Engagement in the Context of the Customer Lifecycle
This is an excerpt from Drive World Class User Engagement White Paper by Linoln Murphy.
Make your primary focus on the customer and not your product, functionality, features, etc.
That means the way to figure out what true customer engagement looks like - and what you need to monitor, measure, and encourage - is to map out the path(s) that your customer will take during their Free Trial, over the first 30, 60, 90 days - all the while keeping it tightly aligned with your customer’s idea of success.
And take it further out from there….6-months, 1-year, etc.
No it’s not supposed to be easy. Yes, it will require a lot of work, including digging through historical data if you’ve been in-market long enough and/or talking to customers, prospects, etc. to glean this information.
Look, if you have an estimated (or hopeful) Customer Lifetime of 36 months, how do you expect to get there in a predictable manner at scale (rather than by accident and in-spite of your efforts) if you don’t know what success looks like for your customer 35-months into their subscription?
It makes sense, right? If you don’t know (or can’t even make a realistic hypothesis about) how your customer defines - and will define - success over time, how can you actually monitor, measure and encourage it?
If you don’t know (or can’t even make a realistic hypothesis about) how your customer defines - and will define - success over time, how can you actually monitor, measure and encourage it?
You can’t, so you end up looking at events that mean nothing or have no meaningful contexts and trying to “improve” the process - or just ignoring it and hoping they’ll stay - all while you continue to wonder why your SaaS churn rate isn’t getting any better.
So how do you drive user engagement?
Some of my suggestions for driving user engagement here overlap with my 22 Ways to Reduce Churn with Growth Hacking (below), but that is because Churn and Engagement are really two sides of the same coin. Without engagement, you have churn.
But, in the light of a highly engaged user base, churn reduction becomes an optimization, not a priority.
Unlike strategies to reduce churn, initiatives aimed at “driving user engagement” are more proactive.
But...remember. Like with churn reduction, driving great user engagement isn’t all about your product. Many of these tips aren’t product related at all. Why? Because, unfortunately, the best products don’t always drive the highest levels of engagement (and they don’t always win).
Very often market leading products aren’t the slickest, aren’t the best, don’t have the most functions, aren’t the most extensible, etc. And if your product is really the best or you’re trying to disrupt a category with a crappy incumbent product...I know this fact drives you freakin’ crazy.
But you can’t make it not be true by ignoring it.
You have to have a good product that solves an actual problem for your customers. But that’s just the baseline.
This is the starting point. It’s what you do from that point forward that determines your fate.