🧪 HubSpot’s Secret Sauce

How to use reciprocity to boost your SaaS sales & user conversions

SaaS Strategists,

Yesterday I walked into the local supermarket.

There was this new brand doing a promo and offering free drinks.

It was quite good so I ended up buying 2 bottles so my wife can try it as well.

When I came home I realized something.

I’ve been tricked.

Tricked by the strategy that has been in the books for decades.


So I immediately knew what I wanted to talk about today.

Let’s dive into the psychological strategies SaaS brands use in order to trick you into becoming their customer 👇️ 

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🧪 HubSpot’s Secret Sauce

Same way I have been tricked in the supermarket,

You may have been on the internet.

‘Tricked’ may be a heavy word though.

You consciously subscribed to Spotify.

Use Dropbox daily.

And pay your monthly Notion subscription.

All of the mentioned SaaS companies had to gain your trust prior to you opting in for their paid plan.

Here’s how some of them do it using the power of reciprocity:


Content marketing is still one of the best ways to draw customers to your product.

And HubSpot has been notorious for its content strategy.

Their strategy is the following:

  1. Educate potential customers with free content & tools

  2. Help customers solve their problems with in-depth tutorials

  3. Get started for free

  4. Familiarize users with the platform

  5. Motivate them to become paying clients

They use the classic Unaware → Most aware funnel to convert their users.

Hubspot’s acquisition funnel

As you can see, HubSpot leverages reciprocity through its extensive collection of free educational content such as ebooks, webinars, and templates.

By providing valuable resources at no cost, they establish themselves as a trusted authority, leading users to consider their premium services when the need arises.


I’ve already written the full story of Dropbox and how it dominated the online file-sharing space.

You can find it here:

But one strategy helped them achieve an astonishing 3900% user growth in 15 months!


But not just any referrals.

They implemented a 2-side referral program that benefited both the person referring and the one referred.

If you recommended Dropbox to your friend you both could get up to 16GB of space for free.

Now that’s value.

Dropbox’s referral program


With over 30 million daily active users, Grammarly is a great example of a SaaS company that puts its users first.

Personally, I can’t imagine not having Grammarly by my side when creating content and writing any kind of document.

Their reciprocity strategy is pretty straightforward:

We’ll give you as much value as you can get for free, and if you need additional semantical improvements, you can sign up for our paid plan.

Let’s face it.

We all have Grammarly’s trust.

And it would be a breeze to sign up for a paid plan when the conditions require it.

Grammarly suggestions


Slack is one of the go-to team communication platforms.

And in their free plan, they try and offer as much as possible for teams to be connected better than ever before.

I would say their main reciprocity strategy is built around their App Directory marketplace feature.

You see,

Slack has ecosystemized its users.

Similar to how Apple has its own ecosystem, not allowing you to leave it, since everything is interconnected and simply works,

Slack created a marketplace where users can access a wide range of third-party integrations and bots.

These integrations enhance productivity and extend Slack's functionality to cater to specific team needs, and most importantly:

To have all the other apps you need, integrated INSIDE SLACK.

By providing this open ecosystem, Slack encourages users to explore the possibilities of customization and enhanced workflows, which can lead to increased reliance on the platform and higher conversion rates for paid plans.

Slack marketplace


Similar to Slack, Notion uses its pre-made templates to bring more paid customers in.

I’m personally a big fan of Notion and use it as a second brain & a second OS.

Users can access a vast collection of pre-designed templates for various use cases, such as project management, note-taking, and content planning.

By providing ready-to-use templates, Notion helps users get started quickly and experience the platform's flexibility.

This is ultimately a big selling point for specific teams - get up and running, quickly.

Once the users earn their trust, they want to increase their Notion use cases, leading to paid user conversion.

Notion’s template gallery

Studies show that reciprocity has been proven to increase sales by 42%.

So start giving something away for free.

The ROI benefits are well worth it.

🔝 Top Tweets

Here are the 2 top tweets from this week:

🔥 SaaS Fire

SaaS products so good they'll light up your week:

Shield takes your LinkedIn analytics tracking a step further.

Typeshare helps you elevate your writing game with pre-made templates & ideas.

💡Idea of the Week

Here’s the SaaS idea of the week:

A platform that helps brands connect with relevant social media influencers to boost their brand awareness and reach. It offers a user-friendly dashboard with an intuitive interface, allowing marketers to easily manage and organize their influencer collaborations, track campaigns in real time, and negotiate terms effortlessly. Furthermore, the platform incorporates an AI-powered sentiment analysis tool, enabling businesses to gauge the sentiment of their audience towards influencer campaigns and make data-driven decisions for future marketing endeavors.


  • Streamlined Influencer Discovery: Influencer Magnet utilizes advanced algorithms to efficiently discover influencers who align with a brand's niche, audience, and values, saving time and effort.

  • Data-Driven Performance Tracking: The platform provides detailed analytics and tracking of influencer campaigns, enabling businesses to measure ROI and optimize future marketing strategies effectively.


  • Initial Learning Curve: Users may require some time to familiarize themselves with the platform's features and influencer marketing concepts.

  • Influencer Authenticity: While the platform aims to find suitable influencers, ensuring their authenticity and engagement remains a challenge that users must keep in mind when selecting collaborators.

How did you like this week's issue of SaaS Strats?

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Do you enjoy reading strategies of specific SaaS brands?

I might do more of those in the future.

Until next Thursday,

Ognjen Gatalo

Chief SaaS Strategist ☁️ 

P.S. Reply to this email & let me know your feedback. I make sure to get back to everyone.

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