All products share a widespread problem, regardless of how they're built or how long they've been around. Getting users to full product adoption is hard. 

Let's start with a question: what's your purpose when building a product? 

1) Making the most fantastic product ever that solves all of your users' problems?


2) Making a product that users actually regularly use in their daily lives?

If we had to guess, you're probably here because you want to achieve option 2. 

Interested in speeding up customer inertia for your SaaS product? You've come to the right place. In this post, we'll dive into: 

  • What is a product adoption strategy?

  • Why is a product adoption strategy important? 

  • What are the goals of a product adoption strategy? 

  • Five elements to include in an effective product adoption strategy

What is product adoption, and why is having a strategy important?

Product adoption is the process that results in a loyal user that uses a product regularly and benefits from it. It’s the endpoint in the user journey and the stage when users have learned enough about a product to consistently put it to good use and tackle their problems. 

Having a product adoption strategy is important, users stick around when they fully adopt your product. Adoption transforms into higher retention and lower churn, making your revenue more predictable and consistent over time.

What are the goals of a product adoption strategy?

With that in mind, you can transform the idea of "product adoption" into an attainable objective for your team. You're better equipped to define success by making it measurable and quantifiable. 

Product adoption is not a one-and-done situation. It occurs at different customer journeys and isn't something a single team can realistically achieve. 

This north star objective can break down into possible sub-objectives that will drive critical results and allow you to track and measure progress. 

For example, you may have the following plan:

  • Company Objective: Increase product adoption

  • Product objective: Improve onboarding for users

  • Key result: Increase in product active users by 20%

This setup ties the product objective to the company objective, complete with a measurable key result. 

Now, here are five elements to include in an effective product adoption strategy:

1. Determine how to decrease the users' fear of change 

Some customers might have uncertainty around adopting a new product, especially if they're already using something similar. They may know that their current solution has flaws and aren't ready to risk switching. 

It's your job to alleviate these valid concerns. But asking a prospect to alter their existing habits often takes more than an innovative marketing strategy: first, persuade them to sign up for a free trial, and then show them value during onboarding. 

How effectively you introduce a prospect to the product ultimately decides whether or not they realize their aha moment. While these moments can be tricky to define, most users know them when they see them.

Your product's onboarding needs to guide users toward this aha moment, not just act as a tour of the essential features. It's the key to a prospect seeing the benefits they can get from the product and feeling less uncertain about turning away from their current solution. 

‍2. Analyze how "aha moments" vary among users

A product might accomplish several awesome things, but one or two features usually make it stand out. These features make the product's value make sense for users, leading them to their aha moment. 

Your efforts to increase product adoption should guide users to these aha moments. But it's important to know that these moments might not look the same for all users, especially if the product offers many different benefits. 

First, determine which product features encourage aha moments. For example, did a user complete all of the onboarding steps upon signup, or did they interact with a key feature? Analyze what differentiates converted users from conventional users. 

Use a product analytics tool to pinpoint key behaviors that separate converted users from those who churned. Sending in-app surveys may help uncover which features users find valuable, too. 

Customers will undoubtedly take different paths when navigating a product. Collecting data around the product's aha moments and the steps users take before realizing that moment can help you validate hypotheses and create strategies for increased product adoption. 

3. Improve the onboarding experience

Effective user onboarding isn't just about showing users where to go and how to do things; it also illustrates the value they'll gain from the product. Every user has at least one goal; for example, they may want to connect with other users, save time, make money, or learn new skills. Onboarding is how to guide them to those goals as quickly as possible. 

Try using a digital product adoption platform to implement in-app guidance such as tooltips, walkthroughs, task lists, and more to guide users through tasks and provide context as users move through the product.

DAPs (like Lou) can help employ product-led strategies to seamlessly onboard users, understand how users adopt and engage with a product, and create an intuitive user experience overall. They’re great for reducing a user's learning curve when signing up for a product. 

DAPs promote digital adoption during onboarding in the following ways:

  • Automate aspects of user onboarding

  • Provide in-app software guidance and learning content 

  • Collect and analyze user engagement and usage data

  • Provide proactive support to solve user challenges as they arise

Since product adoption can make or break a SaaS product's success, integrating DAPs in your onboarding strategy is a no-brainer. 

4. Engage meaningfully to boost retention

Even if users have completed onboarding and realized their aha moments, don't assume the hard work is over, and they'll be a customer for life. Don't forget that users consistently hear messaging from competitors about how their products can better meet their needs. Even if a competitor doesn't snag them, a user might lose interest in the product over time and move on. 

Avoid losing customers over time and consider product adoption an ongoing process. Keep working to make users continuously see the product's value, or better yet, gain even more value from it as time goes on. 

There are so many methods to nurture existing users, but a big one is to make them feel like they're a part of your product's ecosystem and community. A key tactic is sending customized content that guides users to think about the brand and product in new and enticing ways. 

As the user base grows, you may share case studies with users with similar stories. Or, you could send tutorial videos via email based on industry, highlighting new features. 

Whatever content you share, try to speak to users' specific needs. If you want to promote product adoption, employ a variety of channels since not all users will absorb new information in the same way. Test blogs, videos, emails, and social media to see what works for different audience sectors. 

5. Measure and iterate on product adoption strategies

Incorporate personalization into the product adoption strategy to enhance your connection with users. The more relationships you cultivate, the more likely you are to improve user retention. 

But don't stop at personalization—you also need to identify metrics for measuring success and pinpoint areas for improvement. You'll find more reliable ways to encourage product adoption as you track this information for acquired and churned users. 

Ready to level up your product adoption strategy? Try Lou to track users' onboarding journeys, product adoption, and the evolution from new users to power users.