3 Conversion Rate Optimization Mistakes SaaS Companies Make All The Time

3 Conversion Killing Mistakes SaaS Companies Make All The Time

I was recently working on a workshop I gave for a client in Tel Aviv and while looking over my own data, studies and analyzing the websites of hundreds of SaaS companies, I noticed a trend…

A trend of mistakes that SaaS companies are making over and over again…

And on top of that, these aren’t little mistakes that can be ignored. These are things that can make a HUGE difference in how well visitors and users ultimately convert. These are mistakes directly affecting each company’s ’ bottom line (and most have no idea).

In this blog post (and video), that’s what I want to help you with: how you can in your turn avoid these mistakes and significantly increase conversions.

Mistake #1: Stopping marketing efforts after users sign up for a trial

A lot of software companies stop trying to convert users after they sign up for the free trial. It’s crazy, but very common.

If you offer a trial, think about this: what happens after users sign up? What is the conversion process or conversion efforts that will get people to upgrade to paid accounts? Are you putting-in as much work on it as you do to convert visitors to free trials? Because that’s often a major part of the problem.

You see, many SaaS marketers will spend a lot of time and money getting people into a free trial. They’ll pay for ads, they might have referral programs in place, they put emphasis on content marketing, and ultimately focus on getting people into a trial. But then what’s next? Nothing? Onboarding?

This is where the problem lies; too often, users are simply “dumped” into the trial and then left to figure things out on their own. They’re free to play around, click on things, test drive the product and even if they go through an onboarding or short tutorial… most sales efforts have stopped!

Remember – Onboarding is meant to guide users into using the software, but unless you’re able to do it really well, it’s not a sales tool! If you have a killer onboarding sequence, what happens after? How do you get people to become paying customers?

Jobber's Trial

I signed up for the trial, now what? (FYI, this screenshot is probably a perfect example of the “Paradox of Choice”).

The solution will vary on a case by case scenario, so I can’t give you an absolute answer; however, know that you can’t assume people will become paying customers just based on the fact they’ve signed up for your trial… After all, they might never login again after their initial visit.

At the end of the day, my biggest piece of advice is to focus on trial to paid conversions as intensely as you focus on getting website visitors to sign up for a trial (and don’t forget drip marketing is a great way to get people from trials to paid accounts)

Mistake #2: Telling, but not showing

I’m sure you’ve heard this plenty of times: “show, don’t tell”. But if you’re selling a SaaS product, you NEED to show, on your website, actual screenshots and videos of your platform.

What happens when you forget to “show”…

When you don’t “show” how your platform is the right choice for your visitor, it’s much harder for them to understand the problem you’re solving, your advantages, and why they should pick you instead of a competitor. This means that if customers don’t fully understand how you can solve their problems, they might not sign up at all and instead turn to a competitor that provides a better overview of the solution.

Another possibility that is frequently occurring is that you might get signups for your trial from people that aren’t even qualified to become one of your customers. If they can’t get a clear idea how your software will help them, and have doubts on how it works or if they’re going to like the experience, they might sign up, but still be very unfamiliar with your offering.

The above can become an even bigger problem if your trial is not fully optimized to get trial users to convert into paid customers.

The solution? Show, don’t tell.

People want to see what they’re going to use, and today design is more important than ever before. You can have the greatest features and software ever, but don’t just tell me you’ve got that, SHOW me!

GoFormz is showing, not telling

Here, GoFormz included screenshots of their product while supporting the copy. A great thing to do.

Show your software in action, show screenshots that are contextually relevant to what users want to achieve. Don’t display random screenshots that don’t reinforce what your copy is explaining, your copy and images go hand-in-hand.

Visuals. Are. Crucial. Videos, images, charts… don’t be afraid to use them.

Mistake #3: Focusing on the features instead of the benefits

This is something I’ve mentioned frequently and I’ll repeat it over and over again because it affects how you write copy, choose your visuals, and explain your product. Get this wrong and your marketing efforts will be the equivalent of trying to build a house on top of a collapsing foundation.

You might be telling yourself you already know you have to focus on the benefits, but unfortunately, I bet that if I go on your website and read all of your copy I’d find at least a couple examples of this mistake where features would be showcased more that their benefits.

Now, if you have a page or section on your site that lists your features, I’m not telling you to remove it, but you might have to flip things up. For example, let’s say you have an accounting SaaS and one of your features is “automatic categorization of expenses”…

That’s great, but you want to avoid wording your feature in such way. Instead, put yourself in the shoes of your target user and then ask yourself: How is automatic categorization of expenses going to improve my life or facilitate my work? Why should I care?

You want to dig for the benefit of each feature – is it going to save them time? Save them from headaches, annoyances and frustration? Save them money? WHY should they care?

Do the same for every single one of your features. Sell by defining the benefits of each feature, not the feature itself. You might have to review your copy often as it’s easy to have feature-focused copy split through the cracks. I also recommend you A/B test your wording with your audience.

Greenhouse.io features are framed as benefits

HR software Greenhouse.io gets it. Instead of calling their features by strange, obscure names, in this screenshot of their “Features” page they list features by their main benefit.

At the end of the day, this is a game changer. People and companies have a problem they want to solve, and your software is the tool they can use to fix it. But what they really want is not the tool – it’s the OUTCOME, the solution your software will provide.

Focus on the benefits and the desired outcome. Not the features, not your software. And chances are your conversions will improve right away.


  • Focus on getting people to convert from the free trial to paid users, as much as you focus on getting website visitors into your trial
  • Show, don’t tell. Use images, screenshots, charts, videos and other visuals to reinforce your copy and show visitors how your software solve their problems.
  • Continuously sell the outcome and the benefits that come with using your software instead of focusing on the features.

Combine these three solutions to achieve a high-converting SaaS website that will reduce your cost per acquisition and increase ROI.