Want to sustain growth?
It all starts with user engagement. SaaS businesses must aim to educate and entertain their users to boost satisfaction and retention.
For your team, that means building a marketing strategy that keeps users engaged. You want customers to feel compelled to login to your platform in the morning, during lunchtime, and even before bedtime. You want the stickiness factor.
“Once people start using your product, SaaS companies need to focus on making that product as sticky as possible. Your customers need to be using it in their day-to-day workflows,” says Paul Schmidt, a senior consultant at SmartBug Media.
Ready to engage more? Check out the following five user engagement strategies.
1. Send Triggered Messaging
Communication plays an integral role in customer relationships. You’re already emailing customers welcome messages, product updates, and the occasional thank you note.
Powered by data, it’s possible to send more relevant emails to your audience. Triggered messaging takes advantage of customer behavior to automatically deliver a personalized experience.
“Real-time triggered emails get good results because they respond to subscriber actions and are relevant to them, so they benefit from current high engagement. Whereas routine marketing emails can be more like interruptions and are sometimes rejected as irrelevant,” states Mike Austin, a technologist and email marketer.
Let’s imagine that new users who don’t take a significant action on your platform within 2 days of signing up are more likely to churn. You can set up a triggered message to nudge these users to login to their accounts.
Below is a triggered message I received from Buffer. Their system automatically emailed me when my social media post surpassed a specific audience reach.
Keep the conversations going beyond the routine emails. Take advantage of customer behavior to send timely messages.
2. Engage with In-App Chat
Over the years as a marketer, you’ve acquired a lot of knowledge about SaaS products. You understand how most platforms work, and you could probably navigate new software within a couple of hours.
The same can’t be said for your customers. They don’t eat and sleep SaaS technology. Therefore, users will need ongoing assistance to achieve their desired outcomes.
“Simply establishing the fact that you are available makes your customers feel better. It makes them not just view the product as some pixels on the screen, but as an extension of the people behind it’s creation: you,” writes Ryan Angilly, CEO of Ramen.
In-app chat is an effective tool to provide one-on-one help to your customers. You’ll learn what features users find difficult, and you can ask users specific questions about their engagement. Your conversations might look the following image from Pipz:
Some in-app chat platforms offer the capability to segment users. You could identify key behaviors hindering customers from achieving full product adoption. Then, initiate an in-app chat to guide users through their particular roadblocks.
You also want to remind your team to respond to chat messages quickly. Most people don’t like waiting for answers for long periods of time. Another good tip is to be personable on chat support. Emojis help break the monotony.
3. Garner Attention with Video Tutorials
After a customer makes a purchase, it’s important to provide continuing education. An informed customer is more likely to find success with the product, as a result increasing your retention rates.
While well-intentioned customers want to learn, your SaaS product continues to compete for their attention. There are the everyday demands of work, family time, and several other random distractions vying for your customer’s time.
Blogs, eBooks, and guides are the most common forms of educational tools used by businesses. It’s cost-effective and gets the job done. However, text isn’t always an engaging content format.
Video tutorials are one way to compete for your customer’s attention. Videos are visually stimulating and convey your message faster.
Check out the example below from Wrike. The project management company created a video series of tutorials to walk users through their features and benefits.
To produce captivating video tutorials, start with your customer in mind. What do they want to learn? Schedule time with your customer success team to match your content with users’ pain points.
Beyond the topic, the video should connect with your audience on an emotional level. Use storytelling tactics, like narrative patterns and conflicts, to draw people in and make the experience memorable.
4. Add User Incentives
The right incentive works as a catalyst to influence user behavior. Depending on your company’s goals, you want incentives to serve a real purpose for your customer.
Most companies fall into the trap of giving their customers superficial incentives. That might include a free key chain or the chance to enter a sweepstakes. While these incentives are useful, they might not correlate with growing your engagement.
So let’s skip the swag bags for now. Instead, concentrate on activities that will create product stickiness and transform dormant users into habitual advocates.
Some of those activities may involve offering beta test opportunities for users to try out new features or inviting users into an elite community, like Sprout Social’s All Stars Program.
Sometimes, it can be as simple as creating a Facebook group for users to share tips and ask questions. That’s exactly what CoSchedule did!
Incentives should be highly valued by your users. Practice strategies of exclusivity or surprise and delight to get users excited about receiving an incentive. A customer who isn’t expecting your incentive will be even more thrilled to receive it.
5. Employ Gamification
The concept of engaging customers with games isn’t anything new. For decades, businesses have seduced customers with seasonal contests.
What’s different now is the method of implementation. The Internet is making it practical to employ gamification principles on a larger scale and at the customer’s convenience.
SaaS businesses see this an opportunity to remedy low customer engagement rates. With the right games, your team can persuade customers to stay on your platform longer.
“Can we do something about our users’ shrinking attention span? No. Can we try to keep them engaged and learning despite the dire circumstances? Absolutely. Gamification and interactive content (e.g. quizzes) are only part of the new dynamic content trend that is emerging in training documentation,” says Noa Dror, content manager at Iridize.
Quuu Promote showcases a great example of how SaaS companies can influence product usage. Their team uses loyalty badges to encourage users to promote more content. The badges are earned when a user’s content attains a specific number of clicks or shares. And as a bonus, the user can earn free credits toward their next purchase.
Not ready to scale gamification to all your customers? Run a beta program on a segment of your user base. Then, monitor your predetermined success metrics, like usage frequency, to see whether your program produces positive outcomes.
Start Engaging Your Users
Customers are the lifeblood of your business. To retain your users, experiment with different engagement strategies to improve retention.
You can send triggered messaging to remind users to login to your platform. Work with your SaaS team to deliver customer solutions with an in-app chat tool. Lastly, consider how user behavior coupled with gamification can increase engagement.
Engage to retain.
About the Author: Shayla Price lives at the intersection of digital marketing, technology and social responsibility. Connect with her on Twitter @shaylaprice.