8 Ways to Boost User Engagement Throughout the Product Experience
It’s not enough to acquire new users to your product. You must also be able to retain them and boost user engagement by optimizing the product experience.
Product growth doesn’t just depend on acquiring new users; it also depends on engaging the ones you have and delivering an exceptional experience. Companies with fully engaged customers have a 55% higher share of revenue and 63% lower customer churn.
You can optimize your user engagement with a better product experience. A good product experience reduces churn, boosts your brand loyalty, differentiates you from the competition, and makes customers more likely to spread the word about your product to others.
However, improving the product experience requires having a specific strategy in mind and using the right tactics. Here’s how:
1. Personalize the Product Experience
You should personalize your product experience, because 59% of customers value tailored engagement from businesses. Personalization helps you better adapt to the user’s behavior by understanding where they are in their journey, and reach out to customers as people, not just prospects.
Including personalization during the product experience could be as simple as using the user’s name, and ending the email with a sign-off. Your email communications willl lend a more personal feel to boost user engagement.
To go even further, you can segment your messaging to your audience based on previous user engagement or behavior. In the following example, after a customer participates in one of their courses, HubSpot follows up with recommendations for extra courses the user can enroll in:
By following up with your users with relevant offers, you’re showing that you understand their needs and wants. As a result, they’ll be more engaged with your product.
2. Optimize the Onboarding Process
First impressions matter during the product experience. If you’re not meeting the user’s needs during onboarding, they’ll be likely to drop your product and not bother signing up again: Over 60% of users who fail to see the value of your product during onboarding will leave.
The goal of onboarding is to showcase your product's ins and outs and offer any help the user needs to get the most out of your product. You must provide users with all the tools they need to understand and get started with your product the second they sign up.
Here’s how to optimize the onboarding process for better user engagement:
- Set Up Walk-Throughs Of Your Product: A walk-through is a virtual tour of how your product works in real time. It’s useful for giving users an overall idea of your product.
- Establish Email Drip Campaigns On Product Features: When a new customer signs up, you can use email to educate them about your product’s features and how they solve their challenges. For example, you can send them case studies of previous users who benefited from your service.
- Provide Users With Documentation: Documentation consists of manuals for users so they can have more success with your product. If they have any questions or issues during their product experience, they can go to your manuals for help at any time.
Here’s a great example of what an effective walk-through looks like from Salesflare, a CRM for small B2B businesses. New sign-ups to their platform have the opportunity to start with a tour to understand how the product works:
Once the user decides to check out the tour, Salesflare then explains how each of its features contributes to a better product experience. It lets new sign-ups set tasks themselves to highlight the platform’s ease of use.
Marketing automation software company Autopilot is another example of a brand that effectively onboards its users. The second the user signs up, the company helps them launch their first marketing campaign to show how easy it is:
3. Identify and Lead the User to Their “Aha” Moment
As you onboard users during their discovery phase, it’s essential that you eventually lead them to their “aha” moment. The “aha” moment is when your user finally realizes your product's actual value, its clear benefits, and how it solves their challenges. It’s what turns an interested prospect into a faithful, engaged customer.
Here are the different steps to identify the “aha” moment and engage the most users:
- Identify Patterns Among Retaining Customers: Dive deep into your user analytics and uncover what led your best customers to stay on your platform after signing up. For example, is it after going through a product walkthrough? Or interacting with a particular feature? Consider setting up interviews with users to uncover this information.
- Understand Why Previous Users Churned: While churn is inevitable, try to learn why certain users never reached their “aha” moment. You can run exit surveys to churning users and ask them the reason behind the decision before they leave.
- Create a List of Potential “Aha” Moments: After researching why users stay on your platform and why others churn, create a list of potential “aha” moments that engage users. Based on churned customers' feedback, also identify sources of friction during the onboarding phase you can eliminate.
- Run Testing During the Onboarding Phase: Start testing different onboarding workflows with the list of “aha” moments that you created. Over a period of four weeks, compile the results and look at which workflow worked the best.
Let’s take a look at this example from Asana, whose goal is to help users improve their work project management. Once a new user signs up for a free trial to their product, they receive the following message via email:
By clicking “Get Started,” the user creates their first task on the platform, which instantly shows them how easy it is to organize tasks with Asana. It's the company’s “aha” moment: Before the user upgrades to Asana’s premium version, they already know how the platform can help them manage work more efficiently.
4. Deliver Responsive Customer Support
Over 90% of customers expect to receive an immediate response when they have an important customer service question. To keep users engaged during the product experience, it’s vital to respond and solve requests as fast as possible.
One of the best ways to deliver lightning-fast customer support is to include a live-chat solution as part of your product experience. On top of 24/7 support, it’s more practical for the user than sending an email and not knowing when they’ll get a reply.
Aside from live chat, you can also help customers with their requests by implementing a help portal with resources for common requests. This makes it easier for users to find the answers to requests by themselves, just like office management software company Robin does here with its Help Center:
5. Announce New Features & Updates in-App
When you’re launching new features, you should announce them directly in-app, since it’s when customers are actively using your product. It boosts user engagement by getting their attention quickly and offering them the opportunity to experiment with the feature in real time.
For example, you can include a quick walk-through to click with each in-app feature announcement. They’ll get to learn more about how the new feature improves their product experience, just like in this example from Google Analytics:
Image: Google Analytics
On top of describing their new feature briefly, the user can click “See Report” to see how the update works. Instead of going through countless documentation pieces, they can understand how to use the new feature in seconds.
6. Collect User Feedback and Data on Your Product
One of the best ways to improve your product experience and boost user engagement is to listen to your customers. By collecting their feedback, you’ll have a solid understanding of where you can improve and how to meet their needs better. Here’s how:
- Ask Users to Rate Your NPS Score: NPS stands for Net Promoter Score, which is the metric you use to measure how likely customers are to recommend your product to others. It’s a score that ranges from 0 to 10 and is a good indicator of customer satisfaction.
- Run Customer Surveys: Customer surveys are a list of questions you ask users to fill out about their product experience. In exchange for filling the survey, you can offer them special perks such as discounts or free gated content.
- Talk to Customers Directly: A simple way to get product feedback is to start a direct conversation with users. You can set up customer interviews and ask questions on what users want from your product. It’s also practical to encourage users to reach out directly with feature requests.
An excellent example of a software company that values its customer’s feedback is Slack. The work management platform comes with its own in-app command that users can use to let the company know what features they’d like to see.
However, listening to your customers is the first step. The next step is to turn that feedback into actionable insights to improve your product and optimize it for user engagement.
7. Build Out Product Features That Users Value
The secret to success isn’t to include as many features as possible to your platform to boost user engagement: It’s to focus solely on building the features that genuinely solve the user’s problem. If you have too many features that don’t make a real impact, users won’t see your product's true value.
In order to identify the features that your users find the most valuable, make sure to prioritize correctly. Based on your customer data, you should determine which specific feature they expect and make the most impact on the product experience. The tactic we recommend to prioritize features is the Moscow Method:
Image: Product Plan
The method divides your product roadmap features into four parts: Must-have, Should-have, Could-have, and Will-not have. It helps you better align with stakeholders and accurately identify which features genuinely make a difference in the product experience.
Also, remember that less is more sometimes. Don’t be afraid to cut out any features customers are barely using so that users can focus on the features that truly matter for your product.
8. Educate Users with Content Marketing
To boost user engagement, content marketing needs to be part of your strategy. It communicates your product’s value by showing how it solves your audience’s problems and provides users with actionable tips they can use to maximize your platform.
For example, an effective form of content marketing is case studies that prove how your product helped reach others' goals. Showcasing previous users' success gives the customer a reason to stay engaged with your product until they see the same results. Case studies are an excellent opportunity for you to prove your product's value.
For example, Unbounce uses content marketing to help users get the most out of its software. The company frequently hosts webinars for its users where they can learn more about the best tips for optimizing their landing pages.
Optimizing User Engagement Is Key to a Better Product
Improving user engagement starts by optimizing the product experience. By focusing on the product experience, you’ll create more loyal users, stand out from competitors, and better meet your audience's needs.
Just take a look at HubSpot, for example, which became one of the top SaaS companies within a couple of years by putting product experience first. The right combination of listening to their customers, building the right products, and content marketing led HubSpot to become the $883 million empire it is today.