Emphasizing My Web App’s Free Trial Improved Its Sign Up Rate By 25%

Preceden, a web-based timeline maker that I run, is free to try but costs $39 once to upgrade to a pro account, which let’s you add an unlimited number of events to your timelines.

Conveying this limitation to visitors has always been a bit tricky. The more I emphasize the cost, the lower the conversion rate is. However, you don’t want to hide the cost completely, as that’s both dishonest and would lead to a lot of people signing up that have no intention of ever paying for it.

In the past, the Pricing and Signup page looked like this:

You’ve got your sign up form on the left with the pricing details on the right hand side of the page. To me, it’s clear that you can sign up, try it for free, and upgrade if you want, but my perspective is so biased because I built the service. What’s really important is whether or not it is clear to folks visiting the page.

On a whim, I decided to test a variation of this page with one simple modification. Instead of “Sign Up“, the header would say “Sign Up Now For Free“:

After a few weeks of testing, the results are in and they are nothing short of spectacular:

Per ABingo: “The best alternative you have is: [sign_up_now_for_free], which had 505 conversions from 1365 participants (37.00%). The other alternative was [sign_up], which had 385 conversions from 1305 participants (29.50%). This difference is 99.9% likely to be statistically significant, which means you can be extremely confident that it is the result of your alternatives actually mattering, rather than being due to random chance.”

In other words, 25% more people signed up when the headline read “Sign Up Now For Free” vs just “Sign Up”.

I’ve been running a lot of A/B tests on both Preceden and Lean Domain Search, but most do not result in a statistically significant change. This small change resulted in the second largest improvement to Preceden’s conversion funnel ever (first was some homepage variations I tested last year). Not bad.

Two final thoughts:

  1. Adding the word “Now” to the second headline may have impacted the results. A better variation to test would have been “Sign Up For Free” so that the impact of “Now” and “For Free” was not combined into a single metric.
  2. The pricing details have not changed, so why does this make such a difference? People weren’t reading the pricing information, right? But what if they still aren’t? What if more people are signing up now because they think the service is free? A better conversion event would be how many actually upgraded to a paid account, but because that number is relatively low (~4% of people who sign up) it would have taken a longer to get statistically significant results.

2 thoughts on “Emphasizing My Web App’s Free Trial Improved Its Sign Up Rate By 25%

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