Get them back

You’re no longer selling products — instead you’re enabling users to be awesome.

Users have busy lives inundated with messages from friends, family and work through-out the day along with 20+ apps they download on an average and the multitude of promotional emails they receive.

It’s easy for them to miss out on the amazing enabling experience you’ve created for them despite opening your site or downloading the app.

Plus, if you’re doing something different, you’re asking users to develop a new habit — and that takes time and familiarity.

All this means is you have to proactively get users back.

The fundamentals are clear that:

  • Your push notifications or retention mailings need to be timely, personal and actionable
  • Constantly experiment around how, when and where; tie success to a north star metric and give testing sufficient time so that the user can adapt and provide a clear response to the novelty she has experienced

Nailing this down right requires deeper thinking especially in defining your magic moment (Alex Schultz mentions this in more detail: Growth Lecture @ Stanford). At Facebook — the magic moment that got people hooked was users seeing their friends. Similarly at Wealthfront — the magic moment for users is to see their money multiply while sleeping without being asked or charged.

Users that get to experience your magic moment have an emotional response towards your core product value and will ultimately lead to a higher CLTV. Push notifications and retention mailings need to be focused around this magic moment — there’s a reason why you get a notification whenever your friend newly joins Instagram.

After defining the magic moment — the messaging must be personal (adding first name doesn’t qualify as personal). Twitter notifies users of the top people they follow and similarly, Spotify notifies them when new songs are released by artists they frequently listen to — — it’s based on user behavior.

For an ecom consumer tech start-up — traditionally the answer will lie in the browse and transact data. For instance, if user has browsed a certain product higher than site average or if the user purchases a certain product category greater than median spend — — serve them retention mailings/notifications more of that. You’ll see Bill Maher make fun of such marketing on his HBO show and for good reason: ‘Hey I just bought a pair of shoes, Amazon !’

Real creative meaningful personalization lies in the custom data collected on your platforms. For instance, Medium asks users in the beginning what sort of content they’re into, Trumaker gets a sense of their fitting problems, Sosh used to ask preferences to recommend awesome spots for a particular city and DITTO asks for style and frame preferences for eyewear. This data is extremely valuable as it helps you understand the hidden ‘context’ for the users and truly allows to add in more personal tidbits in marketing efforts to remind users how they’re being enabled.

Marrying this custom data w/ browse + transact data around your magic moment enables you to deliver on some really powerful retention efforts — after which it’s just a matter of experimentation and go time to get them back !