20 growth experiments to improve your activation rate | Appcues Blog (2023)

For SaaS companies, the onboarding experience is an opportunity to ensure every user benefits from your product. Therefore, you goal is to activate users—helping them achieve the value promised—as they move through the user journey.

Improving your activation rateinvolves showing users value as soon as possible. Growth hacking can speed up the process by motivating your users to take action now, rather than later. By experimenting with differentgrowth strategies, you’ll learn what works for your business.

We’ve researched 20 growth hacking experiments to help you turn users into loyal customers. Each experiment includes anICE score, a framework invented by Sean Ellis to help prioritize growth ideas by impact, confidence, and ease. By prioritizing actions, you can decide what activities and resources will produce the best results for your company.

In-app messaging

1. Write welcome page copy that leads to Aha!

Copy is just as important design, and when users land on your welcome page, you want to be ready with open arms. Similar to an in-person interaction, a greeting is the the best way to impress someone. Sniply gives new user users a warm welcome immediately in the onboarding experience.

20 growth experiments to improve your activation rate | Appcues Blog (2)

Welcome users in the headerwith “Welcome, {Firstname}”. This simple exchange gives your brand integrity and prompts users to continue learning about your product.

Impact: 5 Confidence: 6 Ease: 8

ICE score: 6.3

2. Redesign the last step after your welcome flow

What happens after users complete your welcome flow? If they aren’t diving into your product, a friction point exists.

20 growth experiments to improve your activation rate | Appcues Blog (3)

AtAppcues, we faced a similar challenge. Instead of giving users multiple options to get started, we streamlined the process byredirecting usersfrom the welcome message to the right place in product. The result:our activation rate increased by 2.5x with just 15 minutes worth of redesigning.

Impact: 8 Confidence: 8 Ease: 8

ICE score: 8

3. Build a product tour for new users

When new users login to your app, they are ready to get started. And to truly lead them to onboarding success, product tours can help introduce users to your UI and energize them to engage with your tool.

20 growth experiments to improve your activation rate | Appcues Blog (4)

The best product tours include short copy, sequential steps, and a straight-forwardcall-to-action. Google’s Inbox simplifies onboarding with a skimmablemodal series. We’ve seen smart companies like ProdPad decreased their trial-to-paid period by buildingcode-free product tours.

Impact: 8 Confidence: 7 Ease: 6

ICE score: 7

(Video) PMF Connect #34 - Chameleon - How to Run Successful Product-led Growth Experiments

4. Use gamification for user engagement

Onboarding isn’t restricted to seriousness 24/7. People don’t want to feel forced to complete a task. As an alternative, incorporate games into your process to make learning product features fun.

Motivate users through the activation funnelwith awards, progress bars, and leaderboards. These gamification elements reward users for their participation and propels them through the product experience.Duolingorewards at the end of every short lesson with XP gained. This also motivates users to use the product again and maintain a streak.

20 growth experiments to improve your activation rate | Appcues Blog (5)

Impact: 7 Confidence: 7 Ease: 5

ICE score: 6.3

“Good onboarding, whether for employees or customers, adds interactivity and a collaborative factor to knowledge-sharing,”says Forbes contributorJohn Rampton.

5. Personalize the onboarding experience

Users possess different needs and goals. And if an onboarding experience strays away from their expectations, they may think the product isn’t worth purchasing.

Personalization speaks directly to specific user segments. When personalizing the experience, you may consider a user’s total time spent in the platform or certain actions taken within the app. Pinterestimproved its user experienceby providing locally relevant content to Pinners in more countries and more languages.

Impact: 8 Confidence: 8Ease: 5

ICE score: 6.3

6.Use a self-service product demo

Free trials are common with SaaS products, but they often don't work for products that are feature-rich, require installation and input from other colleagues, or have limited zero state capabilities.

Building aself-service product demoand using it as the free trial offering can help trialers see the value of the product with much less commitment. This tactic also frees up sales teams' time, allowing them to more efficiently talk to prospects who are better informed about the product.

Impact: 5 Confidence: 9 Ease: 7

ICE score: 7

Email nurturing

7. Build trust with a personalized welcome email

Welcome emailsserve an important purpose in supplementing your user onboarding experienceand setting the tone of your brand. The welcome email is a good place to open up a line of communication with new users.

Bypersonalizing the message with custom data, you create a real connection that caters to the recipient, and as a result, the user will trust that future emails will bring similar value.

Impact: 5 Confidence: 5 Ease: 7

ICE score: 5.7

“[M]ake use of the information you requested during the signup such as their interests, goals, business type, etc. to further personalize the welcome email,” saysKate Harvey, Content & SEM Manager at Chargify.

8. Stick to a single, clear call-to-action

Too many options can cause confusion among your users. For instance, if you offer multiple choices, users will have a hard time deciding and may not choose at all.

(Video) EP#2: How Drift Use Marketing Experiments To Achieve Massive Growth - With Guillaume Cabane

20 growth experiments to improve your activation rate | Appcues Blog (6)

Strive to eliminate choice paralysis to move users down your activation funnel. When possible,give users a single, clear call-to-action in your emails. It’s also recommended that your teamconduct user teststo discover which call-to-action resonates with users the most.

Impact: 5 Confidence: 4 Ease: 8

ICE score: 5.7

9. Send a series of “Getting Started” emails

If users aren’t engaging in the product as often as you’d like, a “Getting Started” email series can help guide new users l through next steps and toward receiving value. For instance, you mightfocus on a different feature in each email, like the Outbrain example below.

20 growth experiments to improve your activation rate | Appcues Blog (7)

Build a content campaign that educates the user about your brand and how to use specific product features. Spice up your emails with short video clips, GIFs, and bulleted points. These visual aids will help the user understand the information.

Impact: 5 Confidence: 6 Ease: 8

ICE score: 6.3

10. Provide trial extension offers

Your consumers are juggling multiple tasks—managing projects and attending meetings—at once. And sometimes, they don't have time or just forget to participate in your trial offer.

To gauge users’ interests, send triggered emails offering them a trial extension. This simple technique separates users who are still engaged with your brand from those who may never buy your product.

Impact: 8Confidence: 8 Ease: 3

ICE score: 6.3

Retargeting / remarketing

11. Create targeted ads

Retargeting is an effective way to drive interested users back to your site. By recapturing users’ attention, your team can entice them to derive value from your product.

Adrollis a well-known retargeting platform that makes it convenient for companies to launch ads and fine tune campaigns. One of their clients AlienVault earned a53% higher retargeting click-through ratecompared to the industry average.

Impact: 6 Confidence: 7 Ease: 9

ICE score: 7.3

12. Try social proof

When creating retargeting campaigns, most marketers will run A/B tests to discover which ad works best for their company. Those primary tests usually focus on changing the headline, image, or CTA.

(Video) An Introduction to Product-Led Growth Metrics

20 growth experiments to improve your activation rate | Appcues Blog (8)

Adding social proof to your ads is also an option. Social proof persuades users to join their peers in a particular activity. Try featuring experts, incorporating testimonials, or inserting customer reviews in your next campaign.

Impact: 7 Confidence: 8 Ease: 4

ICE score: 6.3

13. Promote trial expirations

Urgency is a psychological trigger that moves people to take action. By setting time constraints, you drive consumers to indulge on their desires.

Impose trial expirations on users by promoting deadlines and sending reminders of what benefits will be lost. To kick it up a notch, induce emotions with visual cues, like a countdown clock. Using orange and red colors in your messaging can create a sense of urgency, too.

Impact: 5 Confidence: 3 Ease: 8

ICE score: 5.3

“Trials end. That’s just how they work, but if someone has fallen in love with your software, and their trial is coming to an end, there’s nothing more important than helping them make a painless transition to becoming a paying customer,” saysGarrett Dimon, marketing at Wildbit.

14. Implement scarcity tactics to boost sales

Fear of missing out (FOMO) is a real phenomenon for people who feel they aren't connected with what others are doing. Usingscarcity as a business tacticcan transform reluctant users into eager buyers.

Earn more paying customers by promotinglimited availability, low stock notices, and exclusivity. A simple promotion stating only 50 customers will receive a specific benefit will grab people's attention.

Impact: 8Confidence: 8Ease: 6

ICE score: 7.3

Customer service

15. Develop concierge onboarding

Concierge onboarding provides one-on-one interaction with users as they navigate your product. Some companies offer this high-touch service via responsive emails, while others actually pick up the phone to call users.

This type of onboarding solution is helpful for addressing users’ reservations and building trust with the brand. To increase conversions, give the user a quick win and communicate on a personal level.

Impact: 7 Confidence: 5 Ease: 3

ICE score: 5

16. Offer live chat

When users get stuck in your application, they desire an immediate solution to their problem. An email response in 24-48 hours may not be satisfactory.

Live chat gives users peace of mind while exploring your product. By installing live chat, service reps can answer pressing questions, provide alternative solutions, and encourage users to become paying customers.

(Video) How Baremetrics Used Transparency to Grow to $1.5M ARR

Impact: 6 Confidence: 4 Ease: 2

ICE score: 4

17. Host a live webinar

For some people, seeing is believing. You can host a live webinar to demonstrate key product benefits to your users.

20 growth experiments to improve your activation rate | Appcues Blog (9)

To ensure success, send a webinar registration email to a segmented group a few weeks in advance to spark interest. Make the live webinar interactive by answering audience questions.

Impact: 6 Confidence: 6 Ease: 4

ICE score: 5.3

18. Distribute a video course

With the power of the Internet, on-demand content makes it possible for consumers to learn at their convenience. Give your users the chance to reach theirAha! momentwith a video course.

You can divvy up the course into onboarding steps—teaching users how to complete specific tasks. Work with your team to create high-quality video with theseproduction resources.

Impact: 8 Confidence: 6 Ease: 2

ICE score: 5.3

19. Give an incentive

The word “free” works like a magnet to attract consumers to your brand. By offering incentives, you give users another reason to experiment with the product.

Rather than giving away free swag, like stickers and T-shirts, attach a useful bonus gift to the product. For example, upgrade the user to customer-only services for 7 days. Then, users can actually see what they are missing by not becoming customers.

Impact: 8 Confidence: 6 Ease: 5

ICE score: 6.3

“Even if the benefit is uniform across all consumers, marketing incentives that directly appeal to the target audience will drive relevancy and increase consumer interest,” writesMark Harrington, Vice President of Marketing at Clutch.

20. Start an online community

Building an online community is essential for cultivating relationships with people. Whether it’s on Facebook, Slack, or GrowthHackers.com, allow users to ask your team questions and read product experiences from other users.

For active participation, respond to members in a timely fashion and post valuable content that will solve their issues. Also, remember to set community rules for the group and spark interaction with interesting industry facts.

Impact: 7 Confidence: 7 Ease: 8

(Video) The 5 Keys to SaaS Growth Ft. Corey | Online Webinar | Growth Folks x Baremetrics

ICE score: 7.3

Start experimenting today

Improving your activation rate is an ongoing process for your product, and it's important to know what works fast.By tackling one or more of the growth experiments above, your team can deliver user value faster, double-down on what works, and grow your product

FAQs

What is activation rate? ›

What is activation rate? Activation rate measures the percentage of people who successfully complete a certain milestone in your onboarding process. The milestone can be any event that increases the odds that the user will come back and continue using the product.

How do you activate a new customer? ›

How to create a customer activation strategy?
  1. Know your customers. An impactful customer activation strategy starts with getting to know your customers. ...
  2. Create your buyer personas. ...
  3. Identify customer online behavior. ...
  4. Create your customer journey map. ...
  5. Identify customer stage and speed.

What is activation funnel? ›

Activation rate, in a nutshell, is the percentage of users who stick with your app long enough to experience the value it offers. Take these examples: A dating app might consider a user to be activated once he or she gets their first “match.”

What is a good activation metric? ›

Visitor-to-sign-up rate, product stickiness, trial-to-paid conversion rate, and feature adoption rate are the 4 most important activation metrics to track and optimize. A friction-free sign-up flow creates a good first impression upon users and collects relevant data for serving authentic customers.

What does user activation mean? ›

User activation is what actually activates your users and makes them use your product. It's actually the process when the user completes the action of converting from trial to the premium user account. User activation events are actually providing your users with tangible values to their business.

What is activation in growth? ›

Activation—the % of users who achieve success. Revenue—the average contract value (or ACV) that a user pays per month. Retention—the % of users who stick with your product, month after month.

What does a low activation rate indicate? ›

A low activation rate suggests that there might be onboarding issues or user experience issues that are preventing customers from activating. A high activation rate is a sign that the product is successful in creating value for the user quickly, and would benefit from increased marketing and acquisition efforts.

What is time to value in customer success? ›

Time to value (TTV) is the time it takes a customer to realize the value they were expecting of your product. Within the SaaS world, the value realization moment is also referred to as the “aha moment”. The shorter the time frame is to reach value, the more likely you are to retain a user and avoid customer churn.

What is an activating strategy? ›

Activating strategies are teaching strategies that prepare students for learning. Students are prepared for learning by activating an overview of the upcoming learning experience, their prior knowledge, and the necessary vocabulary.

What is brand activation strategy? ›

What is brand activation? Brand activations are events, experiences, and interactions that forge lasting emotional connections between a brand and its target audience. These activations are usually a specific campaign or event that is meant to generate brand awareness and interactivity with your audience.

What is an activation plan? ›

A brand activation plan is the critical asset that allows you to start transforming those insights into business realities. Crafted in the right way, it enables your brand to drive consumer action and engagement via brand experiences.

What is retention funnel? ›

Customer retention funnel is the steps your customers take from the first time they buy from you until they leave you.

What is the first phase of the conversion funnel? ›

Awareness. The first step in your conversion funnel will be to pull visitors in. As the name suggests, you can do this by raising awareness of your business and products.

What is activation product management? ›

Activation refers to minimizing user churn during onboarding and the first few hours/days. Activation goals include reducing friction when onboarding users, introducing them to the value proposition of your product and getting them invested in your product early on.

What is Pirate funnel? ›

What is a Pirate Funnel? The Pirate Funnel is a framework to cut a company in pieces and shows you where to focus your attention. The funnel is developed by Dave McClure and called the Pirate Funnel because the first letters spell out AAARRR for Awareness, Acquisition, Activation, Retention, Referral, Revenue.

How do you define user retention? ›

User Retention is the continued use of a product, feature or app by your customers. While measuring retention for feature usage is relatively straightforward (using that feature at least once in a specified period of time), measuring retention for a product or complete app requires more definition.

How do I activate a SaaS customer? ›

Learn how to create a customer activation strategy. Getting potential clients interested in your SaaS product can be easy when they have nothing to lose.
...
5 Components of an Effective Customer Activation Strategy
  1. Customer Personas. ...
  2. Customer Journey Map. ...
  3. Customer Engagement Strategy. ...
  4. The Final Push. ...
  5. Key Metrics.
21 Jan 2022

What is Mobile App Activation? ›

User activation is about getting a user who downloaded your app to become active in it. After all, you don't want your app to just sit on their phone with no interaction. This is the case however for many apps that are downloaded. And if they aren't activated immediately after being downloaded they are deleted.

Why is activation so important? ›

By targeting the appropriate muscles, activation exercises reinforce the brain-body connection. In other words, “they help establish a stronger communication link between your brain and the rest of your body, so your body is better prepared for the activity to come,” Dr. Lambert said. They decrease the risk of injury.

How can I hack my business growth? ›

Customer-Facing Growth Hacks for Small Businesses
  1. Provide social proof. ...
  2. Offer free trials of your product. ...
  3. Add chatbots to your website. ...
  4. Boost your content strategy with content curation. ...
  5. Be transparent about your pricing. ...
  6. Use Gantt charts and other task management tools. ...
  7. Implement business automation wherever possible.
24 Jul 2021

How would you growth hack a city? ›

Once we accept this premise the next question is, what are the practical aspects of growth hacking which can be done to:
  1. Raise brand awareness of a city.
  2. Establish a reputation for excellence in at least one thing.
  3. Give an outstanding first experience.
  4. Increase traffic to your website.
  5. Etc.
13 Jul 2016

Does temperature affect activation energy? ›

Although a higher temp increases the rate of the reaction by increasing kinetic energy, it does not directly affect the energy needed for the reaction to proceed. The higher temp will increase the rate at which it reaches the activation energy but it doesn't directly change it.

What happens as the activation energy increases? ›

The activation energy of a chemical reaction is closely related to its rate. Specifically, the higher the activation energy, the slower the chemical reaction will be. This is because molecules can only complete the reaction once they have reached the top of the activation energy barrier.

How is activation energy affected by rise in temperature? ›

Solution : Activation energy is the energy that the colliding molecules must possess to form the activated complex. It remains unaffected by rise in temperature. With rise in temperature it is more number of molecules that will possess the activation energy.

Why Time to market is important? ›

In commerce, time to market (TTM) is the length of time it takes from a product being conceived until its being available for sale. The reason that time to market is so important is since being late erodes the addressable market into which producers have to sell their product.

What is first value customer success? ›

“First Value” or “First Value Delivered” (FVD) is defined as the initial success your customer has with your product/service, according to your customer's definition of success. The sooner your customer there the better.

Why is it important to value customers time? ›

Short time to value is easier to measure. Businesses have a need, they reach out, and that immediate need is met. However, the downside of having a product or service with a short time to value is that customers have less patience and loyalty. If a brand can do the same job faster, people often switch.

What are the 5 instructional strategies? ›

Consider the five categories of instructional strategies (direct, indirect, experiential, independent and interactive).

What learning strategies are the most effective? ›

The Science of Learning: Six Strategies for Effective Learning
  1. Spaced Practice. ...
  2. Interleaving. ...
  3. Retrieval Practice. ...
  4. Elaboration. ...
  5. Concrete Examples. ...
  6. Dual Coding.
13 May 2020

What are strategies for activating prior knowledge? ›

Some commonly used strategies to activate prior knowledge are: Graphic organisers; Concept maps; KWL Chart; Anticipatory guides; Hot potato; Finding out tables; Learning grids; and Brainstorming. Students learn a second language best when they are able to draw on their prior knowledge of their first language.

What is an experiential activation? ›

To help clarify, experiential activations are usually consumer-facing and inherently promotional, branded experiences (notice, that's “branded” and not “brand experience,” a term generally used to describe the totality of how a brand is encountered).

What does activation mean in marketing? ›

Marketing activation is the execution of campaigns, events, and experiences that generate awareness of your brand. Done well, marketing activation resonates with your audience. The activation process focuses on enhancing the path to purchase for customers, often through an interactive experience.

What is another word for activation? ›

What is another word for activation?
spurstimulus
motivationimpetus
incentiveencouragement
stimulantincitement
impulseboost
215 more rows

How do you plan a marketing activation? ›

Well-known and new groundbreaking brand activations use a combination of online and offline marketing campaigns to increase their influence and achieve new customers.
  1. 1- Setting a Goal. ...
  2. 2- Create a Brand Activation Budget. ...
  3. 3- Define Target Audience. ...
  4. 4- Use Online Solutions. ...
  5. 5- Digital Product Sampling Campaigns.
1 Mar 2022

What is social media activation? ›

Social activation is the act of transforming your social media followers from voyeurs, into participants, into ultimately, evangelists. Social activation occurs when fans and followers directly participate in the activities your brand lays out, such as contests, coupon redemption, and photo and experience sharing.

What does a low activation rate indicate? ›

A low activation rate suggests that there might be onboarding issues or user experience issues that are preventing customers from activating. A high activation rate is a sign that the product is successful in creating value for the user quickly, and would benefit from increased marketing and acquisition efforts.

What is the activation energy in a chemical reaction? ›

activation energy, in chemistry, the minimum amount of energy that is required to activate atoms or molecules to a condition in which they can undergo chemical transformation or physical transport.

What is activation in SaaS? ›

Activation occurs when users first achieve the value you promised. It's expressed as the percent of activated users out of total acquired users. As a benchmark for activation rate, we've chosen 30% based on the sad reality of mobile app onboarding and our own experience helping companies improve their user onboarding.

How do I activate a SaaS customer? ›

Learn how to create a customer activation strategy. Getting potential clients interested in your SaaS product can be easy when they have nothing to lose.
...
5 Components of an Effective Customer Activation Strategy
  1. Customer Personas. ...
  2. Customer Journey Map. ...
  3. Customer Engagement Strategy. ...
  4. The Final Push. ...
  5. Key Metrics.
21 Jan 2022

Why is activation so important? ›

By targeting the appropriate muscles, activation exercises reinforce the brain-body connection. In other words, “they help establish a stronger communication link between your brain and the rest of your body, so your body is better prepared for the activity to come,” Dr. Lambert said. They decrease the risk of injury.

Does temperature affect activation energy? ›

Although a higher temp increases the rate of the reaction by increasing kinetic energy, it does not directly affect the energy needed for the reaction to proceed. The higher temp will increase the rate at which it reaches the activation energy but it doesn't directly change it.

What happens as the activation energy increases? ›

The activation energy of a chemical reaction is closely related to its rate. Specifically, the higher the activation energy, the slower the chemical reaction will be. This is because molecules can only complete the reaction once they have reached the top of the activation energy barrier.

What factors affect activation energy? ›

Activation energy depends on two factors.
  • Nature of Reactants. In the case of ionic reactant, the value of (Ea) will be low because there is an attraction between reacting species. ...
  • Effect of Catalyst.

What causes a high activation energy? ›

If the molecules in the reactants collide with enough kinetic energy and this energy is higher than the transition state energy, then the reaction occurs and products form. In other words, the higher the activation energy, the harder it is for a reaction to occur and vice versa.

What is an example of activation energy? ›

This energy is called activation energy. For example, activation energy is needed to start a car engine. Turning the key causes a spark that activates the burning of gasoline in the engine. The combustion of gas won't occur without the spark of energy to begin the reaction.

What is time to value in customer success? ›

Time to value (TTV) is the time it takes a customer to realize the value they were expecting of your product. Within the SaaS world, the value realization moment is also referred to as the “aha moment”. The shorter the time frame is to reach value, the more likely you are to retain a user and avoid customer churn.

What is activation product management? ›

Activation refers to minimizing user churn during onboarding and the first few hours/days. Activation goals include reducing friction when onboarding users, introducing them to the value proposition of your product and getting them invested in your product early on.

How do you measure acquisition? ›

3 Customer Acquisition Metrics You Need To Be Tracking
  1. Sales costs + Marketing costs / Number of new customers.
  2. Average sale x Number of repeat sales x Average lifespan of a client relationship.
  3. Number of customers lost that month / Number of customers at the start of the month.
8 Jul 2021

What is customer activation strategy? ›

A customer activation strategy is an approach to get your users to move past the initial sign-up stage to a point where they derive real value from your product and become loyal customers. Customer activation strategies focus on improving the customer experience by using both qualitative and quantitative data.

Which tool should you use for order to activation journey? ›

Userpilot is the best-recommended activation tool on this list because it's a no-code easy to use tool that comes with all necessary features/elements needed to build a personalized customer journey to help activate customers. It is also affordable.

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