Oli Gardner (co-founder of Unbounce) wrote a great post on how to build a sticky product. In it, he talks about how to decrease a customer’s time to value (TTV).
You’ve probably heard about the importance of understanding and increasing a customer’s LTV (lifetime value). But what’s time to value? Baremetrics has a great definition:
Time to Value (TTV) is the amount of time it takes a new customer to realize value from your product.
Some obvious ways to decrease TTV would be:
- Build a better (read: easy-to-use) product
- Provide excellent training and customer support
But it’s more than just designing an “awesome” product.
Over the Christmas break I really enjoyed and got a lot of value out of reading user onboarding expert Samuel Hulick‘s book: The Elements of User Onboarding.
It does a great job of reminding you that your customer isn’t buying your shiny new “awesome” product – he/she is buying the outcome that your product is designed to help them achieve.
Ways To Decrease Time to Value (TTV)
There’s a great chapter in Samuel Hulick’s book that talks about helping your customers reach their “aha” moment …
There’s a phenomenon in the software business known as the “aha moment” – the point where the clouds suddenly part for the user and the high-level benefits and abstract notions you’ve been preaching immediately become startlingly, excitingly clear.
“Oh, I get it!” you may hear them say. “So I just fill out this form and instead of having to walk my expense receipts three floors down to Jane in accounting, she just gets them in her email? I love it!” Suddenly, the vague has become personalized. Everything just … clicks.”
Sadly, this “aha” moment usually comes way too late. It’s often only unlocked by either a significant amount of futzing around in a trial or high-touch, resource-sucking live product demo. That’s unfortunate, because the majority of your audience will never make it that far.
Blind faith is not a desirable requirement for advancement through your onboarding experience: if your “aha moment” comes deep inside your product, you’ve already lost.”
This should get you thinking about two things:
- What does your product’s “aha” moment(s) look like for your customer(s)? How can you help users get to their first “aha” moment, faster?
- What roadblocks prevent users from reaching their “aha” moment? And what can you do to remove those roadblocks? (Training, support, add/remove features).
How do your customers define their success? And what are you doing to pave the path and accelerate that success for them?
Here’s a short-list of things that come to mind as we work on building and launching RightMessage …
Make your product easy-to-use, and easy-to-learn.
RightMessage is a web personalization software that allows you to personalize your website in order to increase conversions, increase sales, increase engagement for your product or service.
Getting started is super simple. You simply install a script on your website and you use our builder to start personalizing different elements of your website or sales page based on whatever segments and conditions that you set.
Is it fast? You bet!
I’m smitten. Installed snippet, 30 seconds later = personalized homepage. – Josh Braaten (early customer)
But it’s not just about designing a great product that’s easy to use … I think Ali Mese said it well the other day on Twitter:
Products don’t have to be “easy to use” just “easy to learn” and create strong motivation to learn and want to use. – @joshelman
— Ali Mese (@meseali) January 4, 2018
While our product is easy to use, we’re working hard to deliver a marketing education that empowers users to become website and conversion experts themselves through our Learning Center. In other words, here’s how you use RightMessage to personalize your website but here’s WHY personalization is important and here’s HOW you can personalize your website (no matter what industry you’re in).
Provide world-class training and support.
I’ve always believed that training and customer support is just as important as sales because it leads to customer retention. And I think teaching someone WHY to use something is just as important as the HOW.
With RightMessage we’re building a Learning Center that goes beyond teaching our users how to use our product. We’re teaching them:
- The importance of creating (and using) buyer personas in your marketing
- How to segment your subscribers for nurturing and conversion
- And we’re teaching them how to value their sales funnel so that they can see the effect that a personalized website can have on sales and conversions
This serves as a pre-sales function for the product but also helps new customers quickly understand the business impact that a personalized experience can have on their marketing.
Several people might sign up for a 30-day free trial of your product but the one’s who stick are the one’s that can quickly see and understand the value that you provide to their business.
The goal is to get your customers to see your product as a worthwhile investment that charges to their card every month rather than just another monthly expense.
Help customers see the value.
Beyond offering one-on-one onboarding, video tutorials, product documentation, and webinars … we’re accomplishing this by providing monthly reporting that shows the lift in conversions (either opt-ins or sales) that someone is experiencing as result of launching their personalization campaign.
So we’re not just telling the theoretical percentages that they can expect to see but rather demonstrating the results they’ve achieved as a result of creating a personalized website.
While implementing a personalization campaign is easy when you know and understand the outcome you’re trying to achieve … some users will be new to personalization. Their journey to success requires:
- Reverse engineering their sales funnel (what path does a typical buyer take that leads them to become a buyer)
- Valuing their sales funnel
- And, defining and creating segments for different types of customers
So while some customers might buy, scaling that mountain to success might seem a lot more challenging. To mitigate against this, we’re offering free concierge onboarding with a dedicated Personalization Expert when we launch (for the first 100 customers).
At my previous company, while setting up a landing page in Cloud Attract was easy, some customers simply got stuck and they went weeks without creating their first landing page. This leads to high churn at the end of that 30-day free trial.
To fix this, our Customer Success team implemented a campaign to reach out to anyone who hadn’t created a landing page yet and either: 1.) walked them through creating their first landing page over the phone, or 2.) registered them for our next monthly How To webinar. This of course led to higher retention rates after that 30-day trial.
Where are your customers “stuck” points, and what can you do to help them jump over those hurdles?
Segment your customers
At my previous company, our product was industry specific to real estate. We sold to real estate brokers and real estate agents. At RightMessage, we’re selling to every industry. And we’re selling to course creators, SaaS builders, ecommerce sellers, etc.
So their use-cases are different and their desired result is different. So here, it’ll become exceedingly helpful to create our own buyer profiles and define their journey by customizing/tweaking the onboarding experience for each use-case.
Are you a course creator? Here are tutorials and case-studies of other course owners who are using RightMessage to increase their opt-ins and tweaking their sales page(s) to get a lift in sales.
Do you run an ecommerce store? Here’s a list of tutorials and case-studies of other ecommerce store owners who are using RightMessage to increase their average order size and earn repeat customers.
The goal here is, how can you provide a focused path to that “ah ha!” moment for your customers – especially if your product scales across industries.
What are YOU doing to reduce your customer’s time to value?
Again, the end goal should be to get your customer’s to see your product as a worthwhile monthly “investment” into their business rather than just another expense. If they see it as just another expense, it’s something that they can quickly and easily eliminate when they sit down to trim expenses.
So how will you help (or how are you helping) customers reach their first “aha” moment? What’s working for you?
Book Giveaway Contest: The Elements of User Onboarding
Samuel Hulick’s book was such a great read that I want to share it with another hungry and aspiring entrepreneur so I’m hosting a little giveaway contest.
The rules are simple:
- Sign up for my email list below (no spam, just actionable advice that you can turn around and implement in your business)
- Leave a comment telling me: a.) what you’re building, b.) describe your customer’s “aha” moment and what you’re doing to help them get there faster (or what you plan on implementing to help them get there faster)
The winner will be chosen at random and announced via my newsletter on Friday, September 12, 2018 at 9:00am Pacific.
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