Your Guide to Tackling Product Adoption

You launched a product. Now what? After months of marketing and PR releases, endless hours of growth hacking, and word-of-mouth interactions with your customer base, your product adoption rate still hasn’t hit the 100% penetration you were hoping for.

In the product adoption stage (getting customers to adopt and use the product after its been launched), your goal is to usher as many users through your funnel to your “aha!” moment (when they recognize your product's true value and thus continue to use your product and evangelize its usefulness) as possible.

Such a strategic moment in your product adoption cycle seems like something that shouldn't be rushed. Are there safe ways to speed up the product adoption stage?

You can hasten the adoption process by thinking about it within context of four stages of customer adoption (awareness, evaluation, trial, and adoption) and implementing the following methods for each stage.

1. Product Awareness

Getting the word out about your product is the first crucial step. How will people eventually get to product adoption if they’ve never heard of your product? You can start with some of the most common methods in the product marketing book.

Awareness media

It says it in the name - awareness media is any type of media that will bring awareness. Traditionally, this used to mean making potential customers aware of your product through television, print, or radio advertisements. But awareness media can cover like press releases, events, mass-media advertising, content (including video), and social media.

Direct response media

Direct response media is media that will get you an immediate response from your potential customer. Infomercials, contests, and referral programs are all designed to gain instant customer leads to get them to buy. Direct response media can be as old school as infomercials (in the digital age, that means using platforms like YouTube and TikTok) referral programs, direct mail pieces, billboards, and other OOH (out of home) advertising, and digital ads.

2. Product Interest to Evaluation

Now the word is out about your product. How do you keep people invested in learning more and creating a viable interest in the product? Repetition is one way. Behavioral tactics are another.

Keep Your Product Top-of-Mind with Customers

How do you keep your product top-of-mind with customers? Strategic repetition across all of your channels (in-app, social media, emails, etc). Advertisers have been using repetition to get customers to buy (or adopt) their products for decades. A simple adage in advertising holds true for your product adoption “ Frequency breeds familiarity, and familiarity breeds trust.” The marketing rule of 7 states that “... a prospect needs to ‘hear’ the advertiser’s message at least 7 times before they’ll take action to buy that product or service.”

One way to use repetition is by sending a series of emails at strategic points during the customer onboarding process. For example, when a user signs up for the product, send an email to show how to install your widget on their website. Once installed, send another email to highlight the solutions your product offers, asking the customer if their usage matches any of the solutions you offer. Then send a third email showing how to achieve a resolution to their particular problem or situation.

Advertising, in-app messaging, and even social media are all ways to extend your product messaging and get it top-of-mind with consumers. When the California Milk Processor Board needed a campaign to sell dairy products, the Got Milk? campaign was born. It resulted in 70 commercials, 350 milk mustache ads, and an estimated 80% of all U.S. consumers coming into contact with their repetitive question. Consider your product the next Got Milk and constantly remind users of its benefits and features at every turn to help speed up your product adoption.

Use behavioral economic tactics to guide consumers

There is a psychology behind consumerism that has been used for decades called behavioral economics. Implementing this discipline means using psychological biases to nudge customers to take action in a way favorable to your company.

There are hundreds of psychological triggers you can use to speed adoption, but 3 examples of this are:

  • Narrative Bias: Consumers understand products most effectively through storytelling. Selling your story by making a human connection is far more effective when in the product adoption stage. In one Forbes experiment, they found that 55% more people responded to stores than straight data
  • Social Proof: Consumers will use the experience of others to influence their purchase decisions. This is why more consumers buy products based on reviews and referrals than those that do not. Up to 89% of consumers check online reviews as part of their online buying journey, and 49% look at positive reviews as a factor when making purchase decisions.
  • Relativity: Consumers tend to make decisions faster when comparing products. 65% of consumers comparison shop to ensure they are getting the best deal for their money.

Growth hacking

Growth hacking is the process of building a scientific, repeatable methodology for rapidly deploying iterative tests, usually leveraging behavioral economics principles and often focused on in-product levers, to drive growth. It’s a fantastic practice to optimize conversion funnels and help a larger portion of users reach your “aha!” moment.

Growth hacking is more about process than tactics, but a few examples of growth-hacking in action include:

  • Referral tactics like getting $5 to refer a friend - implied discounts go a long way to retaining customers
  • Optimized onboarding flows - making it easy for first-time customers to use your product is a good tactic to impress your user
  • Product features that auto-post to social media - keeping the customer informed in their channel about product or feature updates (and using the opportunity to upsell).

3. Product Evaluation

Your product is out there - people are hearing about it, and you're reminding them of it at every turn. Now customers are in the Evaluation stage, where they decide on whether they should use your product - or not. At this stage, the customer is looking at all aspects of your product including features, price customer care, and more. This is where your detailed research helps. Here are two solid ways to get more people to evaluate your product before launch.

Offer Freemiums, Limited Trials, or Demos

Freemiums and free trials help adoption rates because they offer a “taste” of your product's potential before customers purchase it. A customer is more likely to purchase a full product if they find it useful during a trial stage, with almost 60% of free trial users converting to paid users.

You can offer a “taste” in these ways:

Freemium - Provides consumers with basic or restricted functions for free and then charges a fee for more or advanced features.

Free trial - Gives the consumer a chance to check out your product with limited options but cuts off all functionality after a pre-set amount of time.

Demo request - The consumer can request a free demo, but this usually involves asking for detailed information from the consumer and possibly requesting credit card info. This could hamper your adoption efforts since 79% of customers say they’re concerned about how companies use their data, especially sensitive credit card info.

With Ignition, the first dedicated GTM platform for Product Marketers, you can manage your demo or freemium offering by keeping it on your task list, allowing you to drag and drop assets for your demo (including scripts) so teams can collaboratively offer feedback.
FPO: Suggested graphic

Create Tips and Video Tutorials for Each Feature

Creating tips and video tutorials for each feature help customers get immediate answers to functionality questions about your product. It increases their engagement as well. Tutorials are in high demand, with33% of users asking for more tutorial content on the internet. When you provide tips and tutorials, the customer won't have as many questions along their journey, which speeds up the adoption process as well.

Create tips and tutorials by talking to the developers and testers and have them explain in two sentences what a particular feature does. Turn that into a rudimentary script. Turn that script into a tutorial. With Ignition, you can use the process workflow dashboard to ideate what the tutorials should contain, enhance communication between teams so that tutorial creation is more about collaborative workflows and not siloed information, and even help post-launch initiatives so that getting your product to market isn't the endgame — satisfying customers with your product is.

4. The Adoption Stage

So, people are using your product. They’re digging it for the most part. You let it loose on a select group of testers and veteran customers. You created some tips, maybe some case studies, and you made sure customers saw the benefits of your product over your competitors. Now just sit back, cross your fingers, and hope that everyone in the world loves your product.

No. That’s not how it works.

There are key influencing factors in product adoption. Enhancing any or all of these will help to move product adoption along. And the converse is true; Ignoring any of these will delay your product adoption, keeping customers away from that “aha!‘ moment when they start to realize why they bought your product and will continue to use it.

Relative advantage - what does your product have that others do not? Any advantage may be something that gets your product adopted faster. Lite beer tastes like regular beer but has fewer calories. That’s a relative advantage.

Compatability - This refers to how compatible your product is with what’s out there. For instance, your product is an electric car, but it only gets 50 miles per charge - and you work 75 miles from your home. Your product is not compatible with your customer base, and therefore adoption rates will suffer.

Complexity - If you have a product that is too difficult to use or understand, then your product adoption rates will drop. A case in point is virtual reality gaming. Early adopters know that the pricey equipment and expensive setups made virtual reality headsets seem like unobtainable toys, but reductions in price and easier implementation sped up the adoption rate and made them more available to a larger community.

Divisibility - Divisibility refers to how much you can test drive a product on a limited basis. If your software’s functionality can't be shown in a limited trial, then what's the use of showing it at all? Customers test drive cars because if you're going to make a substantial investment in something, you're going to want to see how it works first. The same goes for software.

Communicability - How customers communicate about your product can slow down or speed up your product adoption rate. Even if everything else on this list is optimized, a customer needs to be able to tell others about it. If they find your product is too complex to describe, how are they going to tell family and friends to try it?

Don’t skimp on your research

Research is absolutely vital when establishing a GTM strategy. Without it, you have no real direction for your launch. But research has to be segmented into logical phases in order to speed up product adoption in your launch strategy, or you may find yourself working on the wrong research at the wrong time.

Concept Testing - Concept testing in the product development process is where you put together a detailed description of a product and everything it does and present it to potential core customers. You basically want to know if they like the product, how they're going to use it, or what they want to see added. If you;re seeking to advance that “a-ha” moment with your customers, you have to first know that they want your product.

Packaging Research - Packaging research is the process of using data and behavioral modifiers to make the most impactful packaging for your product. Great packaging can result in potent brand recognition. Would you still buy iPods if they came in a bulky, brown plastic charger? Maybe. Maybe not. If you want a speedier product adoption, having a well-tuned design at the packing stage will be critical.

Ignition has built-in research tools like MaxDiff, (a form of Conjoint), which help you identify feature preferences to figure out which features you should charge for and how to bundle them.

Pricing Research - Pricing research is determining how well the market will sustain a price for any particular product. You want to sell your product at market for $100,000. But your competitor sells a similar product for 90% less. Pricing research must be done to see where other similar products are holding price-wise, and what consumers are willing to pay for your product. It will help you decide if features can be cut (or added later) and still demand your asking price.

Ignition also uses pricing studies via Van Westendorp or Gabor-Granger (two pricing model algorithms) to identify what price points will fit best with customers’ mental models.

Message Testing - Message testing is market research that assesses how well (or poorly) your marketing language connects with an audience. You want your product’s features, and any solution they offer to be on point with your audience. Otherwise, you may be preaching to the wrong choir, and it will be harder to catch fire with your customers.

Post-launch NPS - NPS (net promoter score) is a feedback tool gathered through surveys that gives brands a sense of whether a customer would recommend you to anyone else. The most common question is “On a scale of 1-10, how likely would you recommend our product to a friend or colleague?”. Its usefulness lies in the follow-up question - “Tell us what prompted that score?”

Most companies focus on the positive answers, but for product adoption, you want to amass and analyze all the negative answers. The reason? Those are the areas that need improvement, and pain points for the customer that you should assess for your next round of product updates and improvements.

You can make product adoption even easier with Ignition

Ignition is a go-to-market platform that integrates all of the seemingly complex workloads that a product has to use to make it from conception to launch. If you're struggling with the daunting amount of work that goes into product development, let Ignition assist you by providing a one-stop dashboard that provides everything you need to get your product to market. From customer and market research, to launch communication management, and even product analytics, you can speed up your launch adoption product more easily with Ignition.

Derek Osgood
CEO

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