How to Achieve Product Adoption in 4 Easy Steps
So, you’ve successfully launched a product and now you’re planning to launch a new product within the category. If that’s the case. This blog is for you. We’re here to give you ideas to help make your product adoption rates skyrocket.
If you’ve already achieved product-market fit with your first product, you might think that you can easily achieve it with your new one.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work like that. If product launches were easy, then everyone’s product would be a hit.
Having said that, you’re in a much better position now than you were when you launched product number one.
You now have a customer base already, you have your brand awareness, and you have your awesome team.
Essentially, you’re ready to go in all guns blazing!
There are 4 easy steps when it comes to achieving new product adoption.
- The build-up and anticipation
- The launch
Let’s get started…
The build-up and anticipation
For a lot of SaaS startups, achieving awareness of their product can be difficult. Your product is just one of thousands. How can you possibly cut through the noise?
Luckily for you, you’ve been there and done it. You’ve got the grey hairs and wrinkles to prove it!
The fact you’ve achieved PMF with your previous product gives you a massive advantage when it comes to building awareness of your new product and increasing product adoption.
You’ve already got an audience. As long as your product is targeting the same market, then this should be a whole lot easier.
In the run-up to your new product launch, you should plant the seeds as much as possible. How you do this is entirely up to you, but ultimately you need to make some noise.
We’re going to cover some ways you can start generating interest in your product, setting the stage for massive product adoption when you finally launch. These are:
- Using social media
- Using your blog
- Beta testing
Using Social Media
Social media is great for building up interest and awareness of your new product, helping to drive product adoption when it ships.
The best part is that you already have an audience that you built up to market your first product. This means your reach is already larger than if you’d only just started out.
So, what do you post?
Well, you can post updates about the development of the new product. Make some behind-the-scenes videos or images. Interview some of the product designers or devs involved.
You need to make this new product seem like a big deal.
By drip-feeding snippets of information over a longer period of time, you’re the making the product more intriguing. People will sit up and start to take notice.
A fantastic example of this drip-feeding technique comes from Drift.
Recently, Drift launched a new product called Drift Video. They’d already achieved PMF (and great acclaim!) with their primary product, and so they decided to make the most of the audience they’d built up.
Dave Gerhardt, VP of Marketing, has a large and dedicated audience on LinkedIn and Twitter, and he decided to use that to drive new product adoption.
He posted update after update, giving little bits of information regarding Drift Video. Incidentally, he posted a lot of videos himself. He slowly but surely counted down towards Drift’s Hypergrowth event, where the eventual product launch took place.
This constant barrage of information made people take note of Drift’s new offering, and most definitely helped when it came to new product adoption.
Using your Blog
Your blog is another great place for you to share information about your new product and using your knowledge to increase product adoption.
This is an especially useful technique if your product involves educating your prospects to a certain degree.
Chances are, this new product solves a different problem. Ideally it will solve a different problem for the same market you’ve previously targeted.
Either way, you need to educate people about the problem your new product is trying to solve. Writing on topics relevant to your new product is a great way of doing this.
Imagine that your first product was a social media scheduling tool, in the vein of Buffer. It allows you to quickly schedule social media posts in advance, across a range of platforms.
Your blog posts would likely be relevant to social media. You’d write about how to increase reach and engagement, when to post, what to post, etc.
Now imagine that you’re going to launch a second product. This new product is an email marketing tool, enabling you to create your newsletters using content from your social media posts.
Now, all of a sudden, a whole new branch of blog posts is available to you. You can now write about email marketing, and all that it entails.
Blog posts are an effective way of educating prospects in the run-up to launch day, and can plant the seeds for product adoption in future.
I recently took part in a beta test of a writing app called Highland. I was an avid user of the first version, and this second version had a wealth of new features. It was like a whole new product.
When they asked people to apply to beta test their new version, I jumped at the chance, and I was lucky enough to be invited in.
Sure, I was already hooked on their product, but this only served to strengthen my relationship with it.
Beta testing is primarily designed to make sure your new product is in good working condition. Is it doing what it’s supposed to do? Are there any major bugs that need fixing before launch?
But it’s also a great marketing tool.
It means people can try out your product ahead of time. If it’s good, then they’re going to spread the word.
People like to feel included, and so the exclusivity of a beta test invitation can make people super excited about your new product and your product adoption will improve as a result.
They’re going to tell everyone they know about this cool new product they’ve used that isn’t actually released yet. They’ll start selling your product for you, before you’ve even launched it!
The best part about beta testing a new product is that you already have a large pool of potential testers: Your existing customers!
If they love your first product, they’re going to be more than happy to try out your new one.
Beta testing lets you see if your product actually works, and helps you to market it further. In other words, as you generate more interest you can also work towards improving your product. Both of these things are key when it comes to increasing product adoption.
All of that build-up has to lead somewhere. That’s where the new product launch comes in This is the make or break moment when it comes to driving product adoption.
Launching a new product is similar to launching your first product.
You need to use a combination of:
- Landing pages
- Your newsletter
- Product Hunt
You probably had some landing pages when you launched your first product.
The difference this time is that you should already have a lot of organic traffic that will see it, and you have more money to spend on driving people there.
That really means one thing… Your landing page has to be perfect.
You need to include some key things:
- Images or video of the new product.
- An explanation of the pain point your new product solves.
- Some testimonials (beta testers are a good source).
- A clear CTA (generally to sign up for a trial).
Be sure to A/B test different aspects of your landing page. Try out new copy, different colors and layouts, and see which works best.
Look, you’ve done this all before, so I don’t need to tell you how to create your landing page.
What I will say is that your landing page is the most important part of the launch. This is where you’ll be sending people when you announce your new product. It’s the heart of your new product launch.
Take the time to get it right.
A good tip is to check out the fastest growing SaaS companies and then take a look at their landing pages for inspiration.
Monday have an amazing landing page. It has an enticing header, a nice animation of their product, and prominently displays some big customer logos.
It then walks you through the different features, explaining how they help you.
Airtable also have a very effective landing page design, putting their product front and center, focusing on the benefits.
Reverse-engineering successful landing pages is the best way of creating your own.
Email marketing has stood the test of time. Even in this age of social media, email is more effective when it comes to marketing your new product. In fact, for every dollar you spent on email marketing, you can expect an average ROI of $42.
New SaaS companies don’t generally have a mailing list. As an already established company, with a successful product, you have the advantage of having a large mailing list.
You might as well use it, right?
When you launch your new product, send an email out to your list. This email should give them enough information to intrigue them, but not so much that they simply read it and move on.
The aim is to drive people to your landing page, which in turn will drive them to sign up.
The best approach is to keep it simple and to the point. Don’t go overboard and try to sell your new product there and then. People don’t want to be sold to in their email inbox.
Check out this example from Canva, which is as simple as you can get.
When they launched their new iPhone app, Canva sent this email to their web users.
It’s written like a personal email, from one friend to another. The benefits of Canva on your phone are clear, so they don’t dwell on that.
Instead, they focus on the invitation to download it, and try to build a community around the launch with the use of a hashtag.
Use your newsletter to reach out to those most interested in your new product, and drive them to your landing page.
Webinars are extremely popular in the SaaS world, particularly with B2B products. That’s because it enables you to easily share your message with a lot of people. Webinars also lend themselves well to driving new product adoption.
When you launch your new product, you should also run a webinar to coincide with it. This webinar is essentially going to be a showcase for your new product.
You need to show people what it is, why they need it, and how to use it. That final aspect we just mentioned — how to use your new product — is a key reason why you should run a webinar.
While blogs and social media are effective at explaining the what and why, the how is much better explained through a video.
You can treat the webinar like a demo of your product. Imagine that you’re showing it to a prospect. Walk your audience through your new product, showing how it works. Let your product speak for itself.
Afterwards, invite people to sign up and try it out for themselves. You’ll be amazed how many people take you up on your offer. Not only that, but these people will already have a good idea of how to use your product, meaning they’ll be quicker to adopt it.
Product Hunt has become the go-to destination for people who are interested in new products. As a result, it’s also become a key part of SaaS product adoption strategies.
It’s a great way to get your product in front of people, solicit feedback, and ultimately drive interest in your product.
To get an idea of how you can make the most of Product Hunt, it’s worth taking the time to see the most talked about products on there. Look at how they present their product, and how they interact with the community. Product Hunt is all about engagement, and so you need to be ready to drive engagement by responding to comments, answering questions, and generally being helpful.
Here’s a great example of how to use Product Hunt to drive product adoption from Around:
The first thing to note is that Around puts the product at the heart of the Product Hunt campaign. They’ve included a short animation of their product, showing it off. It isn’t too “salesy” or polished – it’s simply letting you see the product in action. But equally, it doesn’t give the game away. It grabs your attention, and forces you to find out more by scrolling down to the description.
Upon doing that, you see this message:
This is a message from Dominik, the CEO of Around. This builds a more personal connection to the product and the company behind it. The message then starts to explain the motivation behind the product, and introduces the key problems with other video calling products.
This message is one of the most important aspects of your Product Hunt launch, so take the time to get it right. Remember this isn’t supposed to be a sales pitch. Think of it more like an opportunity to tell people about the cool product you’ve been working on. Focus on the benefits.
Product Hunt is a fantastic way of getting your product in front of potential customers, and generating interest. This can help drive product adoption in a big way.
So far, we’ve covered techniques that are equally as applicable to launching your first product.
The main difference is that those techniques are now more effective because you have an existing audience and the resources you need. This next step, however, only applies to companies that already have a successful product.
As long as your new product benefits your existing users in some way, then cross-pollination can give your new product a massive boost in terms of product adoption.
The idea is you market your new product to your existing users, in an attempt to drive new product adoption.
There are a number of in-app marketing techniques you can use to achieve this.
We’re going to focus on a couple of big ones:
- Modal announcements
- Sign-in page
A modal is a pop-up that fills the user’s screen. The user normally has to interact with it in some way (either closing it, or clicking the CTA) to remove it.
While modals are sometimes seen as intrusive, they can be very effective when it comes to new product adoption.
When you launch your new product, you can announce it to your existing customers with a modal.
You should explain what the new product is and, more importantly, how it helps them. That benefit is what will drive adoption. Include a CTA that sends them to your new product’s landing page, and you’re good to go.
Here’s an example from Mailchimp:
This is to announce a new feature rather than a whole new product, but the idea is the same. They explain what the announcement is for, the key benefit of the new feature, and a CTA.
Here’s another example, created with Userpilot:
Not only does this pop-up highlight the new product, it also takes the user to it so that they can try it out there and then. This is particularly useful if your new product works alongside your old one.
(Why not try out Userpilot and start driving new product adoption today!)
Don’t overload your users with information, and make sure they can simply close the modal down and carry on doing whatever they wanted to do.
Don’t make your original product unusable in an attempt to market your new product. That won’t go down well.
A slightly less ‘in-your-face’ approach is to use notifications to announce your new product.
Notifications can take many forms. The underlying idea is that they attract your users’ attention without forcing them to view your announcement.
The benefit of this is that you aren’t intrusive, and your existing users won’t be irritated or feel like they’re being sold to.
A great example of using notifications to alert users to a new feature comes from Trello:
Their little mascot says “New stuff!” which immediately draws the user’s eye. Clicking on that notification shows you the announcement. In this case, the announcement is regarding a new aspect of Trello’s product.
You can see how you might adapt this technique to drive new product adoption.
Again, you should include an overview of what the new product is, why your users should try it out, and a CTA directing them to your landing page.
If you don’t want to risk alienating your users with modals, then notifications are the way forward.
There’s another great opportunity to drive new product adoption, and you probably don’t even think about it.
Your sign-in page is viewed by your users every time they log in to use your product. For a lot of you that’s going to be every single day.
Most sign-up pages just contain the form for the username and password. That’s a lot of wasted real estate.
If you have a lot of traffic passing through your sign-up page, you should consider using it as a billboard for your new product.
Here’s an example from Drip:
Most of the page is taken up with an ad for the split testing part of their product. There’s no reason why you can’t use this technique to advertise a new launch, and increase your new product adoption.
Your work doesn’t end when users sign up to your product. To truly achieve product adoption, they need to become recurring users. That means you need them to be in it for the long haul.
One of the most effective ways to improve product adoption is to onboard your new users. The best onboarding educates your users so that they know how to get the most value from your product.
There are a number of onboarding aspects you can improve in order to drive product adoption:
- Contextual onboarding
- Interactive walkthroughs
In a nutshell, contextual onboarding is showing the right message to the right user at the right time. In other words, it’s making sure that your product’s onboarding is personalized to each and every user.
In our state of SaaS product onboarding research, we found that just under half of the products we analyzed personalized their onboarding. That means it’s a great opportunity to get ahead of the pack.
The key to this lies in triggers based on custom events. This is really easy to set up in Userpilot. You can set triggers based on interactions such as hovering, scrolling a certain distance, or navigating to a specific page. You can also segment based on user, so that you only show onboarding elements to certain groups of people.
Contextual onboarding works well because it means you aren’t bombarding people with onboarding messages that they don’t need or giving them irrelevant information. Doing that would only serve to confuse users, and potentially have a negative impact on product adoption.
A good first step to take is to ask users some questions when they first sign up to your product. You can then use their answers to funnel them into the most relevant onboarding sequence for them.
This is what Canva does to great effect:
Users can choose which persona applies to them, and then Canva will show them templates and designs that are relevant to their needs. This is a surefire way of improving product adoption.
Contextual onboarding means your users receive information that is relevant to them. As a result, they experience value faster, and are more likely to move towards product adoption.
When it comes to teaching new users about your product, you generally have a choice between product tours and interactive walkthroughs. Our research showed that product tours are slightly more popular, with 29% of products having one, compared to 24% having interactive walkthroughs.
However, interactive walkthroughs are far more effective than product tours, for a number of reasons. They help users to learn by doing and engaging with the product, and they provide more value up front. As a result, interactive walkthroughs are a really effective way of driving product adoption.
The main difference that sets interactive walkthroughs apart is that the user has to complete tasks as they go along. This means they learn how your product works by using it for themselves.
If you want to create an interactive walkthrough, then Userpilot makes it really easy, and it’s all thanks to driven actions. These are unique to Userpilot.
You can force the user to interact with your product, in the form of a click, drag and drop, hover, or via text input. In other words, you can force your users to engage with your product as you show them around.
You can also add tooltips to point out key features and add some clarification.
When you come to create your interactive walkthrough, focus on what you want your users to achieve. Perhaps you need them to add a social account, or invite a team member. Whatever it is, make sure your walkthrough is laser-focused on getting them there.
Here’s an example from Platformly:
They used Userpilot to improve their onboarding, including adding interactive walkthroughs. In the screenshot above, you can see how users are encouraged to create their first dashboard as part of the interactive walkthrough. These walkthroughs had a completion rate of 40%, and had a massive impact on product adoption.
Checklists are a fairly popular way of onboarding users. We found that 56% of SaaS companies included a checklist as part of their product adoption strategy.
A checklist is essentially a list of tasks that a user should complete in order to fully achieve product adoption. For your checklist to be effective, it needs to be focused on your product’s Aha! Moment. This is the moment when a user finally sees the value of your product. It’s closely linked to the point of product adoption.
You should keep the number of tasks low, no more than five, to avoid overwhelming your users. Nobody wants to be greeted with a long to-do list.
Another useful tip is to cross off the first task on the checklist for them. The task could be something like, “Sign in” or “Create your account”. This way your user feels like they’re already making progress and are motivated to carry on to product adoption. This little trick is called “Endowed progress” and is a great psychological hack you can use to boost product adoption.
Here’s a great example of a checklist from Sked Social:
The checklist keeps tasks to a minimum, and all of them are helping to nudge the user towards product adoption. Not only that, but it utilizes the endowed progress hack. It also includes a progress bar – this is a great way of keeping users on track.
This checklist tripled Sked Social’s conversion rate by driving users towards product adoption.
- The build-up:
- Use social media to start conversations about your product. Share behind the scenes updates about its development.
- Use your blog to post content that solves problems relevant to your product.
- Consider having a beta program to help drive interest in your product, as well as make it as good as it can be ahead of launch.
- The launch:
- Make sure your landing page shows off what your product can do, and focuses on the benefits it provides.
- Send an email to your mailing list to tap into your audience.
- A webinar can be a great way of showing potential users round your product, showing them the value it provides.
- Product Hunt is a fantastic launch pad and helps to get your product in front of more people.
- Use modal announcements in previous products to drive existing users to your new product.
- Notifications are a less-invasive way of sending users to your new product.
- Make the most of your sign-in page by advertising your new product on there.
- Use contextual onboarding to ensure users receive the right information.
- Interactive walkthroughs help to engage users from the start, while educating them about your product.
- Checklists can guide users towards product adoption.
About the Author
Joe is a UX and content writer, with several years of experience working with SaaS startups. He’s been working with SaaS startups that are focused towards product management, product marketing and customer success for the past couple of years.