Software as a service is a booming industry. The average organization uses 110 SaaS applications as of 2021, and that will only increase if current trends continue. All that growth gives SaaS companies a promising opportunity, but it also means competition is rising.
As more new industry players emerge and fight for users’ attention, SaaS businesses must do more to stand out. One of the most important parts of this is improving user engagement. There are many ways to do this effectively, as well as a few things to avoid in making the most of the experience.
Why Improve User Engagement?
User engagement is a crucial metric for SaaS businesses. If a service or the company that provides it isn’t engaging, customers could quickly grow tired of it and look for an alternative. By contrast, it's more likely to retain customers if it grabs their attention and drives frequent use.
The more engaging an SaaS company is, the happier its clients will be, driving higher profits. That’s beneficial in any circumstance, but especially in an increasingly competitive market. It’s vital to stand out from the crowd and develop a reputation for connecting with customers.
Engaged users will also provide more data to guide future choices. You’ll have more usage information to see how people use their software and likely more feedback about where to improve.
Other factors may draw more customers to a platform, but engagement keeps them there. Without high user engagement, you won’t see sustained growth. Maintaining active users is essential for making it in this industry.
How to Improve User Engagement
Most companies understand the importance of keeping users engaged. How to achieve that, however, is often less clear.
While the way people use various platforms will differ, a few consistent themes drive engagement. Capitalizing on these can help guide and sustain business for SaaS companies. Here are five steps to improving user engagement. Be sure to take advantage of them and reap the benefits.
1. Optimize UX
One of the most important factors for SaaS engagement is the user experience (UX). A stunning 90% of app users say they’ve stopped using an app because of poor performance. SaaS solutions must have an easy-to-use, attractive interface to keep people engaged.
Quick load times and cross-platform performance are some of the most common areas where UX fails. Today’s digital-native users will abandon an app or webpage that doesn’t load quickly, and 83% of people say a seamless experience across devices is very important. These factors should take center stage for a good UX.
It’s also important to keep designs uncomplicated and easy to navigate and read. That will help people use your platform more seamlessly. Remember, the best UX is one people don’t really notice because it doesn’t get in the way of what they’re doing.
2. Use Videos
Another helpful step in improving SaaS engagement is capitalizing on video media. Blocks of text can be boring, and boredom is the enemy. The more senses content appeals to, the better, and video is more captivating than most.
Live videos are a great way to show off a product. On top of engaging the senses, they give genuine insight into your offerings and how they work. That will help users understand the software they’re using, which is crucial for ongoing use.
Post video ads, demonstrations, tips and tricks, and new feature updates. While not every piece of content needs to be video, using this medium frequently will appeal to people on a deeper level. Make sure to post them across various social channels, too.
3. Create a Blog
Blogs are another great way to maximize engagement. These appeal to a user base's interests and needs, connecting with them more personally. Think of them as a way to show people you’re just like them and care about what they do.
Blogs are also a great way to sell to users without feeling like an advertisement. A car parts blog may read like advice from one classic car lover to another, but the whole thing reinforces the idea of buying items the site sells.
Your blogs don’t have to be promotional, but it’s a good idea to keep them related to your industry or target market. Look at what your audience talks about to gauge their interests and questions, then base your blog posts on that. Talk about what they want to know, and you’ll gain their attention.
4. Personalize Content
Another great way to boost user engagement is through personalization. What better way to appeal to different users’ needs and interests than to customize content to each person? As a bonus, 44% of consumers make repeated purchases because of personalized content.
Automated emails and other communication should address specific users by name, but personalization shouldn’t stop there. Targeted marketing campaigns for add-ons or new features that some users may like more than others are another good idea.
You can also leave personalization to the users themselves. Your SaaS solution should let people adjust it to their specific needs and preferences. If they can form it to be the solution they want, they’ll be far more likely to keep using it.
5. Incentivize Engagement
As straightforward as it seems, you can effectively drive engagement by offering rewards for it. One of the best ways to do this is through gamification. Create a tier or reward system for reaching certain milestones while using your software or run a promotional competition with enticing prizes.
Referral programs are another way to promote engagement. Referring a friend engages current users through gamification while reaching out to new ones. Since referred customers are more likely to buy, this is also a handy way to drive new revenue.
Incentives like this are some of the most effective ways to entice action from users.
What to Avoid to Maximize Engagement
These five recommended steps can help any SaaS company improve its user engagement. Effective action isn’t just about what you should do, though. It’s also about what you shouldn’t.
Just as some steps can improve engagement, others will hinder it. Knowing what these are can help you maximize your efforts here. Here are three common mistakes to avoid when trying to drive engagement. Avoid these at all costs.
1. Brushing Over the Onboarding Process
Onboarding is an essential part of a good SaaS experience, but one that often goes overlooked. If you skim over this part of the user journey, people may not understand how to fully use your platform. Consequently, they may become confused, frustrated or ignorant of what the service can do for them, leaving it for an alternative.
This process starts with a great onboarding email to welcome new users and introduce them to the service. The first time they boot up the software, a quick guide should show them the most important features. Make sure they know where they can look for more help, too.
Chatbots are a great way to improve the onboarding experience. Automated messaging services can pop up after certain actions to help guide new users through using a feature for the first time.
2. Overloading Users
While it’s important to give new users all the info they need, it’s possible to go too far with that. You don’t want to overload them with too much information.
Remember that the best user experiences are seamless. Repeated pop-ups, long blocks of text and lengthy introduction processes can interfere with that. Streamline your content and SaaS service to avoid overloading users with information, which can stand in the way of actually using your software.
This is especially important when it comes to email. Customers today can suffer from email fatigue, as evidenced by the 16% delete-before-reading rate in 2018, which has only grown over time. If you flood customers’ inboxes, they’ll start to think of it more as spam than genuine conversation.
3. Ignoring Customer Feedback
Most SaaS vendors have some kind of customer feedback system in place. Overlooking what users say on these networks is a crucial misstep in engagement.
Providing feedback itself is a form of engagement. If users see or feel that this communication is going unnoticed or unappreciated, they’ll feel the same about the rest of their actions. You can combat these feelings by responding to positive and negative feedback quickly.
Encourage and reward feedback. Customize responses to reviews and suggestions. If you engage with users in this area, they’ll connect with you in others. These conversations also provide crucial data for improving the user experience to drive further engagement.
A Little Engagement Goes a Long Way
You need to do more to stand out as the SaaS market grows increasingly crowded and competitive. Keeping users engaged will help you maintain success and attract new customers.
This is vital for companies that want to get ahead in the industry and make a difference to people using their service. Following these five steps and avoiding these three mistakes will help you in that process.
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