Optimizing the Activation Rate in your SaaS App

8th Aug 2012
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The previous article was about upgrade funnels in a web application. To recap, the funnel consists for 4 broad steps like this:

Once you have defined your funnel and started collecting data, you can then optimise parts of the funnel. In this article, let us look at the Activation step.

Activation is when a user starts using your product. Surprisingly, there are many instances where users take the trouble of signing up, but then dont actually do anything. Because most signups are free, it is very easy for a user to simply close the browser and go away if they find even the smallest frustration with your app.

Get rid of confirmation emails

For many web apps, the initial sign up flow looks like this

In this flow, the Confirmation Email step is a significant hurdle. They might type their email address wrong and never get the email. Their ISP might block the email. It might go into Spam/Junk. Even if they get it, the act of leaving your app, and switching over to their email software is a speed breaker. By that time, they may decide to check out your app later and never do it. A large % of users will sign up and never login.

A better way is to allow the user to login, without having to verify their email. Look at what Twitter does. They even allow the user to change the email in case they mis-typed it when signing up.

Remove humps in the initial steps a user must perform

This sounds obvious, but it is not easy to do! Look carefully at anything that could have the user stopping in their tracks. Sometime all you need is to make minor changes, like reorganising the user interface to make the first task more prominent. Other times it could mean completely reworking the flow for initial steps.

We faced such a decision when we built Tour My App. In order to implement Tour My App on a site, our users needed to integrate some code into their pages. Unfortunately, this step was a speed breaker for the user. They needed to take this code, give it to developers to do the integration, a process that could take weeks. How many did this? Very, very few. Once they left our site, it was gone from their mind, and most users never got around to coming back.

We resolved this by building a custom Google Chrome extension that would allow a user to use Tour My App without having to perform the integration. The sole purpose of the extension is to change the initial product flow by eliminating the integration step at the beginning. The user could now experience the product immediately after logging in. Once hooked, they are more likely to make sure the integration happens.

About Siddharta Govindaraj

Siddharta is the founder of Tour My App, a product that allows web application developers increase user activation, engagement and conversion by creating step by step guided tours through their application.

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