Aug 24, 2017 · 4 min read
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How Slack Converts 30% of Their Freemium Users Into Paid Customers

Let’s just get it out in the open.

Nobody converts more free customers into raving, paying fans like Slack. In fact, we’d bet right now you’re reading this blog and using Slack simultaneously. Here’s the deal: Slack didn’t just give away the tech version of some crummy little keychain you get at the bank or some useless 30-day trial for something you’ll never use. They gave away the holy grail of communication platforms — and now converts 30% of those free users into paid Slack-fanatics.

In other words, Slack gave away a free product that placed themselves in a category that most of us can only dream of being in: essential.

The big question is how?

Slack Knows Their Customers

Slack is an interesting case, because in many ways, Slack is their ideal customer.

Why does this matter?

Instead of attracting a bunch of users that simply inflate the numbers, but never convert, Slack attracts major SaaS companies (among others) that share similar communication and team management challenges. If you solve one of their problems, you solve it for an entire industry.

Because Slack’s freemium product offers an easy (and free) solution to communication errors, and includes a very specific number of 10 third-party or custom integrations, their freemium offer is very specific to the right kind of customer base. These are the ones who can jump in and see the need to use Slack right away — and convert others right along with them.

They Don’t Skimp Out on Freemium

Many companies who fail at the freemium model make one critical error — their Freemium plan isn’t enough for users to actually start seeing any kind of benefit. Sure, you may have a few people sign up but if the freemium product is a dud or doesn’t solve at least one part of their problem — they won’t be motivated to upgrade.

That’s not a problem with Slack. Slack is simple and essential right off the bat — and cuts down on email hassles immediately for free users. You don’t have to pay to have one of your major problems solved.This makes the conversion to premium a no-brainer, because if Slack solves one major issue for free, the assumption is that a laundry list of more complicated problems will be solved just as easily within premium.

Solve a problem or at least a portion of that problem for free if you want to follow in Slack’s footsteps and convert more freemium users into the premium powerhouses.

Slack Makes Their Premium (Paid) Product Feel Essential

Slack focused on three key features that distinguished them among their competitors:

An easy search function — This is especially appealing when comparing Slack to using email for team communication. Email can’t be searched for specific keywords within a conversation, a function many teams and team leaders have come to rely on.

Synchronization — Slack’s platform updates across all devices instantly.

Effortless file sharing

Take this individuality and add in a well-marketed scaling system to find the crux of how Slack has managed to convert their free users into premium customers with minimal pestering. Their ideal paid user is not a single person, but an entire team. By making this app “Team Centered” they widen their user base immensely.

The Right Prompts at the Right Time

You’ll never see Slack asking free users to “upgrade.” However, what you will see are value-based prompts, reminding freemium users that they could be getting so much more value from Slack — and there’s an opportunity for them to learn more. This approach is genius because it targets exactly the kind of premium users that a company wants — users who have particular and time-sensitive needs for a specific feature or function — and they’re excited to see how they can get their hands on more.

In other words, Slack didn’t skimp out on their freemium customer — because they knew by skimping out on them at that level, they’d never attract the right customer period. Instead of tip-toeing around “giving away the farm” Slack made sure they were relevant, helpful and did what they’re known for — exceptional customer experience, without having to be paid to do it.

CloudApp loves Slack

We are huge fans of Slack, and always happy to give Slack some love. We use it daily as a part of our company communications and workflow, especially to communicate with our multiple remote engineering teams in Los Angeles, Mexico and Poland. In fact, we love it so much we created a Slack integration with CloudApp. Read more about how it works here. We would love your feedback on it, let us know in the comments below.

We’d love your feedback

Do you use Slack? We’d love to hear how it helps you be more productive in the comments below.

As always, feel free to drop us a line at and follow @cloudapp news on Twitter.

-The CloudApp team

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