers’ shoes and find what will they like. Think out of the box and experiment with different things to succeed.
What about the users that don’t convert?
You must have tried many strategies and techniques by now; some might have even worked and given a good number of activated users. However, along with the activated users, you might have also come across a certain percentage of users who never commit. Don’t ignore such inactive users; take a step back and find out what went wrong. Dig deeper into the reasons for identifying and fixing the problems. Analyze the user characteristics and understand the difference in the behavior of active and inactive users. By doing this, you will know where you must put efforts and what you need to avoid. Keep analyzing your data before, during and after activation for finding and addressing the obstacles in real-time.
There is no magical formula to activate users. It is all up to you and your product that needs to evolve as the customer demands do. As I mentioned above keep experimenting; don’t hesitate in trying new techniques and tools. Some tactics will work others won’t, but don’t give up. Find out what’s the best and optimize it over the time to convert maximum leads. Just acquiring and activating users is not enough; to skyrocket your revenue you need to retain your users.
Learn how to retain your valuable clients in the third phase of this sales funnel series- Retention.
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