Users signing up to your product but *not* using it? Here's how to activate them

Users signing up to your product but *not* using it? Here's how to activate them

You have a user activation problem 🀬

Did you know that only 20% of visitors that sign up to your product or service go on to use it in a meaningful way, ie activate. If you're facing this issue you have a 'leaky funnel' and it's critical that you fix it before you continue marketing your product.

I've created this infographic which captures the common techniques used by scaling startups and indie makers to activate more users, and the tools you can implement to help. Below, I show you how to identify if you have an activation problem, and key activation techniques.

You can also use my landing page conversion calculator.

What's your current activation rate?

Use my landing page calculator to understand your SaaS activation rate.

Activation benchmarks in SaaS

It's extremely difficult to share SaaS activation benchmarks, because the definition of activated is different for every product. I asked 5 founders about their activation rates, and for clarity, detailed their activated definition too. Here's what they said:

  • A form product to collect feedback. Activation event = 1 form completion. Rate 12%
  • A product to create and share short videos. Their activation event is to record their first video. Activation is 25% within one day and 30% within 7 days.
  • A product to collect user feedback. Activation event =. Rate X%.

Activate more users: techniques 🀠

Ask users why they're not activating

Before you implement any changes to your product onboarding, it's key to understand why users didn't activate. It's as simple as asking your users. Send recent sign ups a personalised video message with Tella, point out they didn't complete the activation action in your app, and try to explore why. This isn't going to give you a complete picture, but will definitely give you insights to inform next steps.

Remove dead ends in your product

Make sure all screens in your app have a clear next step, particularly your early screens or dashboard. Don't overwhelm your visitors with choices and don't leave dead ends. You can identify these by watching recordings of visitors in your app and seeing where they exit or stop. Try Hotjar, it's free.

Add a product tour

A product tour is a visual guide to the most important areas of your product. New sign ups take the tour to learn about the key functions of your app. Use Driftly to set one up in seconds, without code.

Tip! The tour should follow the order in which the user will adopt the features, and you should re-state the benefits of each feature.

Add an onboarding checklist

Often paired with a product tour, an onboarding checklist is a list of actions a new user should complete to get setup. That could include updating details, adding an integration, or watching a video. Your visitors will love to work through these, and you can even incentivise completion - with extra credit or an extended free trial.

Show how other customers achieved success

If we can inspire new users, they will want to activate regardless of how confusing your app is. By showcasing your current customers who are seeing success, you can increase the desire of new sign ups to explore and activate in your app.

Tip! Collect stories from successful customers using Senja and share them with new sign ups.

Setup triggered onboarding emails

Most founders are aware that new users should receive a sequence of emails highlighting features within the app. But smart founders use triggered or behaviour based emails.

These emails are sent based on actions users do or do not complete in your app. This means a user never receives an email about an advanced feature if they're yet to complete a critical action, and your sequence is always timely and relevant. You can use Encharge.

Use templates to get new users to success faster

Your app is built to help your new user reach some form of success, and templates can help them do that more quickly.

Whether it's pre-made images in Canva, or example boards in Trello, templates show users life with your product, and remove friction. Introduce them in your app!

Offer a free trial extension

People are busy. They'll often sign up for your product just to take a quick look, or with the intent to come back later. However, often when they return their free trial or credits have expired.

Offer people the option to email you and extend their trial, like Trevor.

Concierge support and account migration

If your tool is complex to setup, or the user has made a big commitment within their existing tool, you'll want to help them migrate to you.

Migration can often be a time-consuming and costly process. Can you both support the process manually, and build tools or guides to help your new customer? See Active Campaign who offer free account migration.

Tip! Don't forget to ensure you implement a knowledge base so your new users can self serve too.

Personalise their onboarding experience

Find out what your new signup's most critical goal is during the sign up - by asking.

Then personalise their onboarding experience so it's focused specifically on that goal: change the emails, product tour, and templates they see, so that they are totally focused on new sign ups' goals.