How To Use In-app Messaging to Enhance SaaS User Engagement?
Words by
Jennifer Poblete
Last updated
October 9, 2023
How To Use In-app Messaging to Enhance SaaS User Engagement?

Brutal truth: Most web visitors and app users will just dismiss your in-app messages. 

But don’t be disheartened about in-app messaging yet.

If done right, you’ll hook the most important ones.

Hear the’s story. 

The SaaS saw 3x more engagements in just a week after optimizing its in-app message. And they were more meaningful conversations. More than getting names and emails!

RedTrack hired CaaSocio to identify their key pages and implemented the new in-app copy. See if we’re a fit for you too!

So forget the “dismiss-ers” and work on your in-app messaging, too!

In this post, let’s look at how other SaaS use them. Including its role in your business and the best practices when setting up this channel.

What is in-app messaging?

In-app messaging is a method that lets SaaS teams engage with their users within their app. With it, there’s no third-party communication medium (like email or SMS) involved. This a means for you to send customized messages to specific users—with less interruption. 

Though some SaaS users dismiss in-app messages almost immediately, a study revealed that it had an impressive 75% open rate. Here are three of its general best benefits, no matter what industry implements it:

  1. It offers personalization.

  2. It boosts user engagement.

  3. It enhances user satisfaction.

The role of in-app messaging in SaaS

Let’s now be specific and see its crucial function in every SaaS business.

Reduce the number of support tickets 

If a user using an app finds a roadblock, you can prompt them with an in-app message that leads them to

  • Self-service troubleshooting guide 
  • Knowledge base articles
  • Or a live customer support agent. 

This reduces the number of support tickets so your CS team can manage and prioritize more urgent support requests.

Increases user retention

It’s the positive impact of keeping users engaged with your app constantly. Regularly (but un-intrusively) messaging inside the app enhances the user experience, increasing retention so churn goes down. 

Tip: If a user has been inactive for a while, you can use in-app messaging to guide them through the app's features and functionalities in a new light, reactivating them.

Drives conversions 

This is quite straightforward. Since you can send targeted messages to specific users, you can increase the chances of them upgrading to a paid plan or making an in-app purchase.

Look at JotForm leveraging its educator users:

Enhances product awareness

In-app messaging is also beneficial for promoting new product features or spreading awareness about your SaaS company’s latest update. Further, by educating users about your product's full potential, you can increase upsells and cross-sells.

Sets the pace of SaaS user onboarding

In-app messaging can also be used for SaaS onboarding of users. That's when you provide a guided tour of the application, highlighting essential features and functionalities. This impacts user adoption rates. Such guided tours make sure that users understand how to use the application to its full potential.

Types of in-app messaging (+ SaaS example)

  1. In-app notifications

They’re the pop-up or banner messages that appear within the app interface. These can be used for promoting new features, offering special deals or discounts, and alerting users to important information. 

An example of this can be seen with Buffer, a social media management tool. They display pop-up banners to inform users of a feature’s abilities.

  1. Onboarding walkthroughs

Walkthroughs are used to guide users through the app interface. It can be a welcome message that can help reduce customer frustration and promote a positive onboarding experience. 

Let’s use Encharge, for example. The marketing automation platform uses guided tours to introduce users to their products and help them get started quickly.

  1. In-app chat

Want your SaaS to support two-way communication? In-app chat is a messaging tool that’s used to promote communication with your SaaS support team. Providing quick and efficient support can be crucial for SaaS companies. 

ActiveCampaign is an example of a SaaD that uses in-app chat to improve its customer service.

  1. Tooltips

These are small messages that appear when SaaS users hover their mouse over a button or icon within the app interface. It gives users context and helps them understand how apps work. 

HubSpot uses tooltips to explain the purpose of some features and reduce confusion for its users.

  1. In-app surveys 

Prompts that ask users for their opinions, feedback, or ratings about the app's features or user experience are in-app surveys. They’re used to gather user feedback and ratings. These can be invaluable for businesses aiming to enhance user experience and pinpoint areas for improvement. 

One company that uses this type of in-app messaging is Avokaado. They use in-app feedback tools to gauge a user’s rating of the app. They can use that information to improve their overall product offering.

Push notifications vs. in-app notifications

Push notifications and in-app notifications are popular ways to engage, inform, and motivate SaaS app users. But how are they different?

Push notifications are delivered to a user's mobile device or desktop even when the app is not in use. Keywords are not in use. 

They are alerts that grab the user's attention to open the app and take action. Push notifications are typically used to send time-sensitive alerts.

Here’s an example delivered to a mobile device:

Obviously, in-app notifications differ in where they are received. So, let’s take this sample situation:

Imagine you're using a task management app. If a push notification alerts you about an urgent task, that's a push notification. Meanwhile, if you're logged in, and a banner pops up informing you about a new team collaboration feature, that's an in-app notification.

Add in-app messages to your money pages

So, it’s clear. In-app messaging proves to be more than just a tool for user engagement. When strategically placed into your SaaS platform—call those high-intent pages the "money pages"double the win you’ll harvest.

  1. On the SaaS website homepage, greet users with a warm in-app message. Offer a brief introduction to your SaaS product and encourage them to explore further.

  1. Use the pricing page inside the app to influence a free trial user's decision-making. Display in-app banners to alert users about limited-time discounts or special offers on pricing plans, prompting them to take action. 

Furthermore,  in-app messaging here should guide users in their purchases by providing tooltips to highlight the differences between pricing tiers. 

  1. When users explore the features pages, leverage in-app modals to offer specific features. Enhance credibility and trust by showcasing positive customer testimonials related to the features being discussed through in-app notifications.

  1. Lastly, try in-apps for blogs with high traffic. Guide users to related SaaS blog posts or content through in-app messages, keeping them engaged and encouraging further exploration. Likewise, invite users to subscribe to your blog using in-app pop-ups.

7 Best practices for effective messaging in apps

  1. Tailor messages based on user behaviors.

There’s no way around this but to segment users based on their app activity. Craft personalized in-app messages that line up with their actions. Just like for effective SaaS emails, behavior-based in-apps are more relevant—whether it's suggesting new features or offering assistance based on their interactions.

  1. Inject humor and personalized language.

Humor helps to create a more relaxed and enjoyable tone, plus it adds personality to your messages. Caution: Always keep your humor relevant and appropriate to your audience, and be careful not to cross the line.

  1. Surprise users with personalized messages

Everyone loves surprises. When we're surprised by something unexpected, it triggers a release of dopamine in our brains. And that enhances our mood.

So, surprise your users with in-app messages that offer rewards, discounts, or even as simple as a personalized thank-you message. These gestures not only delight users but also nurture a positive relationship.

  1. Nudge users to initiate conversations

Don’t forget that in-app messaging is a communication medium. You may send a message asking, "Hey, how can we improve your experience?"  to boost user engagement while also giving valuable insights into user needs. You can also nudge them to action items like "invite a friend" or "share your experience" to drive user acquisition or maximize retention.

  1. Give app-related knowledge or tips

Messages should be relevant to the user, or they'll ignore it or, worse, uninstall the app. Make your in-apps the instant troubleshooter that helps users with solutions when they encounter a roadblock.  App-related knowledge or tips can proactively address common pain points when using your tool.

  1. Make it more appealing. 

In-app messaging doesn’t have to be boring. Use interactive elements and Use eye-catching design elements to grab a user’s attention and make them click. An interactive approach enhances user involvement and ensures that your message is not just seen but acted upon. Just ensure that your design is not too overwhelming to distract the user from the message.

  1. Optimize messaging via A/B testing.

Experimentation is your friend. Conduct A/B tests on different elements of your in-app messages—content, visuals, CTAs. Find out what works best for you and iterate accordingly to refine your messaging strategy.

Rewrite your in-app messages now

Like’s boost in user engagement, shouldn't you take your in-app messaging more seriously, too? 

As we've seen in this post, different SaaS use different types of in-app messaging. From welcoming users to strategically placing notifications on money pages, app notifications can enhance your SaaS user interface. 

It's all about delivering the right message at the right time to the right audience! 

Ready to see the power of in-app messaging for your SaaS? Hire CaaSocio for your in-app copy! 

Book a call now.

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