Customer Activation: The First Hurdle to Sustainable Growth
It goes without saying, but a business isn’t a business without its customers. Focus on them and everything else will come; here are three ways to help you do that.
Drive high quality traffic to your landing page – check.
Increase sign-ups for your product – check.
Active users of your product – non-existent.
This is a common predicament for many startup founders – they lose sleep, and cannot find a solution for the ‘leaky tap’ dilemma that takes place at the activation stage of the funnel. Activation is the lifeblood of businesses; you may have the best product out there, but if no one starts using it, your efforts will be completely wasted. The first few interactions that new customers have with your product and your business as a whole, are extremely crucial as it allows you to show them that you are able to meet their needs and/or provide them significant value.
There is no single recipe for success when it comes to activation, but the underlying factor that determines your success in customer activation is whether you can add value to their lives.
So instead of focusing on driving conversions, focus on identifying what your customers need and want, and deliver that well:
three ways to stop the ‘leak’
1. Get to know your customers
Your customers are a complicated bunch, so to make it easier for yourself, start off by understanding why people would want to use your product and make sure they understand the value of it.
When you have an understanding of what your customers are looking for and what their pain points are, you can better tailor your product and content to directly address their needs and wants.
It is also essential that your customers understand the value of your product immediately. The way you explain what your product does and how it works would differ depending on your target audience – there is no one-size-fits-all approach to this. As you only have one shot at this, keep your onboarding flow clear and concise by eliminating unnecessary jargon, and make it as visual as possible.
2. Provide value beyond what your customers expect
If you’re in the pre-launch stage and your product is not ready, offer potential customers relevant content/resources that they can use to solve their problems immediately instead of just collecting their emails. This shows them that you are interested in solving their problems instead of just trying to sell your product to them.
It could be as simple as a welcome email asking your customers for feedback on how you can better serve their needs. It is crucial, however, to set your customer’s expectations of the product at the start – don’t make promises you can’t or don’t intend to fulfill.
3. Be human
You may have an awesome product, but in order to deliver maximum value, it must be easy for your customers to pick up and start using immediately. Most people don’t have the time or energy for steep learning curves.
This is where empathy plays a huge part in the development of your product: putting yourself in your customers’ shoes allows you to empathize and understand their point of view, the pain points and friction they may face when interacting with your product. This will help you find out if you have to simplify your product or streamline the onboarding process.
Super startups like Airbnb, have understood that they need to ensure that their users have great customer support to facilitate the use of their product. This no longer means auto-reply bots that respond to every query with the exact same messages.
Great customer service always comes with a personal touch, and people want to receive an explanation from or interact with another human. So when it comes to actual support, there needs to be an individual available to address your customers’ problems and queries, be it face-to-face, over a call or live chat.
Customers are also more willing to engage with you when they can communicate and relate to you as a person, rather than as a soulless entity trying to sell them a product. It’s important to always be professional, but don’t be afraid to let your customers see a hint of your personality in your interaction with them.
User acquisition is now incredibly easy, with guides and how-tos a mere Google away. Ensuring your acquired users get past the initial hurdle to provide you with usage data and feedback is a challenge that has resulted in the failure of many startups, especially in South East Asia. So take the time to understand the concept of user activation, and every decision you make will be more likely to move a needle and make a positive impact on your growth strategy.