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Tips And Strategies For Developers To Help Transition Users From Free To Paid Subscriptions

February 26, 2015 - Written By Justin Diaz

As a developer, gaining users is obviously a priority if you want to grow your Android app, but if you want it to be successful chances are that gaining revenue is also important to you. There are many ways to do this including enticing users with free trials for an app, but according to Absolutdata developers are constantly losing money due to users who opt in for a free trial of an app then quit using after the free trial is over. The opportunity here lies in being able to convert those free customers over as paid users for your application and service, but doing so can sometimes be challenging. Here are some tips and strategies to help along the process in transitioning customers from free to paid subscription users and monetize your Android app.

One strategy to take into consideration is making sure to utilize mathematical tools to calculate more effective conversion results, like analytics. Taking an analytic approach to finding out how users are engaging with your app is just as important if not more important than gathering customer feedback, because analytics will allow you as a developer to see what is really enticing users to convert from a free trial to a paid subscription and continue using your app. Another tip for converting users from free to paid is with something Absolutdata CEO Anil Kaul calls a Drip Campaign, which gently feeds useful information about your app to users based on their level of interaction. Bombarding users with info and data on your app and service might only cause some users to become frustrated. Instead, a Drip Campaign sets you up to send out automated messages that are more or less dictated by how often a user engages with your app. The more they engage, the less often they might receive an email reminding them that the service is still going strong with informative details about new features and updates. This allows you to keep from being too aggressive and pushing away users.

In addition to the above strategies you absolutely must understand your userbase. Knowing who your users are is important to understanding how to reach them if there’s hope of converting them from a free user to a paid user. Once you know a little about your users, you can also proceed to send out messages(like explained with the Drip Campaign method)that are tailored to specific users based on how and how often they user your app and/or service. Knowing your user shouldn’t be limited to the usage of your app though, so consider focusing on things like age, education level and income, their reasons for choosing to try out and use your app in the first place, and for paid users, finding out what convinced them to continue using your app through the paid subscription is just as important so you can find out if other users will be open to using it for the same reasons.

Other useful strategies for free to paid conversion that can be great tools are paying attention to behavior triggers and conversion-specific engagement metrics. Behavior triggers can be as simple as an ad that targets specific users based on their usage with a notification about the benefits of going paid vs staying free, and paying close attention to specific metrics for users that can drive forward a conversion in user status, like how long they typically use your app or service during each interaction for example, can help you weigh out which activities are more likely to help you convert users.

It’s important to pay attention to what drives each person to switch from free status to paid. Every customer is going to slightly different, and making note of those differences can help you maximize your reach of users based on those differences, almost like a tailored message. Think of it as tailoring your tactics to reaching each customer individually. Once you find out why each person pays for a service, you can better transition other users from free to paid based on those reasons if they fit the bill. Some users may also need a little help understanding why your paid app/service would be of any use to them, so it’s important to find out a little about them so you can position specific features of your app as a benefit in their personal life. When trying to convert users, find a way to explain to them how the paid version of your app is more of benefit to them the free version. Cloud storage is a great example here as paid versions of most cloud storage apps and services offer more room to store files.

The last two tips to helping you as a developer for free to paid conversion status of users, is presenting something pleasing to the eye for users, and timing. While having a good site or app design from a visual standpoint is important, design more from the functional side of things is even more important as users will be less likely to pay for something that they have trouble navigating around. Your users may work hard in other areas of their life, and they won’t want to work just as hard just to navigate your app. Most customers are going to want an easy user experience. When it comes to timing, this can be a pivotal area in your delivery of attempting conversion. Finding the right times to position the benefits of a paid app/service vs the free version is crucial to not making free users feel like your simply trying to dig into their pockets. Timing on ads is another thing to consider. Think about the best timing and placement of an ad attempting to convince users to switch from free to paid so that it doesn’t interrupt their usage interactions. With using these tips and strategies above, you may stand a greater chance at converting free users to a paid status, so try some things out and see what sticks.