How to Improve SaaS User Engagement in 2021
2020 was a difficult year of both challenges and opportunities for many businesses – online or not. This period of shifting to global remote work and eCommerce has made SaaS even more in demand than years prior. We are likely to see that trend continue and 2021 is going to be a huge opportunity for SaaS.
Companies are going to continue to work away from the office, business will look for new digital ways to promote and sell online, etc.
As we start the year, it’s time for your team to start looking at how you can improve user engagement to keep users onboard, reduce churn, and attract new users.
Here are some tried and true ways to improve SaaS user engagement in 2021:
1. Introduce and communicate new features to users:
If you’ve seen a recent dip in user engagement or you’re experiencing churn, it might be time to make a change. Showing users that you are continually updating and adding to your product to improve it for them helps to keep users “on their toes”. It also gives them a reason for them to come back to your product, try out the new feature, and rediscover the value of your product.
The key is to communicate new features to users in a way that is effective and get them immediately engaged with your product. Beamer is a great, effective way to do this. Beamer is a changelog that sits within your website or product as a discreet, collapsible sidebar. You can share updates for new features, updates, bug fixes, etc. on your feed. You can include images, videos, GIFs, and CTAs to get users engaging with your new features. To bring users back to your product, you can have push notifications sent every time you post about a new feature. It’s an easy way to announce features and leverage them to improve SaaS user engagement.
2. Ask users what they want:
Users stick with products that work for them! It’s your team’s job to increase engagement by ensuring that your product meets the needs of your customers. To find out what they want, ask them. Feedback is critical to improving your product and supporting users. To get feedback from users, you can send surveys via email or use Beamer NPS to better understand who your satisfied customers are and who is not satisfied. On your Beamer feed, your users can leave their reaction or a comment to a new feature update. Your team can see analytics on reactions, views, and comments on the backend.
Beamer NPS allows you to ask users on a scale of 1 – 10 how satisfied they are with your product and immediately identify your promoters and detractors. Your team can then work with both types of users to better understand what you’re doing right and where you can improve. This information helps your team keep on track in serving your customers with your product.
3. Create social features within your product:
Social media is sticky – it steals hours of our time everyday effortlessly. Adding social elements to your product, even if it’s a more technical SaaS, can help to bring a similar sticky effect and increase user engagement. Social elements in SaaS can include:
- Encouraging users to invite their colleagues as team members.
- Creating team-oriented dashboards,
- Including messaging and co-working options in your interface
- Forums where your larger user base can interact and ask questions
- Ask promoters to share their opinion or review in social media: ask them to participate in a case study, quotes to include on your website, or incentivize them sharing with their network with perks like a discount, etc.
Any way to get users to interact with each other in relation to your product can add an element of “stickiness” to boost SaaS user engagement. Other sticky elements can be notifications, messages, and in-app alerts. This way, as users are on your product, they are more likely to spend more time and are guided to features.
4. Incorporate gamification where you can:
In addition to social features, gamification is always a good idea for increasing engagement. Competition drives action. For SaaS, you can center gamification around validation or productivity. Here are some examples:
- Points systems for productivity and task completing
- Likes and comments on team activity and messages
- Productivity/usage reports via email and within your product
- Measuring and improving KPIs over time (for example NPS).
5. Make help and support readily available:
If your users experience an issue with your product and it’s not easily resolved or they cannot learn a solution on their own, they can count it as points against your product and begin to churn. To prevent this and get users engaging with your product on their own, have your team or helpful support content available to keep users educated on all your product’s functionality. For example, you can have a help center with articles, videos, and guides on how to use your product. It’s also good to have a chat support in your product where users can reach your team directly.
6. Be personalized and targeted in your communication with customers and leads:
Customers are responding less and less to mass communication. The more personalized you are, the more likely they will engage. Communication like email and notifications should be kept for important things that are relevant to the user. Automated, targeted notifications and messages based on users actions within your product is best. When your company is “guiding” users through their actions and experience with your product, users will be more engaged. For example, when users take first action on a new feature, have an automated notification to more information about how to use the feature. With Beamer, you can use segmented notifications on Beamer feeds to show users only updates that are relevant to them based on language, location, demographic, and past behavior on your site.
7. Include time-sensitive features that create a sense of urgency:
A sense of urgency keeps users and leads on their toes and ready to take action faster than without. To create a sense of urgency to improve user engagement, you want to include time-sensitive features that require action within a certain amount of time. For example, have tasks or messages expire to inspire faster action. Anytime there is a sense of FOMO, fear of missing out, users are more likely to take action. Some examples are offering flash deals and content that is time sensitive like forums. Learn more on how to leverage FOMO to increase sales.
8. Strengthen the authority of your brand:
When your brand holds a certain image and reputation of being important or helpful, you will naturally drive more engagement. Think of the difference between getting a spam email notification and an Instagram DM notification. One holds more weight. To do this, be important and helpful to users! Send them content, notifications, and information that is useful and relevant for them. Position your brand as authoritative in your space so that when you “speak”, they listen. You can hold webinars and podcasts on how to solve typical problems in your space and invite experts in the industry to increase brand exposure and credibility. Learn more about how to improve your brand awareness here.
9. Leverage video content:
Video is naturally more engaging. Users spend 88% more time on a website that has video. Video generates 1200% more shares than images or text. Where you can include video is likely to increase the amount of time spent on your site or in your product and also better explain your product to users. The more time they spend and the better they understand your product, the more engaged they will be. Use video for:
- Tutorials on how to use your product
- Tutorials on new features and demonstrating updates
- Case studies
- To support written content
You can also make it even easier by using GIFs to illustrate new features, updates, how-tos, etc. It doesn’t have to be complicated – it’s the clear visual element that counts! On your Beamer feed, you can include video and GIFs to better illustrate your updates like new features, bug fixes, new content, etc. and get users attention.
10. Incentivize usage:
Similarly to gamification, you can incentivize the use and sharing of your product to increase user engagement and organic growth. Plenty of companies have successfully done this. Dropbox in the beginning encouraged users to invite other users and add members to their team to get additional storage space for free. For top users, invite them to a special tier where they get a discount on their monthly subscription, access to certain features or forums, etc. For example, Yelp top reviewers get discounts on restaurants for their usage of the product.
When looking to increase SaaS user engagement, it’s important to look at how users are used to interacting with apps and products and each other online. Going with what users are comfortable with and their natural engagements with products will help you not force technology on people but rather make your product a natural extension that makes their process easier. For an easy way to increase SaaS user engagement by keeping customers informed in an in context way, try Beamer.