Sustainable growth starts with user engagement. Customers don’t just buy the first tool or app that they see. They do their research. Before taking the plunge, users will review their options and choose the tool that best fits their needs and goals.
If you’re lucky — or rather, if you’ve invested in your product marketing — your tool will be the one they choose.
But how do you maintain that user relationship once they’ve signed up?
Users can cancel their subscription any time they want. So, it’s your job, as the product marketing manager, to keep them engaged and actively subscribed.
If you want to keep churn at bay, you’ve got to learn how to connect with your users. The first step to reducing churn is to help your users see the value of your product and, more importantly, make them feel like a valued user. Focus on building strong user relationships to build mutual value with your users and you’ll instinctively increase customer retention rates and drive user loyalty and engagement.
10 Ways to connect with your users remotely
In a world where you can sign up for a SaaS tool in just a few short clicks, it pays to make your users’ lives more convenient. Learning how to build strong remote connections with your users is crucial for highlighting the value of your service and driving customer longevity.
Finding new customers can be expensive. It can cost 5 times more to acquire new customers than it does to retain existing ones. Run the numbers on your tool and you’ll likely find similar results. So, if you want to grow your SaaS business, it’s time to start connecting with your users.
And why does connection matter?
Because it works.
Research by Customer Success Collective revealed that 78% of SaaS business leaders see proactive and frequent communication as a valuable customer retention tactic. 73% highly rate getting to know their customers on a human level and a further 50% see value in proactively engaging inactive users. Communication clearly plays an integral role in retaining users.
So, let’s uncover some of the best ways to remotely connect with your users and strengthen customer relationships.
Panel discussions, guest speakers, online conferences, and step-by-step tutorials are just some of the webinars you could host for your SaaS users. You even have the choice of running live or pre-recorded webinars too.
Webinars give you a platform to speak to your customers in an intimate, interactive environment. You can get (virtually) up close and personal as you demonstrate your expertise. This makes webinars an engaging, high-value experience for your users.
Example: How Pipedrive delivers value with webinars
Take Pipedrive, for example. In their Academy, Pipedrive shares valuable on-demand and live webinars for their users.
Hyperfocused on getting the most out of your CRM, Pipedrive makes sure that its webinars appeal to existing users. They even carve out time for a live demonstration and a Q&A with their team of experts.
While Pipedrive may use Q&As as part of its webinar format, you can use Q&As as a standalone method of user connection.
Let your users take center stage as you give them a chance to ask questions and share their experiences in dedicated live Q&A sessions. You can use this time to provide genuine support and advice regarding the challenges they are facing.
These sessions present a perfect opportunity to help users work through any barriers to product usage too.
Once the Q&A session is over, use the questions to update the FAQs section of your site, ensuring you’re providing valuable information for other users and potential customers.
Outside of webinars, you could host Q&As in community forums or on social media. However you choose to deliver your Q&A, focus on listening to what your users have to say and providing actionable, relevant support.
Example: How Yotpo put Q&As at the heart of user connection
From hosting webinars and conferences to running an active community forum, the eCommerce marketing platform Yotpo recognizes the value of connecting with its users.
Q&As feature heavily in Yotpo’s marketing strategy. They have hosted Live Q&A webinars and shared Q&A discussions with industry experts as part of an expert Q&A series on their forum. Users can also ask questions in the forum to receive support from Yotpo experts, community managers, or other users.
Between its forum, webinars, and Q&A expert series, Yotpo has built an impressive trifecta for building strong connections through Q&A sessions.
3) Live demos
Live product demonstrations give prospective customers a chance to see how your product works. But they can be equally powerful for existing users. Hosting live demos for current users gives them a chance to explore your product deeper and uncover new ways to use your tool to its full potential.
In a live demo, someone from your support, sales, or product team will virtually meet with users to host a real-time demonstration. This could be an open-invite demo focused on a specific topic or it might be an exclusive 1:1 demo with customers.
With over 85% of SaaS companies using webinars as product demos, it’s clear that live demos can play a valuable role in connecting with your users. You can show off product features, help customers get more out of your tool, and upsell new features or add-ons.
Example: How SparkToro uses live demos to help users uplevel their marketing
SparkToro, an audience research tool, knows the importance of building authentic connections with your customers and that’s exactly what they do with their SparkToro Office Hours. SparkToro users can attend bi-monthly live demos to learn how to get the most out of their account.
The webinars are also available on-demand so both new and existing users can see how to use different features of the SparkToro tool.
4) eBooks and whitepapers
Not all methods of remote user engagement have to be video-based. Some people prefer to dive deep into written content overflowing with rich data and insights. Create high-value eBooks and whitepapers to connect with these people.
Don’t underestimate the power of quality written content, like eBooks and whitepapers. eBooks are a great way to connect with new and old users, especially when used as an inbound marketing tool. Request users leave their contact details to download an eBook so you can keep in touch.
Provide unbeatable value with your eBook to build trust and strengthen bonds with your users.
Example: How UserGuiding attracts customers with eBooks
UserGuiding has an online eBook library designed to help its audience become user onboarding experts.
These eBooks are free to download in return for sharing your name and email address. Post-download, UserGuiding can keep in touch with leads over email to further nurture user relationships.
5) Live chat
Live chat tools give users an easy way to contact support teams without having to pick up the phone or send an email. Leverage live chat for real-time communication with your users as a way to build strong customer relationships.
Live chat lets customers ask their burning questions without having to trawl the internet for answers. Putting customers in direct contact with experts within your team means you can provide dedicated and personalized support. This helps strengthen relationships with existing customers, reduce churn, identify upsell opportunities, and even acquire new leads. The communicative benefits of live chat are unmissable.
Example: How SproutSocial builds strong bonds with live chat
SproutSocial uses live chat to strengthen customer satisfaction and retention. Their live chat tool goes beyond the stale boilerplate live chat automated messages by using personalization based on the user’s past interactions.
This level of personalization delivers a unique experience for every customer and, hopefully, makes it easier for them to find what they’re looking for and receive outstanding customer support from real humans, not just automated chatbots.
6) Email newsletters
Keep users engaged with personalized email marketing. SaaS email marketing is arguably more complex than other industries — thanks to its array of lead nurturing, onboarding, customer retention, and lifecycle management functions.
If anything, the widespread use of email marketing in SaaS shows us just how valuable emails are for connecting with your users.
Use email marketing to provide personalized solutions to customer problems and share helpful tips and tactics, all while helping your users get the most out of your product.
Example: How Demio keeps users engaged with emails
Demio, a webinar platform, keeps its users engaged with no-fluff, webinar-focused newsletters.
Users can choose to subscribe to Demio’s standard monthly newsletter focused on webinars and events or they can opt-in for the “zero to hero” educational series to learn how to improve their webinar skills. Each newsletter is highly targeted toward their audience, ensuring they deliver high value for users.
7) Phone calls and SMS messages
Set up an omnipresent customer support system by ensuring customers can reach you through all methods of communication including phone and SMS marketing.
The traditional method of picking up the phone and talking to customers is still an effective technique for strengthening user relationships. When faced with an issue, 62% of customers prefer being able to speak with company representatives over the phone.
Prioritize making it easy for users to speak with company experts over the phone by creating a contact center. Through this contact center, your team can focus on delivering outstanding user support to ensure your customers can get support as quickly as possible. Taking a proactive approach by having routine phone check-ins with top users can help minimize user frustrations by giving them a chance to get personalized ongoing support. SMS messages can be used to update users on helpful tips and new features and product releases.
Example: How Xero improves user support with 24/7 customer contact
Xero prides itself on offering free and unlimited support as part of its subscription. Users can request a call from Xero whenever they need help.
Switching to an omnichannel contact center helped Xero save $500,000. Offering customer contact via phone, SMS and other communication channels lets Xero nurture its existing users with efficient customer support.
8) Social media
Social media is a space where SaaS companies thrive. Align your marketing efforts with customer connection by fostering a strong social media presence.
Social media can play a valuable role in building user loyalty. 93% of B2B marketing leaders see social media as an impactful part of their overall marketing strategy. Use social media to strike up conversation with your ideal users, foster community, and showcase your expertise.
Find the social media channels where your ideal users hang out and focus on building genuine connections through your social media strategy.
Example: How Semrush uses social media to nurture its community
Semrush has mastered the art of using social media to connect with its users. From sharing relatable memes to asking questions and responding to users’ posts, Semrush makes social media an integral component of its strategy for connecting with users.
Visible across all the major social media platforms, the team behind Semrush makes sure they’re communicating with their users across all channels. Users can easily reach out to Semrush through social media to sing their praises or raise an issue and Semrush will be quick to respond. This responsive attitude works wonders for keeping Semrush’s users happy with the service.
9) In-app messages and push notifications
In-app messaging and push notifications are a clever way to keep in touch with SaaS users and improve product usage.
Use behavioral segmentation to personalize in-app messages and push notifications to each of your users. This level of personalization could help users feel more valued while also increasing interaction.
You can send users in-app messages to notify them about new features and share product tips and tools. In-app messages are great for maintaining engagement levels of active users. Alternatively, you could send push notifications to encourage inactive users to log into your app, book a product demo, or arrange a support call if they have been inactive for a while.
Both in-app messages and push notifications are valuable communication tools at different stages of the user journey. In-app messages keep active users engaged through continued education and updates while push notifications help re-engage inactive users.
Example: How Userpilot uses in-app messages to connect with users
Userpilot recognizes the community-nurturing benefits of in-app messaging. As a tool focused on helping product teams deliver personalized in-app experiences, it makes sense that Userpilot’s in-app messaging strategy is geared for success.
Userpilot uses in-app pop-ups to share helpful product updates or guidance with users. Through in-app messaging, Userpilot also invites users to attend live webinars to further enhance their product knowledge.
10) Gamification and incentives
As the name suggests, gamification aims to keep users engaged by borrowing elements of competition and reward from games. These gamification techniques incentivize users for long-term engagement, encouraging them to actively use a particular product or service.
SaaS businesses can leverage gamification and incentives to motivate their users to continue using the product. Gamification comes in many forms. Have fun with gamification elements and find new ways to encourage user participation. Examples of gamification techniques include:
- Progress bars
- Points and scores
Shantanu Sinha integrated elements of gamification into the Khan Academy as he recognized the power gamification has on student uptake. Speaking about his experience, Sinha stated that “when learning once again becomes a personalized path full of individual triumphs, students will reclaim their natural enthusiasm and passion for learning.”
Taking Sinha’s advice, adding gamification to your SaaS product should help reignite user engagement and enthusiasm too.
Example: How Salesforce encourages product adoption with gamification
Getting started with a new CRM platform can be confusing. Salesforce aims to minimize user confusion and increase product adoption with its learning platform, Trailhead. Salesforce customers can use Trailhead to learn how to use Salesforce to its full potential.
Gamification is built into every aspect of Trailhead. Users can complete bite-sized tasks and learning activities to gain points and complete ‘missions’. For every challenge or quiz undertaken, Trailblazers — Salesforce’s name for its community of Trailhead users — have the chance to earn badges.
As users collect points and badges, they can level up through the various Trailhead ranks and compare their performance against colleagues.
Wrapping up — Strengthen engagement by connecting with your users
Connecting with users is crucial for improving retention rates and optimizing product adoption. If you want to expand the lifetime of your customers, it’s time to embed engagement tactics into your product marketing strategy.
Whether you choose to connect with users through email marketing, webinars, or gamification, make sure you always focus on delivering value to your users.
Here are some more tips for getting the most out of your remote engagement strategy:
- Personalize the experience
- Consider multiple touchpoints
- Give people choice
- Lead with a user-first approach
There’s no secret sauce to user engagement. Simply focus on helping your users get the most out of your product. Put users at the heart of your product and make it easy for them to enhance their learning, use your product, and connect with in-house experts. Be genuine in your approach and focus on providing experiences your users will love.
User engagement is an instrumental tool for building user loyalty and increasing retention rates. Experiment with various user engagement tactics and find the engagement stack that works best for your users.