Increasing free → paid conversions by 100%

SparkToro is an audience research tool founded by two influential marketers, for marketers. As you can guess, their team had no problem with, well, marketing.

The curse of knowledge

SparkToro’s team was facing a problem many SaaS teams face: the curse of knowledge.

They knew all the ins-and-outs of what their product was capable of. They knew every single feature: where to find it, what it was for, how to use it. Like any team building a SaaS, they were experts in their own product.

Unfortunately for almost every SaaS company, there’s a big gap between how the team understands the product, vs. how customers understand it. And it’s hard to read the label when you’re inside the jar.

So to help the team figure out what their customers actually found most valuable about SparkToro, we ran a survey to their paying, most engaged customers to understand:

  • The solutions customers used before SparkToro
  • The struggle that pushed them to seek a new solution
  • What made them decide to try SparkToro
  • Once using SparkToro, what made them feel certain it was for them
  • The #1 thing they could do now that they couldn’t do before SparkToro

Uncovering where customers really get value

What customers told us can be summarized into a high-level customer “job statement” — i.e., what “job” they “hire” SparkToro to do for them, and the desired outcome they seek when “hiring” SparkToro:

When I’m exploring or optimizing a marketing channel, give me easy access to useful, compelling insights, so I can gain clarity, take action, and impress my stakeholders.

Let’s break that down:

“When I’m exploring or optimizing a marketing channel…” summarizes our learning that customers realized they needed SparkToro in situations where a) they were testing out a marketing channel that was new to them, or b) they’d seen early success with a marketing channel, and now wanted to double-down to make their investment in that channel more effective.

“Give me easy access to useful, compelling insights…” summarizes what mattered most to customers as they searched for a solution:

  • Easy access to insights. They didn’t have hours and hours to spend digging for data.
  • Useful, compelling insights. They needed information that would help them take action.

“So I can gain clarity, take action, and impress my stakeholders” summarizes how they envisioned SparkToro improving their lives: they’d have a clear sense of how to improve their marketing, be able to act, and look smart in front of a boss or client.


We’d learned from research what SparkToro’s best customers valued: ease of use and actionable insights.

We knew their desired outcome: gain the clarity needed to take action, and impress their boss or their client.

We knew the exact features that helped them achieve that desired outcome.

But when potential customers got into the product for the first time, many of them weren’t finding and using those features. As a result, they weren’t reaching those critical value moments.

To make it easier for new users to reach a moment of value, we recommended a series of improvements to the new user onboarding experience, including an in-app checklist to help new users understand how far they’d need to go to get value from SparkToro for the first time, and an onboarding email sequence educating new users on key use cases, benefits of specific features, etc. We also developed a positioning & messaging guide that defined what content and phrasing would best resonate with customers in an onboarding email sequence.

With a thumbs-up from Rand, Casey launched the in-app recommendations, and Amanda drafted up the new onboarding email sequence. Two months after the team launched these updates, SparkToro’s free to paid conversion rate had doubled — in other words, a 100% increase.

"Working with Claire & Gia was invaluable in identifying who our best customers are and how to reach and resonate with more of them. Working with them doesn’t just give you rich customer insights. It provides you with actionable steps to take, critical changes to make, content and processes to improve—all geared toward improving customers’ experience and increasing the value your product provides."