Reduce SaaS churn

Did you know that inactivity is the number one predictor of churn?

If only there was something you could do to reduce churn…

Oh, wait! There is. In-app messaging. That’s the secret to reducing churn that comes from inactivity.

With carefully composed and timed in-app messages, you can keep your SaaS users active and moving towards their objectives. You can also use these in-app messages to get to know your user and provide personalized insight into how to best use your product for their needs. Learn about your users while teaching them about you.

In this post, let’s discuss how to effectively use in-app messages to engage, educate, and retain.

Here are 10 best practices to follow with your in-app messaging.

Why Use In-App Messages in Your SaaS?

In-app messages drive engagement.

In a study conducted by the Localytics Data Team, researchers found that apps which send in-app messages enjoy up to 3 times higher user retention rates (compared to apps that do not send in-app messages).

Unfortunately, very few SaaS effectively use in-app messages to engage their users. In-app messages are often used as an afterthought if used at all. However, in-app messages can provide immediate help to your users and encourage them to stay the course. No one wants to feel like they’re tackling a task alone, and your friendly, helpful in-app messages can provide just the right dose of companionship to help the user along.

Get to Know Your Users

In order to craft the very best in-app messages, you’ve got to learn more about your users. Find out who your users are and what they’re hoping to accomplish with your app.

Sure, you can guess, but the best way to unlock these answers is to simply ask. Survey your users and ask dead-simple questions to discover more about their pain points, wants, and goals. When you have a user who churns, don’t forget to conduct an exit interview.

Also, monitor your users’ behaviors within your app. Watch how they interact with your content, specifically your calls to action.

Do they perform a task right away? Do they wait? A lack of urgency can be remedied by using words like “now” or “don’t miss out.”

Do they visit the knowledgebase? This may indicate that the steps aren’t as easy to follow as you think.

Monitoring in-app behavior and conducting quick interviews can help you figure out what type of messages to leave for your users.

Craft User Personas

Armed with what you know, create user personas for your app. The last thing you want to do is create one generic message for all of your user personas. If you have four different user types, you likely have four different pain points, goals, and behaviors. It’s madness to send one message to all four of these users. Different users have different needs, and your in-app messages should reflect that.

Instead of sending just one message type, find out who your users are and then create user personas to illustrate them. It will then be easier to craft messages for different personas when you know exactly what points to hit and features to highlight to reach a specific goal.

Segment Your Customers

Reduce SaaS churn

Piggybacking off of the last point, it’s a good idea to segment your users so that you can send more personalized content to them. Once you’ve created user personas, then create unique messages for each user persona. Doing so will increase message open rates and decrease unsubscribes.

Remember that your message should align with the user’s goal.

Focus on Onboarding

When creating in-app messages, the first and easiest place to start is with onboarding. Properly welcome your new user by creating a series of messages to guide them.

Keep in mind that onboarding should be completed within the first 48 hours after signing up for your app. If not prompted to explore the app, your users can lose their excitement pretty quickly and when that happens, churn is not too far behind.

You should jump on that initial enthusiasm by getting them into the app and using it right away.

Use in-app messages to provide a step-by-step guide for your app. You can also gamify the process so that the user is rewarded for accomplishing small tasks (such as setting up their account or completing an action). Use your in-app messages to create an interactive walkthrough or attach videos to your messages for an easy-to-follow tutorial.

Choose Triggers

Not all in-app messages are created equal. Trigger-based messages are the best type. These types of message enjoy higher engagement. So, instead of simply sending a message at the start of a session, tie your messages to a meaningful event or future goal.

By selecting triggers, you can automate your engagement. You’re able to provide an on-time response without lifting a finger. Compose all of your messages at one time, select the right trigger, and then continue to engage your users without actually having to do anything further on your part.

Personalize the Customer Journey

In addition to crafting user personas, it’s also important to know your customer’s journey from prospect to customer to brand advocate. Once you know the sum of individual experiences that your customer is likely to experience with you, start creating messages for each milestone.

Wait on them with personalized content that helps them progress along the journey. Celebrate key user milestones, such as anniversaries or unlocking key features in your app.

Reduce SaaS churn

Let Users Control In-App Notifications

In addition to setting up trigger-based messages, consider providing ultimate notification control to your users. Some users simply may not enjoy receiving a lot of in-app messages, especially experienced users. Give them the option to reduce the number of in-app messages they see. You can also let them decide how the notifications show within the app, such as a pop-up, a banner, or a full-screen help.

Other Ways to Keep in Touch

In-app messaging is not the only way to stay in touch with your users. You can also use the following communication tools to reduce SaaS churn:

Leave Messages in Your App’s Inbox

Instead of always relying on a pop-up in-app message, consider leaving a message in your user’s in-app inbox (if applicable). This message can provide valuable but not urgent information that the user can act on at a later time.

The danger with leaving inbox messages is that your user may not notice the message. To draw your user’s attention to the inbox, use animation or bold color contrast.

Continue to Use Email

Email isn’t dead! We love email. It’s especially useful for reactivating users who’ve gone silent, but email can be used to nudge any user back to your app.

Use email to highlight key product features, and show how others use your product. This can inspire new ways for your user to interact with your app.

Use Push Notifications

For mobile and desktop users, push notifications can be used to increase app activity. Pique your user’s curiosity by sharing tips, counting down to specific personal goals, and reminding the user to jump back into the app. Unlike in-app messages, push notifications are dependent on the user signing up for them.

Additional Resources

Before you go, check out these related posts:

Don’t forget to follow these 10 best practices with your in-app messaging.

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