Part of being an introvert means I’m no good at small talk. Parties are hard for me because I don’t know what a surface-level conversation looks like.
I want to dive in, tell you everything, examine, break down, dissect.
Which is exactly why I struggle with the intros to articles like this one.
Because I just want to tell you what you need to know.
So I’m doing it.
Diving in with the truth right up front.
(Was that enough small talk? Okay.)
You HAVE to sell your product through email.
Think about it like this:
Your brand new *potential* customers aren’t yet actual customers just because they signed up for a free trial. They’re building a new habit… and it’s your job to help them.
Onboarding is the personal training of app usage – they simply can’t motivate themselves to do it alone and, left to their own devices, your customers are sliding back into their old habits.
They need you.
And you need them.
If you aren’t selling your customers on upgrading from a free trial to a paid account… what are you even doing, m’friends?
Today we’re looking at Venngage for some kind of answer.
Venngage, if you haven’t heard of it, is the easiest way on the Internet to build infographics. But do their free trial customers know that? Or are they back in Canva doing it the hard way since that’s the only habit they’ve ever known?
Let’s find out.
In early January, I signed up for a Venngage trial. After seeing the incomparable Nadya Khoja, Venngage’s Chief Growth Officer, speak a few times over the last year, this handy tool was on my mind when a local business owner asked me about a potential business idea of creating infographics.
It’s been a quiet month, tbh.
3 team members introduced
4 emails based on my customer journey
On the surface, you might be thinking that Venngage did a pretty good job.
Let’s talk about what’s working really well to kick things off on a positive foot, shall we?
Your Email Potential
That last point in the stats up there ^^^? Yeah that’s crucial. Venngage knows that every customer is on a different journey and needs help in different ways.
Possible customer journeys here could include:
Potential To Upgrade:
- Creating an account and making an infographic right away
- Downloading the infographic within the first 24 hours of having an account
- Creating more than one infographic in a week
- Publishing to the public community
- Adding their brand colors and fonts to the “My Brand” page
- Navigating to the “Subscription” page inside the Account settings
Potential To Engage:
- Creating an account and building an infographic that week
- Creating more than one infographic in 2 weeks
- Chatting with support on an issue
- Design shared with them
Potential To Churn:
- Creating an account but never using it
- Building an infographic but never publishing it
- Building an infographic but never downloading it
- Building just one infographic in 3+ weeks and that’s it
And those are just based on interactions with the app – we haven’t even touched on the emails yet! See the levels of opportunity we’re talking about?
Venngage follows me on my own (inactive) path with emails like:
^^^ look at that killer copy!
And this one:
^^^ playing to the fact that we all want the easy way out (read: templates)? Love it.
And then they try again, this time with peer pressure:
And the pace is right on, too.
I tell all of my clients that with Freemium it’s a good idea to hit your new users early and often.
Remember, we’re helping them build a new habit and remember this new product every time they sit down to do the thing.
And let’s not forget one really important thing about Venngage:
They do more than infographics!
So if I’m not building infographics, why not hit me up with some of the other opportunities like email headers (helloooooo) roadmaps, resumes, cards, ebooks…. you get the idea.
Look at everything I can do with Venngage (but had no idea about based on the emails alone):
So… there’s some opportunity there.
But how do we build that habit? How can we help our new Freemium users realize we’re the solution they’ve been looking for?
Them: Okay, time to create that infographic. Now, let me just fire up Photoshop.
Venngage: Photoshop is overkill! We can cut your design time in half.
Them: That’s right! I have that free Venngage account. Lemme head over there.
Them, two days later: Email time!
Venngage: Hi! Just wanted to tell you your new infographic you built with us is awesome. Want to do another?
Them: No thanks, maybe later.
Their boss: This blog post needs an infographic!
Them: You’re right. But building that in Photoshop takes forever. I only have 30 minutes left in the day. Hm. :checks email:
Them: Right! Venngage. Infographic. Let me get it done and impress Boss Lady.
Them, 3 days later: I need another infographic for this presentation later today. Time for Venngage!
Okay so that’s simplified to the point that it’s comical but what I’m saying here is that it’s up to you to help your customers remember you exist.
It’s an implementation intention built by you, for your customers.
In James Clear’s book Atomic Habits, he talks about implementation intentions.
“…what researchers refer to as an implementation intention, which is a plan you make beforehand about when and where to act. That is, how you intend to implement a particular habit.”
He goes on to share how you can build your own implementation intentions:
“Broadly speaking, the format for creating an implementation intention is: When situation X arises, I will perform response Y.”
That situation X response Y is exactly what you can do with email.
Think about it.
If you’re creating an implementation intention for yourself it can sound something like “I will meditate for 5 minutes every day at noon in the chair in my living room.”
When you’re creating an implementation intention for someone else, you have to go to where they are.
And where is everyone? All the time? Ever?
In their inbox.
By showing up in their inbox – where they already are – you’re putting your brand in front of them early and often to support them in creating a new intention.
You are the intention. They are the implementation.
So what about Venngage?
Are they building that intention?
By showing up in my inbox 6 times over the course of 4 weeks, it’s on the low-yet-still-acceptable end of intention building.
Would I have more emails had I engaged more with the product?
Only Venngage knows that at this point.
What I have in my inbox is a solid attempt at reaching out to a wildly inactive customer who is ready to churn.
Run Your Numbers
Now let’s talk about that “churn” statement there.
You might be thinking “Val, you had a free account. It a Freemium service. You can still use Venngage. You haven’t churned at all. You’re still there.”
And you might be right.
But do this for me:
If you have a Freemium product, go find out how many people are currently on a free plan and also inactive.
There’s a lot of them, right?
What if you could convert just 1% of those customers to paid accounts?
What if, with a little bit of loving support, you could help them change their habits and move over to your platform from whatever other nonsense they’re attempting to do?
Churnbuster’s retention calculator (a handy tool I highly recommend bookmarking) tells me that if your MRR is $100k, you’re looking at another $11,700 in monthly recurring revenue.
Over the course of a year that’s $140,400.
Let that one sink in.
And since paying attention to your churn and turning it into retention can average anywhere from a 5% to 25% increase, you can see that it does, in fact, make a big difference when you flip that switch.
So back to those emails.
After a final friendly yet forceful attempt to move me into action:
Venngage succeeds in getting me to log into my account and create a project.
I’m now climbing back up that slippery slide from Potential Churn to Potential To Engage.
I’m on my way to the top of that mountain: Potential To Upgrade!
But that’s where the emails stop.
And I’m left with my practiced-just-once habit and no implementation intention.
See, I haven’t yet built up the Venngage muscle and one more email that seems like it’s for everyone just isn’t cutting it for me.
(I’ll also say, as an email strategist, that it’s very clear to me based on the template/layout and sender that I’m no longer in an onboarding sequence and I have a problem with the disconnect here but that’s for another post. Onward!)
What I would have loved to have seen Venngage do – because they were already doing it so well! – is to carry on the personalized journey with me.
Congratulate me on finishing my infographic.
Explain what publishing it can do for me.
Tell me why I should share it.
Think about what matters to me and deliver on it. By email.
Because I’m still learning this whole Venngage thing and I need you to help me help you. And you can do that by putting yourself in my shoes, considering the benefit to me, and delivering your best (automated) support to get me to a win.
Ultimately, I love email because it’s about uniting brands and customers. It’s about seeing people as they are. It’s what support truly is. Showing up for people in the most selfless way possible, ready to be of service.
And, ya know, it’s about making money too.
(Related: if you can make $100k+ by raising your retention rates just 1%, my ~$15k projects are starting to sound pretty affordable….)
So let’s wrap this one up for now with – you guessed it – an infographic built in Venngage!
Want an impact like this for your own brand?
I work with a limited number of SaaS companies to increase conversions and reduce churn through onboarding and ongoing retention emails.
If you’re serious about seeing conversions go up and customer churn go down, click here and complete the form. I’ll be in touch with our next steps!
Want more on email marketing?
Get the Open Rates Newsletter:
See weekly dissections of real campaigns showing up in inboxes everywhere.
Just enter your email below to get emails about emails. Meta.