Do you plan to promote your software with an online trial version ?
In a previous article, I shared my experience on the 15 tips to build a successful software trial.
The ultimate goal for this trial is to generate qualified leads for your sales team and I would like to provide today with a few recommendations on how to integrate the trial with the existing marketing automation tools of your corporate web site.
1. Plug your trial behind the contact form of your web site
Your contact form is a privileged time with your visitors because that’s the time when you ask them to trust your company and give you their contact details. Don’t use it systematically. Why ? This is a matter of psychology, i.e. understanding the motivations leading visitors to provide you with their name, email and phone number.
Usually, I recommend:
- to keep your articles, news and global datasheets public
- to activate the contact form before accessing the most appealing content such as thought leadership white papers, ebooks, trials.
2. Configure the form handler
Upon form submission, two actions are triggered:
- An API call to your marketing automation platform – e.g. Pardot or Marketo – to create the new prospect and be able to analyze the navigation path of your prospect.
- An API call to the trial user provisioning system. This system is in charge of creating a trial account for the prospect.
3. Send a welcome email
Upon contact creation, your marketing automation tool sends a welcome email to the prospect. This email is very useful if the visitor wants to access the trial later on. Polish the template with your corporate branding.
Your email should contain:
- a clear and professional welcome message
- a link to click to access the trial
- additional links to:
- documentation (link to a documentation portal for example)
- sales contact information
All links are automatically tracked by your marketing automation system for optimal performance measurement.
The credentials – login and password – to access the solution are generated by the user provisioning system independently and will be sent in a synchronous but separate email.
4. Display a confirmation page
A confirmation page is important because it explains your visitor that his/her request is being processed. There is so much to say about how to write an optimized confirmation page that I think I will let it aside for a next article.
At this stage your visitors are the most receptive to any information you might give to them. Take this opportunity to engage further and provide them with relevant information:
- sales contact information
- link to interactive product presentations such as videos of which impact is much greater than more classic materials.
Don’t bother your prospects with irrelevant information. They want to test the product, so they simply expect content that would help them better understand it, nothing more.
5. Integrate with your CRM
Now that the prospect is registered in your marketing automation system, you can use an automatic rule that will assign a high scoring and trigger an automatic import into your CRM, Salesforce for example.
6. Define your lead nurturing mechanism
It is extremely important to define the lead lifecycle and how you want to interact with it according to a precise timeline.
If you take the generic example of automation timeline below, you could consider following steps:
- D: “welcome” email
- D+1: “additional information” email
- D+5: “Reminder” email due to inactivity or “Satisfaction” email due to activity.
- D+[duration of the trial] – 5: “end of trial period warning” email
- D+[duration of the trial] – 1: “end of trial period warning” email
7. Define and follow your metrics
When it comes to online performance, it’s important to monitor it through automated reports that would be generated out of your marketing automation system. Reports could contain for example:
- Number of trial requests
- Number of trial activations
- Number of login attempts per user
And for your upcoming marketing campaigns, you will also be interested in those numbers per campaign.