The Atomic Reach platform was built over the last 3 years, with the belief that this amazing platform would rock the content marketing world.
After the build, we then put up a new website, a pricing page, and hired a great sales team to start selling and marketing the product.
In our attempts to get more users, the sales and marketing team would get us leads. After a successful demo call, new users would be enrolled in our 14-day trial, but our trial strategy had a reoccurring problem:
- New users were too busy and could not reap the full benefits of the platform
- They forgot what was covered during their demo
- They would habitually fall back into their normal work-flows before Atomic Reach came along and forget how to use it all together
At the end of the demo, prospects were so excited to begin their 14-day trial, exclaiming “yeah let’s do it!” or “this is great, we’re super excited to try it out”.
As the VP of Client Success, I thought this is awesome! We could not have asked for keener participants.
Soon after they created a new account, I would have a kick off call, demo the platform, ask them to connect their content source, and start the clock on the trial. Here were the results from monitoring their platform usage:
- Day 1: minor usage by 2 participants
- Day 2: minor usage by 1 participant
- Day 3: no usage at all
- Day 4: no usage at all
- Day 4: minor usage by 1 participant
- Day 5-7: no usage
Okay so this was not great. To investigate why usage dropped, I would personally call our client.
Busy Bee Clients:
The following is a general response from clients who were not able to use the platform within 14 days:
“It was a crazy busy week for us with other project deadlines so we could not use your platform much in week one. The project’s done now so we’ll get the guys using way more starting tomorrow”.
I thought that this was a suitable response, that there were no problems, that this happens in every company. I thought that it would all be back on track, but the same trends continued to happen:
- Day 8: no usage
- Day 9: minor usage by 2 participants
- Day 10-13: no usage
- Day 14: trial ends
To find out how else I could reignite their interest in Atomic Reach, we scheduled another call to extend the trial.
Instead of continuing to practice an ineffective process, the team decided to reprioritize and look for more effective solutions.
Teamwork and Different Priorities
Testing the platform and getting it to perform was my biggest priority. But for the marketers and publishers using our platform, the task of testing out our tool had to take a backseat because they had marketing duties that needed to be tackled first.
To figure out what we could do to improve the platform experience, we had to come together as a team, with the goal to encourage steady usage throughout the trial. The idea of improving the UI or in app messaging was quickly dismissed since users were not even logging in.
Creating a new Atomic Reach trial experience
The first task on our to-do list was to extend the 14 day free trial to 30 days for all users. This was an easy one, as most of our users were not naturally writing content 8 hours/day, 40/week- hence not trying our platform.
For many companies, content marketing is a shared responsibility with a variety of people involved in the workload. In some weeks potential clients will pump out tons of content, the next week…not one article.
Our 30 day extension now fit their volatile schedule, allowing them ample time to test it.
The proof is in your data
To get the most out of the Atomic Reach platform, you needed to fully set up your account. From there, we then provided you with a ton of data and analysis for your account when fully set up. This was our user experience trump card, regardless of however much data was beneath the hood. Expanding upon this, all your data was not displayed in the dashboard, since many don’t typically flock to their dashboards every day.
To further encourage platform usage, we focused on their data to enhance the perceptions of the platform, indirectly this would remind them as to what it does. This continual 30 day training program, used their data to deliver a wide variety of interesting messages.
In our own experience of trialling other software platforms, we noticed more of an automated and not personal approach. My team continued to do things old school, in how we communicated info to users by actually writing each of these emails/reports and sending them ourselves.
Current breakdown of trial
We realized that our trial needed to explain a lot of information about using the platform, so let’s piecemeal it out.
It all starts with the trial kick-off call. Keeping it to just 20 minutes long, focusing on 2 key tips to get them started in playing with the platform. Sure we could bring up 25 data points, but we thought that this would be too much information, and chose to focus on a couple for week one.
Within 2-3 days of the trial, we then send snippets of info about their data in relation to their content and their audience’s likes and dislikes.
Here’s a sample of one:
It’s short right? That’s the point. One email, one piece of interesting data-- the perfect recipe for busy people. Manually, nine more of these emails would be sent over the next twentyseven days- one at a time.
We also realized that visuals made a huge impact. For the email recipient, images made the user’s data trends easier to read. Graphs instinctively meant the information was reliable.
As soon as these messages started going out, we started getting feedback like:
- Loving these tips that you are deciphering from Atomic Reach.
- Great to know! Thanks!
- Nice! That's surprising to me!
- After using Atomic Reach for a few weeks it's clear you're on to something with your scoring algorithm. I can also tell you that your support services are the best I've seen
It was working. We were engaging with trial participants. They were using the platform more frequently as the data we passed onto them educated them, provided value, and also reminded them of the platform’s benefits.
By the end of the trial, we had to prove to them (via their data) that our platform significantly improved their content’s performance. The email below was literally the most important message sent to them during the trial:
All these emails were personally sent by their Dedicated Account Manager. We wanted to emphasize honest dedication, and nothing showed that more than by adding a personal touch with personalized content.
Results: Once this was all in place it seriously turned the corner on platform usage during the trial and converted free users into paid clients.
We said to ourselves that if this was improving the trial program then let’s roll this it into our paid client retention process.
And the same events occurred. We received feedback like:
- I like these!
- Great feedback. Thanks Paul.
- Yes, this is great data.
These new emails created new opportunities in creating times to talk directly to the clients about their data and what it could do for them. We wanted to show its value and important data points, since this information wasn’t displayed in their dashboard. This process was extremely important for us in developing our product road map (ie. What platform features we release next).
Here’s a glimpse of where we track and organize this ever-increasing list of features and improvements. It’s like sea kelp. You can stare at it and actually see it growing every hour.
We’ve come so far
When we started building our platform 3 years ago, we had our own ideas on what users wanted in our platform, and we built that. Those days are now over. All of our new features were created from the needs of our users, making them highly valuable, and time well spent on development.
This was only possible thanks to our engaged user base. But engaged users did not come for free.
Sharing unique, important correlations about a user’s content and audience in a way that’s clear, convenient and actionable, has been a great step forward in building trust and credibility.
In the end we have received so much more value from these processes, rewarding the energy and efforts that was put in.
Take it Away
We hope that you enjoyed learning about Atomic Reach’s trial development journey. If have had a memorable experience in trialling a marketing software tool or product? What made it memoral? Let us know in the comments and share this article!
About the Author:
Paul is the VP of Client Services and Success at Atomic Reach. He is known to be verbose, but in a good way; the office athlete, and consumer of carbs. He loves getting feedback about the platform and helping users get the best experience possible.