The only product adoption technique that works for SaaS.
Frankly, it’s not only for SaaS. I had to add this word for better ranking and simply because I’m working with SaaS companies. You know… we all do this. :)
Most startups, especially early stage, losing most of their potential customers before the trial even started as they don’t have any user onboarding funnel whatsoever. The very first goal is to make the user realise the value. That’s what user onboarding is about.
The next step is making this user start adopting the product, start using on a regular basis, become active and “healthy” customer who eventually decides to pay for the product as it’s now his life. It’s natural to pay for it.
Product adoption is hard. It requires continues user research and a deep understanding of customers needs, challenges and mostly how their typical day looks like. We are trying to change, and potentially improve, customers life by making him/her using our product. We cannot do this by A/B testing and accidentally bumping into something that works. We cannot do this by looking at data only. We have to know our customers really well.
Once we have that deep understanding of our customers, there is only one way to make customer adopt our product. Only one technique that actually works.
In order to explain the idea, I’ll ask you a simple question - would you agree that regular exercises make you fitter, healthier and even happier? No doubts, right? Everybody agrees that it’s important. Every year millions of people start exercising at home, outdoor or in a local gym/studio.
However, most of us (including me), will stop exercising on a regular basis or even completely stop doing that very quickly. It doesn’t take long to start prioritising other things over exercising. Why is that? I’m not lazy for sure. I do realise the full potential of regular exercises. I went to the gym, know what to do there, and it’s even quite fun. In other words, I’ve been successfully onboarded. So what’s wrong?
The problem is that I’ll have to create this routine by myself. It’s my job to keep doing something until it will start to feel natural; until I’ll feel the need to keep doing that. It takes at least 30 days to get used to a routing. It takes more to start feeling the need to keep doing it. But eventually, you’ll create a habit, which means that you won’t need reasons anymore to keep doing whatever you’re doing. Because now it’s an integral part of your life. Of you, if you wish.
That’s what product adoption process is about - create a routine and make sure users following it, so eventually, they’ll develop a habit of using your product.
How can we create a routine
Now the question is obviously how can we create such routine. No worries. I’m here to help you. :)
To cook a good routine, we will need only one ingredient: in-depth knowledge of our customers. Who they are, what are their real reasons to use your product, how their day looks like and so on?
By knowing our customers' real reasons to use our product we can create the single smallest task they will need to carry out on a regular basis. We will also know how to motivate them, how to reward them and what triggers to use.
By knowing our customers' current routines, we could anchor the new routine with the existing one. For example, we can send every morning an email notification motivating a customer to open the app and check the morning report. We will send it every morning because we do generate a report after 24 hours and because our customers check their emails every morning before morning standup meeting. We cannot send a link though, as we don’t want to create a habit that relies on our emails. We want customers to type in the URL. The report has to be short, but helpful. We need to reward our users for successful task completion for example by adding a “complete” button and showing a “great success” screen once clicked.
Is it easy to create such routine? Not at all. Is it effective? Oh yeah. It’s not that hard to form a new habit as it merely requires a commitment for some period. The problem is to create a proper routine, with effective triggers, motivators, right tasks for users to carry out and the right rewards to encourage customers to keep doing that.