39 Actionable Growth Hacking Tactics Part 2/5 - Activation Hacks

All 39 Hacks are not in this single post.

It’s a wonderful assumption that every user who completes your signup form, or installs your app, is going to fully explore your product. “Why would anyone create an account, and then not create their first campaign?”

Getting users to activate is a critical stage. There’s a bit of ambiguity about exactly which stage ‘Activation’ refers to. Some consider this growth hack ‘completing a signup form’ however at NEXEA we consider that part of an acquisition.

To me, Activation means getting users to a stage in the product where you can be confident that they’ve experienced the value in the product.

Here’s the next part of our Growth Hack Tactics guide, with lots of actionable hacks to try.

Growth Hack Part 2: Activation Hacks

11. Add an onboarding email drip sequence

Using behavior emailing platforms, you can use event data stored in platforms like trakio to sent targeted emails directly aimed at moving the user towards a specific goal.

Add your first project, invite your first colleague, publish your first video.

Whatever is relevant for you, be sure to deliver emails that have 1 specific goal each time, and have a system in place that automatically measures and adapts for user actions.

growth hack - drip email

Don’t just send an email 7 days after signup – check the user has actually logged in yet, check they’ve actually viewed your developer documentation.

Personalize your onboarding sequence and have smart rules in place so that it will scale as you do.

12. Produce a series of short (<3min each) Screencasts on how to use your product

Some people are visual learners and need to see someone else clicking around on the exact same screen that they see so that they can fully understand what to do.

Screencasts are quick to produce (and you can always redo them if your product changes or you want to redo with nicer editing).

But you’ll achieve 80% of the effect just by sitting in a quiet room with your MacBook and Quicktime screen record.

Keep each screencast shot, and aimed at one specific task. Upload them to a dedicated section of your product (docs, blog category etc.) and be sure to tell users about them, through your newsletter and in your onboarding email sequence.

In true testing spirit, monitor view counts on each video and use the data to inform towards where pain points might be in the product UX and general understanding.

13. Offer an incentive for users who activate (e.g. t-shirts)

Adding a “pull” hook to get users to put up with a bit of friction can be useful, particularly for developer-targeted products.

You can have the traditional reward point system that gives cash and other redeemable in exchange for reward points earned. Or follow the more fun way of New Relic.

growth hack - reward points

App error monitoring startup New Relic are pioneers in the swap space. Giving away RC helicopters and t-shirts to everyone who deploys their tracking code.

T-shirts don’t have to be expensive – you can print and ship a t-shirt for <$15, and this scales up easily with order fulfillment companies and bulk printing.

You can offset some costs later by selling t-shirts. You need to keep an eye on costs to ensure you’re getting an ROI based on your conversion rates and LTV.

Besides offering customized Tshirts, you may also consider to offer some corporate gifts such as mugs, lanyards, canvas bags, button badges etc to activate your customers.

14. Offer increased product limits for 100% activation growth hack

If your product plans have usage limits, i.e. “Active projects, GB of storage” you can incentivize users to fully explore your product by adding extra rewards when they do.

Make your first project, get an extra 250mb of storage space. Have your first client conversation, unlock white label messaging.

You need to be creative and specific to what makes sense in your product. You also need to know which resource your customers really want within your product.

Dropbox are champions at this and cite their rewards program (and referral program) as the key growth hack to their success (they had previously had an awful experience with Google Adwords and were hemorrhaging money in clicks).

Unlike offering free t-shirts that cost you up to $15 each time, offering increased product limits has a negligible cost associated, so it scales up much better.

growth hack activation hacks

Dropbox allows you to see all the bonus space you have earned for so far

15. Add ‘blank slates’ to show what a fully setup account looks like

Unfortunately, those awesome, sexy interface screenshots you had made up by your best designer to demonstrate what your dashboard looks like is NOT what your customers see when they first sign up.

That’s because most products only look their best when they have a perfect set of data in them.

New customers don’t have any projects, or comments, or posts, or uploads, or activity.

Their dashboard probably looks pretty shit, and nothing like the beautiful interface they saw in their video before they signed up.

So why not give them a taste? Experiment with using teaser blank slates alongside ‘wizard’ type prompts to pull the user through your setup process. And you can make your own growth hack !

growth hack activation hacks 2

16. Deliver case studies of happy customers via email to users who haven’t activated yet

You only need to demonstrate value with 1 or 2 great case studies. After that you can use that to show other potential customers how awesome your product is. And there you go, the easiest growth hack ever!

Online teaching platform Udemy started their journey to 5,000 online courses by using just 1 case study. By demonstrating how one early adopter made $50,000 in course sales, they were able to bring more big hitters onboard.

17. Popup helpers within the app

Your navigation system within your app may seem obvious to you, but that’s because you probably use it every day.

“Of course you should go to ‘My Account > Tools > Collab Tools > Invite Users’ to invite colleagues, who wouldn’t understand that!” however not every customer will think that way.

Pushing users towards key functionality by using balloon call-to-actions is a simple growth hack to get users around your app. It’s also useful for promoting hidden gems of functionality that might have become buried under other features.

Ensure they’re reactive to the user’s previous usage and current needs. Don’t push users towards creating their first project if they’ve already made 3!

18. Offer live webinars (and in the early days, 1-to-1 coaching via Skype)

Sounds crazy, but you should be offering direct 1-to-1 skype chats with as many of your users as possible. If you’re worried you won't have time, humor me.

The most valuable thing you can be doing in any startup is getting your users engaged in conversations. But seeing first hand on live screen-shares is a goldmine of UX feedback, and equivalent to thousands of dollars in eye tracking tests.

Once you’re happy, and you really have outgrown 1-to-1 activation support, start running 1-to-many webinars.

Drop webinars that repeatedly only get a handful of attendees, focussing on the webinars with the biggest audiences. (as these are are your main paint points inactivation)

Keep webinars focussed and don’t dilute too much, and use them as drivers to dictate your screencast and documentation library.

That was part 2 of 5, coming up next…

21 more growth hack, focussing on Retention, Referral, and Revenue! Let me know in the comments if you have any more cool hacks & tactics for Activation not in this list!

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