How Aaron Krall Increased a Products Activation Rate by 400%

Posted on August 20, 2019

Did you know that 60% of users who signup for a SaaS product only logs in once? That’s crazy but speaks to how vital your onboarding experience is.

That’s why we decided to hang out with SaaS onboarding expert Aaran Krall and get his advice on how we can build a better experience for our users.

Warning! The following episode is jam-packed with actionable tips from Aaron so there are a bunch of things you can implement straight away including:

– How you can reengage users, who went through your free trial but never upgraded to a paid product.

– Why you can double revenue through customer research, and how to conduct that research.

– And a fantastic example of the process Aaron used to increase a products activation rate from 20% to a whopping 80%.

Happy Growing!


Time Stamped Notes

[3:50] Aaron tells us about his journey from marketer to SaaS onboarding specialist and how he started the successful facebook group – ‘SaaS Growth Hacks.’

[6:00] Aaron first started working with SaaS companies to reengage their free trial users. But, he kept running into a problem of reengaging those users and sending them back into a trial with a poor onboarding experience, so it didn’t improve the overall numbers.

[8:25] A lot of users who sign up for a free trial and don’t convert are either not qualified, or not a good fit for your product. But there is a percentage of users who are the right type of customers for your product, and they just don’t see the value in the product right away.

For these users, Aaron uses the ‘triangle of insight.’ He focuses on the problem those users have and sends emails that share insight around that problem and a way to solve it. His goal is to build a relationship with the software company.

[13:35] Aaron decided to move into onboarding and focus on activation over attempting to reengage users because there was a lot more upside. It’s a lot harder to reengage users after they’ve already made decisions about your product.

[15:30] There are a couple of critical steps in Aaron’s process around onboarding:

1. Identify your top 4%of customers who are generating most of your revenue and ask them about their experience with your tool and business. You want to understand what they find most valuable.

2. Get your analytics installed. Aaron’s favorite is InnerTrends, which shows you the most common actions a user takes before converting.

For companies with complex products, their best path to success with onboarding is to focus on a smaller subset of their features that drive most of the product usage.

[21:25] Aaron gives an example of a client he worked for recently, where he managed to increase the conversion rate of a free user to starting a trial from 20% to 80%. He walks us through the entire process of how he did it.

[25:45] Aaron develops his emails using the rule of one. Each email focuses on one crucial feature and the benefits of that feature with one clear CTA focused on getting started with that feature.

[27:15] The basic formula for the onboarding email is – connect a feature to a benefit, explain what the benefit is and how they activate it, and then explain what part of the tool will help them accomplish that benefit.

[31:15] One of the quickest methods Aaron uses to get feedback is adding a chat survey to the websites home page, pricing page and within the app asking users what problem they’re looking for solve.

[32:10] Aaron believes the quickest way to double your revenue is to double what you know about your ideal customer. Aaron does this by talking to those customers about their problems. He’ll transcribe those conversations and highlight key phrases.

[35:10] Aaron’s favorite methods to onboard users within the app are

1. Checklists – The items you include in checklists are focused on making the user more successful with your product, not things you want a user to do e.g., signup for a paid plan.

2. HotSpots – These allow you to draw the attention of users to specific parts of the product.


– Aaron on Twitter / LinkedIn
– Kieran on Twitter / LinkedIn / Medium
– Scott on Twitter / Linked / Medium