Consumer Discretionary

2 Long-Term Approaches To Increase User Activation

<p>User activation aka getting a new user to the&nbsp;<em>"I see, I get it!"</em>&nbsp;point<em>,&nbsp;</em>is one the most important leading indicators of retention and generally ends up being the deciding factor between life or death for early-stage products...</p><p><strong><em>or</em></strong></p><p>...between hyper or stutter growth mature products who suddenly find themselves operating in a hyper-competitive market.</p><p>No wonder why product-minded growth professionals end up giving it a huge chunk of their focus. Below are some long-term-friendly approaches I have found to be effective (like any advice, please pick &amp; apply based on your exact product context) :</p><p><em><u>Note</u>&nbsp;: The reason I specifically call these "long-term" is because there are a ton of short-term approaches (deep-discounts, UX shortcuts....) to move your activation metric which are perhaps okay to boost your activation process but not really to base your core strategy on.</em></p><h2>#1 : Ensure that your product positioning makes people&nbsp;<em><u>want</u></em>&nbsp;to actively use you.</h2><p>This stems from YC's famous&nbsp;<em>"Build something people want"</em><em>&nbsp;</em>motto.</p><p>The core thesis here being that ideally the people visiting your product should be "dying" to get activated instead of the product trying to "push" them through the activation journey.</p><p><strong>Canva</strong>'s intent-based custom SEO landing pages are a great example of this :</p><div class="slate-resizable-image-embed slate-image-embed__resize-full-width"><img src=";v=beta&amp;t=C3onC6TSPhMTXt-y3i3iCvbbwQmhW8qSbcgS2T3hVk4" alt="No alt text provided for this image" data-media-urn="" data-li-src=";v=beta&amp;t=C3onC6TSPhMTXt-y3i3iCvbbwQmhW8qSbcgS2T3hVk4" /></div><p><em>For someone who needs to create venn diagrams for the webinar next morning this does a great job of making the person want to learn how to use Canva pretty much asap.</em></p><p>The key to get started on this is to realise the difference between building and positioning.</p><p>You may have built something that people want and witnessed traction with your early adopter audience but if its not showcased in a way that makes potential users&nbsp;<em>immediately see&nbsp;</em>why they want to utilise your product - especially people beyond your early-adopter segment - then your user activation % is only going to dive down over time.</p><p>In fact, not being able to make this jump in time is one of the fatal mistakes I made as a founder myself.</p><p>Furthermore : I have noticed this happen in mature organisations I have worked with as well.</p><p>Mature organisations who have already crossed the&nbsp;<em>"Valley of Death"</em><em>&nbsp;</em>tend to focus more on scaling/sustaining incoming traffic and less on&nbsp;<em>updating</em>&nbsp;their positioning per the changing competitive landscape.</p><p>Work like building onboarding flows for newly added features, brainstorming creative email "campaign ideas" to activate/re-activate visitors, optimising acquisition channel spends, etc takes prominence over optimising the first-touch experience (aka positioning) to make the product naturally irresistible.</p><p>But yes, as products add more business lines, more value propositions to their umbrella this becomes a tougher problem to solve.</p><p>What's worse? The lowering activation rate tends to get bucketed under the "lowering traffic quality" label - when in fact a sizeable chunk (if not all) of it is the effect not suboptimal/unclear positioning.</p><p><strong>Bottom-line</strong>&nbsp;: Continuously monitor your product's positioning as perceived by different kinds of new visitors, decide which segment(s) matters to you and apply your insights to make the product "appear" irresistible to them.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><h2>#2 : Make new visitors excited (not just informed) about the product.</h2><p>More often than not, product builders focus on the conventional holy-grail of user onboarding : "Onboard the user in as few steps as possible." (Btw, this includes me up until some point in the past).</p><p>While the real criteria for effective user activation includes user "<strong>excitement</strong>" as much as user "<strong>education</strong>" - the focus of conventional onboarding strategies.</p><p>Why? Because people increasingly have lesser patience while exploring the tool and hence more prone to drop-off at the slightest hint of anxiety or fear.</p><p>And secondly, because they just have more equally-good/decent/workable alternatives to get pretty much any job done. So unless they are meaningfully excited about your product, a good chunk of new visitors will end up not completing the activation journey right away.</p><p>Since B2B is increasingly getting as highly competitive &amp; UX-driven as B2C, this insight applies almost equally to all products.</p><p><strong>Retool</strong>'s<strong>&nbsp;</strong>homepage is a great example of utilising this insight through carefully crafted product messaging in the B2B realm :</p><div class="slate-resizable-image-embed slate-image-embed__resize-full-width"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src=";v=beta&amp;t=LFYBkVNh7GLm3lsbfIxY31n4lRuntdo2mD9QTlO6Rhc" alt="No alt text provided for this image" data-media-urn="" data-li-src=";v=beta&amp;t=LFYBkVNh7GLm3lsbfIxY31n4lRuntdo2mD9QTlO6Rhc" /></div><div class="slate-resizable-image-embed slate-image-embed__resize-full-width"><img src=";v=beta&amp;t=rSRuJJpR-qwCls-ERK7Dg1ZIOhb2AqLKja9WqHccWQE" alt="No alt text provided for this image" data-media-urn="" data-li-src=";v=beta&amp;t=rSRuJJpR-qwCls-ERK7Dg1ZIOhb2AqLKja9WqHccWQE" /></div><p>Notice how they neatly snuck excitement driving messaging suited for a developer tasked with building out internal dashboards, while also solving for one of the key anxieties&nbsp;<em>("What if I need something that is not a pre-existing block?")</em>&nbsp;right after building up the excitement with the following bit :</p><div class="slate-resizable-image-embed slate-image-embed__resize-full-width"><img src=";v=beta&amp;t=jEs88tPhfoaKZzoteP9JMpuyepYRqbOwm1xIGH4x3Ls" alt="No alt text provided for this image" data-media-urn="" data-li-src=";v=beta&amp;t=jEs88tPhfoaKZzoteP9JMpuyepYRqbOwm1xIGH4x3Ls" /></div><p>This along with careful placement of dashboard GIFs showcasing the tool, comforting colour schema etc play a key role in taking more people from&nbsp;<em>"Looks like a cool tool."</em>&nbsp;to&nbsp;<em>"I think we should give this a shot!"</em> to creation of their app "under 30 seconds" even if the engineer is totally swamped</p><p>So, whether it's someone looking to buy grocery online or a Continuous Integration tool for their newly minted enterprise team - getting them excited enough on landing and until they cross the activation milestone is as important as precisely communicating all your cool features and how to use them.</p>
KR Expert - Nimit Jain