11 tactics top SaaS companies hire to reduce churn

How does Buffer, Squarespace, Mailchimp, Canva, Prezi, Proof and Ancestry reduce churn?

7 minute read

You’ve got a loyal customer base, your NPS scores are looking great, and your ARR is on the up. Great! Now let’s think about your churn rate. Are you actively trying to lower it?

Okay, sure—churn rate’s not one of the most exciting things to focus on. But the scary truth is that a high churn rate is one of the biggest growth killers in the SaaS industry.

So what can you do to lower your churn rate?

In this post, I’ll show you the tactics that some of the world’s top SaaS companies are using to fight the churn and increase the lifetime value of their customers. Let’s dive into them…

How to fight churn: 11 examples from top SaaS companies

1. Make your customers confirm their password

When you unsubscribe from Prezi, you have to go through three steps. First, you have to confirm your cancellation, then fill out a churn survey, and finally re-enter your password to confirm that you want to cancel your subscription. Prezi offer you plenty of time to reconsider and their copy makes it clear about everything you’ll lose.Prezi Churn Rate Copy

2. Show key help center articles

Ever tried to unsubscribe from Squarespace? You’ll have seen they promote key help center articles as you try to unsubscribe. Links to helpful articles could be the thing you need to retain those customers who are just a bit lost on what they want to do.

Squarespace churn survey example


3. Allow your users to prolong their free trial

Have you heard of Proof before? They’re a hot new SaaS startup that were incubated through Y Combinator and used Facebook ads to really hit the ground running. Their acquisition model is centered around a free 14-day trial.

Now if you try and cancel that trial within the first two weeks? They’ll offer you another 14 days free on them. That should give you enough time to really fall in love with their software.

Proof Churn Popup

4. Remind your customers what they’re going to lose

This is one of the most common tactics used in reducing churn rates.

Let’s look at Squarespace again. When you try and unsubscribe from Squarespace, they warn you about what you’re going to lose by canceling.

Squarespace cancellation copy

Canva do a similar thing too. They highlight all the features you’re going to lose if you downgrade to their free plan.

Canva reduce churn rate

Same again with Proof. They remind you that you’ll lose all of your historic data and access to their Conversion Club.

Now look at what Ancestry do here. Their “goodbye” page offers you different paths to go down other than that final cancellation. They offer you the opportunity to learn more about their product and highlight features that you might have missed.

Ancestry goodbye page churn

5. Ask your customers to downgrade to a lower-priced plan

As soon as you click “Unsubscribe me”, AdEspresso ask their customers if they’d like to switch to a “University Plan”, priced at a pretty reasonable $19 per month. The secret here is that this University Plan isn’t visible on any of their public pricing pages.

This hidden plan caters for small businesses who spend less than $500 per month on advertising but still want access to AdEspresso’s private Facebook group, webinars, experiments, and ad library.

Help your customers grow into one of your “standard” plans by offering a more affordable one at the beginning!

Adespresso university plan churn tactic

6.  Make your customer’s creations available publicly if they cancel

This tactic is hired by Prezi, who ask their users “Are you sure you want to go?”. If they want to cancel, they have to check a box which instantly makes all of their presentations available publicly. Ouch! That’s enough to make you reconsider.

7. Immediately ask your users to re-subscribe

After unsubscribing, Squarespace immediately send you an email asking if you want to reactivate your website. Because it must have been an accident 😉

Squarespace cancellation copy

Canva use the same tactic here, but they’re a bit more direct. They make it really clear that all your work is still available for you if you come back.

canva cancellation confirmed churn tactic

8. They’ve not “unsubscribed”, something just needs “fixed”

After you’ve unsubscribed from Squarespace, you’re not shown a “please upgrade” CTA. Squarespace turn this ordinary tactic on its head and show you a “Fix Now” CTA to reactivate your account. They’re really going with the idea that unsubscribing was an accident.

9. Instantly ask your customers to go yearly

As soon as you purchase a monthly AdEspresso subscription, you’re given a 24 hour timed offer to get a whopping 50% discount on their yearly plan. Pretty sweet, but why does this matter?

When you lock your customers into a yearly plan, it often increases retention and therefore boosts your customer LTV too.

But if you offer a discount as an incentive, keep an eye on how much your ARPA drops by! It may end up making your LTV considerably lower.

Adespresso offer advert

10. Ask your customers to integrate your software into their tools & workflows

Integrations are key to increasing retention. When your software is integrated into your customers’ workflows, they become more and more dependent on your product. And if they wanna switch? That’s gonna be a massive pain.

When you make your first payment to Squarespace, you receive an instant post-purchase email from them that nudges you to integrate.

Squarespace integrations

11. Get them to delete their account

You’ve heard of MailChimp, right?

Surprisingly, MailChimp doesn’t offer an unsubscribe option! They give you two options.

A. You can pause your account twice a year

B. Delete your account

To make it all seem real, MailChimp make you type out the word DELETE as you agree to all of your campaign data being lost forever.


Have you noticed any other tactics to reduce SaaS subscription cancellation? What is your company doing to fight churn? Let me know about them below in the comments!