Show Don’t Tell: Live Demos to Engage Your Website Visitors Right Away

Victoria Rudi
May 31, 2022
⌚ 5 min read

→ Your growth practice

Allow your website visitors to “test drive” your SaaS product without having to register or sign in.

→ Quick explanation

There are two types of SaaS companies:

  • Sales-led or SaaS companies that “hide” their product behind intricate “Contact Us” forms and boring demo calls.
  • Growth-led or SaaS companies that allow people to test their products right away without connecting with a company rep.

Gradually, though, we’re seeing shaping up three growth-led trends:

  • Gated demos or asking website visitors to register with their email or social media credentials before using the SaaS product.
  • Live demos or allowing people to try the SaaS product without any registration.
  • Interactive demos or designing walks-through experiences of the product people can access directly on the landing page.

► Quick note: We’ll discuss the interactive demos as a separate SaaS growth practice.

Although not frequent, live demos enable website visitors to get a taste of the product right away, helping them understand whether the platform is a good fit for their needs.

→ Definitions

📓 Product-led growth: A business strategy using the product as the primary medium for user acquisition, conversion, and retention.

📓 Live demo: A sandbox-like space that allows website visitors to try a SaaS product without giving away their privacy.

→ Types of live demos

  • Limited: Some SaaS companies may allow people to access a couple of features only, requesting registration for the full product experience.
  • Expanded: Some SaaS brands will create live demos enabling website visitors to try and test a wide variety of product features without registering.

→ Your growth opportunities

  • Gain people’s trust by reducing friction.
  • Get more people to try your product, even those who’re reluctant to register.
  • Your website visitors will get a better understanding of your product than just reading countless feature bullet points and wondering whether to register.
  • Attract high-quality leads (if you offer a free trial) or high-quality users (if you provide a freemium platform). In most cases, only those who found your live demo valuable will register to use the product.
  • Start the onboarding process before forcing users to fill out any forms.
  • Draw higher conversion rates by making people feel they’re in the driving seat.

→ Case examples

>> Typefully, Twitter thread maker and analytics

When accessing the website of Typefully, people land on a dashboard. Well, sort of, as people have to log in via their Twitter accounts or click on “Or try it instead” to access the dashboard.

Before accessing the dashboard, the website visitors will see a quick list of features Typefully provides. The features are grouped around specific actions users can take on Twitter, such as:

  • Write
  • Engage
  • Grow
  • Publish
Typefully Screenshot

Also, people can visualize the name of those using Typefully for their Twitter accounts. Some of these users are famous creators, such as:

  • David Heinemeier Hansson
  • Nik Sharma
  • Nir Eyal
  • Corey Haines
  • And more
Typefully Screenshot

When clicking on “Or try it instead,” people can “test drive” Typefully by writing a Twitter post. The dashboard opens up with an editable Twitter thread written by a co-founder, which describes what Typefully can do. Moreover, the Twitter thread contains social proof and testimonials. A smart move from a marketing perspective. 😎

Typefully Screenshot

People can delete the thread and write their own post to see how it looks and how easy it is to write Twitter threads on Typefully.

However, they’ll have to log in to the platform via their Twitter accounts to access more options and features.

>> Taskade, a project management platform

People can access Taskade’s Live Demo directly from the navbar. The Live Demo allows website visitors to try multiple product features and get a feel of it.

Taskade Screenshot

>> Twos, a memory management platform

When accessing the page of Twos, people have the option to Sign Up for free, Login or Use Twos before signing up. When clicking on the third option, the website visitors can experience the platform’s full potential.

Twos Screenshot

>> Tally, a form builder platform

When visiting Tally’s page, people will see a navbar CTA called “Create form.” When clicking on it, they’ll access the platform, being able to create a Form right away. People must create a Tally account only if they want to publish the form they’ve made in the Live Demo.

Tally Screenshot

► Quick note: Tally is also offering guiding to its live demo testers by inviting them to access Get Started materials, such as: 

  • Create your first form
  • Get started with templates
  • Embed your form
  • Blog and Help Center
  • And more

>> Octopus, a visual sitemap builder

When accessing Octopus, people have the option to check overall product details or try it immediately.

Octopus Screenshot

If website visitors click on the pop-up-like banner, they can read different product-related information, such as features.

Octopus Screenshot

But if they click on the background project, they’ll be able to experience the Octopus product immediately.

Octopus Screenshot

>> VEED, a video editing platform

When on the VEED’s page, people can upload and edit their video immediately without having to create an account. As simple as that.

VEED Screenshot
VEED Screenshot

→ What to consider?  


  • Is my product user-friendly and easy to navigate?


  • You can’t provide a live demo if you’re not a product-led company.
  • Your product must be intuitive and easy to use without requiring extensive onboarding. You may add some tips to your live demo, but people have to be able to use your product by themselves.

→ Your action framework

📒 Decide which type of live demo you’ll provide. Is it limited or expanded?

📒 Design your live demo. You may want to simply showcase the features, allowing people to play around. Or, you may wish to follow Tally’s example, enabling people to create full-fledged projects.

📒 Decide when you’ll ask people to register or create a platform account. For example, your website visitors may need to register if they want to access more demo features. Or, they may have to register to publish the project they’ve built in your live demo. It all depends on your live demo design.  

📒 If necessary, add onboarding materials to make sure people will know how to navigate your product.

📒 Test your live demo and make sure it’s easy to navigate.

📒 Publish your live demo.

📒 Track KPIs focused on the number of people who:

  • Accessed the live demo without taking any action.
  • Accessed the live demo and tried your product.
  • Registered after accessing your live demo.
  • Became an active user after trying your live demo.
  • Transformed into a paying user as a result of testing your live demo.

These numbers will give you an understanding of your live demo’s impact on your business growth.