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7 min read

CRO for SaaS

This article was updated on: 07.02.2022

Our head of CRO, Rich Chapman, recently partnered with software company VWO (Visual Website Optimizer) to deliver a masterclass on CRO for SaaS businesses.

This blog post highlights some of the key points that Rich focused on during the hands-on workshop. If you’d like to learn more and even get involved, you can catch up here.

SaaS Conversion Paths

Common conversion choices that we tend to see across SaaS websites are:

  • Call us to talk to an expert/get a quote
  • Fill out our form to send your enquiry 
  • Sign up to our free trial or demo

Phone calls

This is a suitable choice to offer to users who want to obtain a quote or speak directly with an expert, in order to obtain more information or answers to specific questions about your product.

Form fills

If you’re presenting your users with a form for them to get in touch, your business needs to consider what data it wants to collect from the user and the number of fields necessary to include on your form. Be sure not to ask anything unnecessary and don’t include anything that doesn’t really need to be there, as this may deter a user from completing the desired action.

Free trials

Another popular call to action on SaaS sites is to offer a demo version of your software available or to offer a free, scaled-back version that has less capability than the full version. 

You may assume that presenting all three options to your audience gives them more choice and makes it easier for them to reach you, but in fact, it may have the opposite effect. Within CRO and web psychology, you have something called choice paralysis. Choice paralysis occurs when there are too many options to choose from. It can simply be put down to our human programming, we can only really take on board about seven or eight things at one time otherwise we increase our cognitive load, which our brains don’t cope very well with! For example, this could be too many call-to-actions on a page or too many options – we’re asking users to make too many decisions. It just causes confusion and could risk making our audience feel uncomfortable. This situation creates friction with the user, leading to an undesirable user journey. Instead, we want the user journey to be clear, smooth and easy for the customer but also right for your SaaS business. 

So which options are the best? A phone call, a form fill or a free trial? It could actually be a blend of all three… but you’ll need to prioritise. 

Generally, we tend to like things in threes but if we are going to use all three, it’s really important to find a balance and identify which action you want to draw the most attention to. If you do have multiple choices, make sure your CTAs aren’t competing against each other in terms of their colour, their position and how often they appear. It really is all about balance. 

To identify the best conversion path for your business, you need to test each of your conversion paths. Here are a few questions that you should consider: 

  • Is your call-to-action too low?
  • Is it optimised for mobile?
  • Is the colour contrast right?
  • Is your headline enticing?

If you are inviting users to complete various different actions, weight the conversion method that has the most value to your business and design your landing page in a way that gives more attention to that particular CTA. 

Qualifying your users 

We’ve discussed classic methods above but there are some SaaS sites that go a step further, asking users what type of customer they are, for example: 

  • Are you a new or existing customer?
  • Are you interested in product A, B or C?

Depending on the answer, the user will enter a different journey. This approach is a good one to test as it’s likely to have a positive impact on their experience, users are able to get to where they want to be more quickly vs having to browse your whole site to find what they are looking for. 

Social Proof 

Often, users don’t want to be the very first ones to try something. They want to know that there’s evidence that somebody else has had a positive experience from your product or service, it limits risk. 

Social proof is helpful in limiting perceived risk and makes your customers feel more confident in your offering. Testimonials, reviews and case studies are massively important. Websites like Trustpilot and Feefo can help to establish you as an authority within your field. Social proof is something to consider for all business types but is especially important in SaaS, where the product is technical and complex. Awards and partner relationships send further reassurance signals, giving users confidence in your product, reducing friction and increasing motion through the user journey to conversion. 

Here is a good example that is persuasive and signals trust:

Here, we have a really good metric: ‘48,000x professionals.’ It’s bold, it looks convincing but why should we believe it? What helps, here, is the clear directional cue, a simple arrow that we can’t help but follow. This arrow leads to a Trustpilot review that backs up the metric stated, making it more credible. 

Other important factors for SaaS are trust and privacy. A lot of software’s handle huge amounts of data, especially something like a CRM software or project management tool. It’s crucial to consider GDPR. Your businesses must always be mindful that it is collecting somebody else’s data – it’s not your database, it’s your users’ data and you need to communicate how you’re going to keep it safe. Your users need to feel confident that they aren’t entering a scam or that their data isn’t going to be shared with lots of irrelevant, unwanted third-party sites.

User pain points

There are many choice factors that your user will take into consideration when assessing the viability of signing up for your product, and it’s important to address any pain points to help the user make their decision. Some common concerns that SaaS businesses will need to answer include:

  • Is the software complex to use? 
  • How am I going to train all of my staff on it? 
  • How easy is it to migrate from our existing products to this new one?
  • Will we receive multiple licences or is it one for the whole business? Is it a lot of individual ones? 
  • Will it integrate with our existing technology?
  • Does it really do what it says it does?

Addressing the pain points of your potential customers will facilitate a smoother customer journey, and increase conversions. The clarity will help to build trust and your reputation. 

How to start optimising?

There are so many options out there but information architecture is a great place to start when optimising your landing pages. This approach allows you to quickly and clearly layout different testing variants. It consists of drawing out each element that you want to be visible on your landing page in the right order. This is something that you can pass on to your designer or developer to communicate how the structure of your pages should look and all of the information your landing page needs to include.

To have a go at mapping out your own landing page, check out our workshop to get hands-on. Our head of CRO has produced a step-by-step template so that you can be confident all of the crucial elements are being addressed. (Skip to 26:45 minutes for this particular bit!) 

When optimising your homepage or key landing pages, remember to consider all of the below.

  • Your most important conversion methods (consider weighting and real estate)
  • Social proof – your trust and authority signals 
  • Your users pain points – what problems are your users trying to solve?

In terms of the layout of your content, make sure you include:

  • Header information – navigation, login link, CTA’s
  • Hero area 
  • USP bar
  • Content blocks giving information on the service or product
  • Social proof bar – testimonials
  • Form to convert your users

To learn more about how your business can increase its conversions, check out more of our CRO content or get in touch with our team today.