Here at Nusii, we require every trial user to sign up with a credit card.

I can hear your gasps from across the Internet. In a landscape littered with SaaS product trials loudly proclaiming “no credit card required!” asking for a credit card is rare.

In fact, we even had one prospect recently complain about our decision...

We understand this might seem weird. (And because so many people start to sign up, but drop-off when asked to put in a credit card, we built an abandoned cart email funnel — more below.)

But again and again in our testing, we’ve seen how dangerous NOT asking for a credit card can be:

  • We get lower quality users who never convert into paying customers
  • Churn increases dramatically
  • We’re inundated with support requests

The last time we tested trial sign-ups without a credit card, it almost destroyed our business. (More details in a blog post soon — make sure you get it.)

Getting a user’s credit card before the trial starts has led Nusii to higher quality leads, less churn, and more revenue.

However, this doesn’t mean our business is perfect.

Every month, we see roughly an equal amount of users sign up for an account with a credit card… as we do people who start to sign up, but abandon when we ask for a credit card.

In other words, if we...

  • Have 100 new users successfully sign-up for a trial in a month
  • We also also have about 100 new users who start to sign up for a trial but leave before they enter their credit card

As a bootstrapped startup, this is a big opportunity: We want to help nudge these abandoned cart users into trying Nusii.

To experiment, we recently launched an abandoned cart automated email funnel. Our goal is to re-capture the users who started signing up, but then dropped off when asked for a credit card.

The early results are promising. Depending on the email, between 10% and 15% of abandoned users are converting into trial customers. (To be fair, the sample size is still small.)

Here's exactly how we built our abandoned cart email funnel — and how you can do the same for your business.

Hold on, Are We Just Tricking Users?

Before we share how we built our automated email funnel, it’s important to be clear...

Our goal is NOT to trick users by asking for a credit card on trial sign-up.

Instead, our goal is to get high-quality, committed users from the start, decrease churn, and reduce support requests.

Anyone who signs up with a credit card automatically gets a 15-day free trial to test the service and a 60-day money-back guarantee.

Plus, the following happens:

  • We send the user their first reminder 3 days before they’re billed
  • We send the user their second reminder 1 day before they’re billed
  • The user can easily cancel with one click anytime in their trial — and the cancellation request is completed immediately

If you’re curious, you can find out more details, or sign up for a trial account, on our pricing page. And to give you a peek, below is our “trial ends in 24 hours” email..

What Technology Are We Using to Set Up This Abandoned Cart Email Funnel?

To set up our automation funnel, we used Intercom.

We already send emails and in-app messages through Intercom for onboarding new users, getting survey feedback, or announcing new feature updates.

We like Intercom because we can get ultra-specific with our targeting. For example, we can target users who signed up 1 day ago and didn’t input a credit card.

Of course, there are other technologies you can use too.

We use Drip for our general email newsletters to non-members of Nusii, which has some advanced targeting functionality. We’ve also heard of ActiveCampaign being used for a similar abandoned cart email automation.

How Did We Decide Which Emails to Send?

With the technical foundation laid, there were still a lot of questions:

  • How should we trigger the email?
  • Who should get the email?
  • How many emails should we send in the series?
  • How do we make the copy ultra-compelling?

We had a tough sell to make: These prospects found our site and were interested enough to start signing up with their email… but were turned off when asked for their credit card, so they left.

(Ouch.)

Despite the benefits on our end getting a credit card on trial sign-up, it’s easy to see why a user might be turned off:

1. Big commitment. Even though our plans start at just $29/mo, it can feel like a big leap-of-faith to enter your credit card details when you’re not intimately familiar with the system

2. Forgetting to cancel the trial. Before a user is ever billed, we send a few reminder emails and make the cancellation process just one-click. However, we still hear hesitation from some prospects who fear they’ll forget to cancel their trial before billing

3. Laziness. Inputting credit card details can be a pain. You have to open your wallet (or find where you put your wallet), get out your card, and type out the details. Or, if you work for a business, you have to get the expense approved, get the company’s credit card, input the details, give it back… ugh

With the common user struggles mapped out, we decided to experiment with a four-day email series.

There wasn’t any scientific reason we chose four emails in four days. From our side, we thought it was the minimum amount of emails we needed to make a compelling argument. From the user’s side, we thought four emails wouldn’t cross the “annoying” line.

To send emails to the appropriate users, here’s the exact targeting we used in Intercom:

Type is User. This specifies a user who created an account in our system, and not one of our team members or system admins

Added_credit_card is false. If we have a User in our system, but there’s no credit card associated with their user profile, they’re likely someone who started signing up but dropped off

Stripe_customer_token is unknown. We use Stripe for Nusii’s billing. Most “drop-off” users will be caught with the added_credit_card is false parameter, but verifying the Stripe customer token is “unknown” in the backend adds an extra layer of protection to our targeting

To space the four emails out over four days, we also targeted the parameters Signed up exactly 1 day ago, Signed up exactly 2 days ago, Signed up exactly 3 days ago, and Signed up exactly 4 days ago.

Starting the day after a user signed up but dropped off before entering credit card details, the user would get an email. This would continue for three more days, for a total of four days.

What Do Our Emails Look Like?

Below’s the exact copy we use for of our abandoned cart email series.

You can use this as inspiration for your own abandoned cart email template (or even copy-and-paste it word-for-word).

Email 1

Sent: 1 day after user signs up without credit card

Subject line: Did we do something wrong?

From: Nathan from Nusii

Hi ​[First name]​,

It's Nathan from Nusii here.

I noticed you didn't complete your free Nusii trial. I'm bumming out. :(

When you try Nusii, here's what you get...

  • Simple proposal software. No confusing bells-and-whistles. No complex onboarding. You can sign up in 30 seconds, and get started making proposals quicker and without distractions. We’ve had people tell us they created a beautiful, complete proposal — and won a 5 figure deal — in under 20 minutes
  • Reusable sections and dynamic placeholders. Re-use proposal sections, like pricing or company info, across proposals in one click. Save time with dynamic variables, videos, and images to easily send your proposal ASAP
  • Proposal notifications. Receive a notification the second a prospective client opens your proposal (so you can close the sale). Or get reminded if they don’t open the proposal, so you can follow-up and see if there are any questions or worries stopping them from signing

And much more.

It takes just 30 seconds to sign-up. To finish your membership, we have a special link for you.

[Button: ​GET MY FREE TRIAL​]

Remember, you get a 15-day trial to test the service and make sure it’s right for you.

If you don’t like it, no problem. You can cancel your membership in one click (no annoying emails to send, phone calls to make, or complicated loopholes to jump through to cancel).

And if you have any questions or need any tech support, go ahead and respond directly to this email. I’m standing by.

Looking forward to helping you create better proposals,

Nathan
Founder, Nusii

P.S. With a 15-day free trial, there’s no risk. We help make your proposal process easier.

Email 2

Sent: 2 days after user signs up without credit card

Subject line: Most proposals suck

From: Nathan from Nusii

Hi ​[First name]​,

Do you remember your last proposal?

We sure do.

We used Nusii to easily insert reusable sections into a pre-created template. Then, we quickly used dynamic variables to automatically write the client’s name, email, and business name throughout the document.

The entire process took 20 minutes.

What was your last proposal like? What happens when your proposal process isn’t as good as it can be?

My cofounder, Michael, and I have been there ourselves. It was painful. We’ve tried…

  • Microsoft Word and Google Slides. Looked “cheap” and overly simple. How are we supposed to compete against other companies and win projects if our proposal looks so boring and plain?
  • InDesign. The proposals look beautiful, but it would take us hours to painstakingly create. It wasn’t scalable… and by the time we finished a proposal, the client would have already signed with another agency or freelancer
  • Other proposal software. Too buggy or complicated. Who wants to spend weeks learning a new software system? We’re too busy trying to win clients and projects. We just wanted to sign up and learn the system in minutes

The truth is, most proposal software out there is really bad. It’s either too boring, too buggy, or too complicated.

When we get a RFP or a warm lead, we want to blow them away and win the deal. And we want to win quickly, easily, and without stress (because we have other clients asking for our help and other priorities on our to-do list).

What if you could make beautiful, winning proposals in a fraction of the time?

What if you had reusable sections and dynamic variables to save time and energy?

What if you could receive an email notification the instant a client opens your proposal so you can close the deal quicker?

For most agencies and freelancers, this seems like a pipedream. But it’s not. This is exactly why we created Nusii.

You can keep creating proposals the same way — boring, buggy, and complicated — and lose out on clients and projects. Or, you try Nusii (free for 15 days!) and get exclusive access to…

  • Simple proposal software. No confusing bells-and-whistles. No complex onboarding. You can sign up in 30 seconds, and get started making proposals quicker and without distractions. We’ve had people tell us they created a beautiful, complete proposal — and won a 5 figure deal — in under 20 minutes
  • Reusable sections and dynamic placeholders. Re-use proposal sections, like pricing or company info, across proposals in one click. Save time with dynamic variables, videos, and images to easily send your proposal ASAP
  • Proposal notifications. Get notified the second a prospective client opens your proposal (so you can close the sale). Or get reminded if they don’t open the proposal, so you can follow-up and see if there are any questions or worries stopping them from signing

Give it a try. For 15 days, you can try Nusii 100% FREE.

[Button: TRY NUSII FREE]

We can’t wait to help you create beautiful, frictionless proposals — so you can win more clients, get more projects, and make more money.

See you inside,

Nathan
Founder, Nusii

P.S. Remember, Nusii comes with a 15-day 100% free trial. Try it for 15 days, and if you don’t love it you can cancel in one click. Stop waiting, and start creating beautiful proposals without confusing bells-and-whistles.

Email 3

Sent: 3 days after user signs up without credit card

Subject line: Close 5+ figure projects in less time

From: Nathan from Nusii

Hi again ​[First name​],

Yesterday, we talked about how you can use Nusii to create beautiful proposals quickly and easily — and win more clients and projects.

Today, I want you to imagine something…

Imagine it’s 1 pm on a Friday afternoon. You’ve had client projects all week, fires to put out, and meetings to attend. Now, you have three to-dos left before the weekend:

  • Complete two RFPs to try and win prospective clients
  • Finish one 5-figure project proposal for an existing client

Exhausted from the week, your attention span is waning.

Do you need to work the entire weekend to get everything done?

But then, you open up Nusii.

First, you quickly create a new proposal using your beautiful, brand-matching template.

Then, you simply copy reusable sections into your new proposal to save tons of time.

Finally, you use dynamic variables so you only have to enter your prospect’s name and business once — and it’s updated everywhere in the proposal.

You’re done. With a big grin on your face, you click “Send Proposal.” Now, you wait. You know as soon as the client opens the proposal you’ll receive a notification.

Best of all, this entire process was done in minutes.

No complicated bells-and-whistles.

No hours trying to onboard with a new proposal software, only to end up more frustrated and confused.

No time wasted trying to create proposals in Word, Google Slides, or InDesign — only to lose the client because your proposal was too bland, or took too much time to create.

With Nusii, you can expect a streamlined, simplified proposal experience to help you win more projects, make more money, and create incredible proposals in a fraction of the time.

And we aren’t just spewing a bunch of hypothetical situations either. Here’s Ryan from Lemonly, a Nusii member who creates winning proposals in minutes.

You can keep imagining what an easier, faster proposal process is like… or you can try Nusii free for 15 days and experience the dramatic benefits in-person.

[Button: CREATE BEAUTIFUL PROPOSALS EASILY]

No more imagining. No more wasting time creating proposals using a complicated system. No more frustration.

Instead, you’ll have access to time-saving features like reusable sections, dynamic variables, proposal notifications, and tons more:

  • Digital signing. Stop printing out PDFs or faxing documents back-and-forth. Save tons of time with quick, legally-binding digital signatures
  • Custom domain. Want your proposal hosted on your own domain, being sent from your own email address? We can do that. Everyone will think you built this proposal yourself without Nusii (we’ll keep it our secret)
  • Direct support. Question about Nusii? Go ahead and shoot us an email. You’ll get direct access to me, Michael (or technical co-founder), or David (our marketing guy). No middle men, “escalated” tickets to worry about, or canned unhelpful responses
  • Continual evolution. When you email us with a suggestion, we can make changes to Nusii in minutes (stop waiting days with other proposal software)

Go ahead and start your free trial. I can’t wait to welcome you to Nusii.

Nathan
Founder, Nusii

Email 4

Sent: 4 days after user signs up without credit card

Subject line: Today only: 10% off any Nusii plan

From: Nathan from Nusii

Hi ​[First name​],

Nathan here — I’ll keep this email short.

Over the past few days, I’ve shared how Nusii can help you make proposals in a fraction of the time without the overwhelm.

But don’t take just my word for it.

Our current members use Nusii’s simple system to create proposals quicker, save time, and win more clients and projects.

Now, I want to make one final push…

Today only, we’re offering you 10% off ANY Nusii plan. This is good for the first three months.

We’ve never done this before (and it’s good today only). But, sometimes, we all just need a little nudge to get started. We’re so confident you’ll love Nusii, you’ll get the 10% off plus 15-day trial the minute you join.

Just go to this page and enter the coupon code redacted.

[Button: TRY NUSII FOR 10% OFF]

Looking forward to welcoming you inside,

Nathan
Founder, Nusii

P.S. As a reminder, here are some of the things you get when you try Nusii:

  • Simple proposal software. No confusing bells-and-whistles. No complex onboarding. You can sign up in 30 seconds, and get started making proposals quicker and without distractions. We’ve had people tell us they created a beautiful, complete proposal — and won a 5 figure deal — in under 20 minutes
  • Reusable sections and dynamic placeholders. Re-use proposal sections, like pricing or company info, across proposals in one click. Save time with dynamic variables, videos, and images to easily send your proposal ASAP
    Proposal notifications. Get notified the second a prospective client opens your proposal (so you can close the sale). Or get reminded if they don’t open the proposal, so you can follow-up and see if there are any questions or worries stopping them from signing
  • Digital signing. Stop printing out PDFs or faxing documents back-and-forth. Save tons of time with quick, legally-binding digital signatures
  • Custom domain. Want your proposal hosted on your own domain, being sent from your own email address? We can do that. Everyone will think you built this proposal yourself without Nusii (we’ll keep it our secret)
  • Direct support. Question about Nusii? Go ahead and shoot us an email. You’ll get direct access to me, Michael (or technical co-founder), or David (our marketing guy). No middle men, “escalated” tickets to worry about, or canned unhelpful responses
  • Continual evolution. When you email us with a suggestion, we can make changes to Nusii in minutes, not days like the other guys

P.P.S. Remember, today is your last chance for 10% off ANY Nusii plan (for the first three months), plus a 15-day free trial. Just go to this link and enter the code redacted

How Are the Results so Far?

To test the waters, we launched email 1 a week before the other emails.

We wanted to be careful. Before we pushed out the remaining 3 emails, we wanted to test for tech issues and measure early results.

Here’s what we tracked in the first week email 1 launched:

  • Are there any users complaints?
  • What are the email failure/undelivered rates?
  • Any we seeing high unsubscribe rates?
  • Are users emailing us back (good or bad)?
  • How are open rates, click rates, and goal rates?

In the Intercom backend, we could clearly see the answer to all these questions (except the goal rate, which required basic configuration).

After a few days, there weren’t any complaints or unsubscribes. Open rate remained high (30%+) and click rate was OK (2%+).

Our most important metric was goal rate, which we configured as added_credit_card is true.

Here’s why: A user was added to this “abandoned cart” email series if their account had the added_credit_card is false parameter. If, after seeing the first email, they added a credit card to their account (which changed the parameter to added_credit_card is true) we knew it was successful.

We didn’t see any goal completions in the first week with the first email, but without any issues we decided to launch the remaining three emails.

Today, our first email has been running for a total of 21 days. The second, third, and fourth emails have been running for 14 days.

Here’s a screenshot with the exact results and data from our Intercom admin panel.

Our abandoned cart email funnel results

In raw, aggregate numbers, we’ve had a total of 3 users who originally “dropped off” come back, enter their credit card details, and sign-up for a trial.

Sure, the aggregate number is small peanuts compared to what most massive companies are doing, but here’s a better way to look at the numbers…

On a percentage basis, we’ve increased trial sign-ups about 4% because of these abandoned cart emails.

Even better: because emails 2, 3, and 4 have only run for 14 days — aka half a month — we expect trial sign-ups to increase 7-10% on a full month basis from this four-email series.

What Improvements Are We Making?

With such small aggregate numbers right now, it’s tough to make any decisions on next steps (or coin this a success or failure).

For example, when we looked at the results yesterday, email 2 had a 0% click rate. Plus, we had only 1 converted user — within the past 24 hours, 2 more conversions were added and a few more users had clicked.

Oh, how the tides quickly change!

Knowing the variability with small sample sizes, the biggest improvement we’re making is: wait and see. We’ll likely let the entire series run for about two months to collect more data before we take any additional action or make any changes.

Taking a step back, our hope was to see a 10-20% increase in trial sign-ups from this abandoned cart email series.

Right now, we’re pacing at about 7% increase in trial sign-ups per month. We’ll see how it plays out with more time and data.

While we let this run, we’re turning our attention to other high-leverage areas of the business:

1. Complete homepage redesign. In a recent month, our homepage-to-trial user conversion rate was 2.09%. We’d like to improve this. Plus, our homepage is our most visited page, with 18.25% of visitor sessions in the same timeframe, so optimizing our homepage has “big win” potential

2. Pricing page overhaul. Behind the homepage, our pricing page is our second most-visited page. We think it’s overly confusing and can be optimized for conversions

3. Non-customer email series. We currently have 6,500+ newsletter subscribers in our main email service provider (ESP) Drip. Of these subscribers, about 96% are non-customers (a combination of churned trial users and people who have never signed up for our service). Most of these subscribers came from lead-gen carrots or subscribing after reading a post like this on our blog. Pitching 6,200+ people our Nusii product could lead to massive results

I hope you liked our deep-dive into how we created abandoned cart emails — and how you can do the same. As we continue to grow Nusii, stay updated on our exact strategies, methods, and experiments by joining our newsletter.

Newsletter subscribers get exclusive details, and behind-the-scenes info. Don’t miss out.

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