SaaS Business

Five Ways SaaS Companies Can Use Nickelled Launchers to Improve Activation and Reduce Churn

September 28, 2020

Since we introduced Nickelled Launchers earlier this year, we’ve seen our clients use them in ever-more creative ways, including a few which have surprised us.

The easy, no-code approach we’ve taken with Launchers means that running quick experiments to improve activation is a cinch – and so in this article, we wanted to take a look at some of our favourite ways that Nickelled Launchers can be used to improve product activation and decrease churn.

Expand usage with Nickelled Notification Bars

Running a SaaS app and keen to cement usage inside your customers? Us too! This one is particularly useful for SaaS companies who bill on a per-seat basis, but increasing the number of active users from a single customer almost always decreases churn.

With Nickelled Launchers, you can display a notification bar which prompts single-user accounts to invite colleagues, using the audience rules. Just pass in something like ‘company_user_count’ in your Nickelled javascript snippets, and then set up a Launcher targeting clients who have a ‘company_user_count’ of one.

Notification bars are normally used to display a guided tour, but you can also set them to link to a custom URL. So, point the notification bar’s call-to-action at your user invite page, and hey presto – your single-user clients will get a custom, dismissible prompt to invite their colleagues!

Re-engage returning users with a Mission Dock

The Mission Dock, a widget of up to five guided tours which ‘floats’ above your app, is normally used to welcome new users – but it can also be used to bring unengaged users up to speed.

To achieve this, set up a new Mission Dock which highlights a couple of great new features you’ve launched in the last six months, which customers who signed up a long time ago may not know about. Make sure you set some specific targeting in audience rules – you can either filter by signup date or by user ID (high/lower), but you want to make sure that you’re only showing to aged users who have some experience with the product.

Then, send a mailer to your existing userbase, teasing one or two of the new features. When the users log in, those most relevant users will be shown the Mission Dock highlighting them all, and will be able to open guided tours to run through the process of using each one. When they’ve seen all of the tours, the Mission Dock will disappear (or they can close it themselves).

Use Pulse Buttons to flag profitable upsells

This is something that works well if there’s a feature or section of your app which drives incremental revenue but is hidden away. Expanding feature usage past the basics is a great way to reduce churn, as it allows your business to provide more demonstrable value to clients.

To make this tactic work, use the Pulse Button launcher to add a pulsing dot next to the feature’s link on a highly-trafficked page, in order to draw attention to it. Ensure you use audience rules to target only users who aren’t already subscribed to the feature, as well as page rules to ensure that the Pulse Button only appears on valuable pages.

Link the Pulse Button to a brief guided tour designed to really ‘sell’ the new feature. This might take a bit of thinking, and you’ll probably need to record a new guide, since your focus should be on selling the benefits rather than educating users. But you want this tour to really showcase what your feature can do and why it’s valuable to the customer.

At the end of the tour, make sure you give a clear CTA – link out to a mailto: email address for your sales team so that users can request an upgrade, for example. You want to drive the user to take action for the upgrade as soon as they’ve seen the guided tour.

Since Pulse Buttons disappear after they’re clicked, this method should help you to advertise the feature to all users, but only once per user, thus helping to avoid message fatigue.

Use Notification Bars to offer discounts

Switching users from monthly to annual billing is one of the surest ways for SaaS companies to reduce churn. So this one is simple – set up a Notification Bar which advertises a discount (perhaps 10%) for users who will switch to annual billing.

Ensure that you’re targeting only users who pay monthly (you should pass this in as an audience ruke attribute), and optionally, only users who can make billing decisions.

Link the Notification Bar’s call to action to your billing page and then let it run across your site until the user dismisses it (or upgrades). You may also want to add another Notification Bar that’s actually on the billing page too (using a page rule), to give users that final nudge.

Roll out the red carpet for invited users

All Nickelled Launchers can be fired when specific URL parameters are present (e.g. first_time_user=true). This opens up a world of first-run possibilities, but it’s especially relevant when trying to quickly activate new users or invited users.

A particularly popular method of handling new users is to autoplay a guide when they land on a page, ensuring that they know the fastest way to value.

To do this, create a short (<10 steps, since autoplay guides are intrusive for users) guide and create an autoplay launcher which is set to play it only once. In the page rules, create a URL match rule which looks for your specific URL parameter (e.g. invited_user=true) and then set the guide live. 

Assuming your app is successfully appending the URL parameter when a new invitee joins, the new user will see the autoplay guide immediately, helping to shorten the time to value from your app.

What did we miss?

These five simple suggestions can all have an immediate impact on the retention and profitability of any SaaS app. But there are many ways to use Nickelled Launchers to improve your company’s user experience – what are your favourites?