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3 steps to lower your product's time-to-value.

Updated: Jul 16, 2023

Today we're going to dive into the activation stage of a Product Led Growth flywheel and the 3 steps you can take to lower your product's time to value (TTV).

The time it takes for users to experience the value of your product is crucial to its success. A long TTV will lead to high churn rates, low adoption rates and ultimately cause the flywheel to fail.

This is why it is crucial to make sure your onboarding journey guides your users to value as quickly as possible.

The PLG Flywheel

There are 4 stages in a successful PLG flywheel. Activate, Adopt, Adore, Advocate.

Users in the activation stage are evaluating if your product can solve their problem. You need to make their lives as easy as possible. Remember, they don't know how to use your product! Design and build for the beginners mind, they don’t even know where to start. You need to simplify your onboarding and guide them as quickly as possible to value. Users need to activate before they can adopt. This means designing your user journey to solve problems instead of pushing features. Rule: Assume your users don’t know how to get value out of your product. Fact: Your product is worthless to users that don’t know how to use it.

If user's don't activate, the flywheel can't even begin.

The PLG Flywheel

3 steps you can take to lower your product's time to value.

Step 1: Persona mapping

Your first step in lowering TTV is to clearly identify who your users are and what their specific needs are. This involves creating user personas that represent your target audience.

By creating these personas, you can tailor your product to meet the specific needs of each type of user, improving the time to value for each group.

Here is a template I use to map personas 👇

Responsibilities → {Main responsibilities and JTBD} How they do that → {Their current workflow} Pain points → {Challenges/obstacles they face} Risks/Fears → {Potential consequences they face if they fail to fulfill their responsibilities?} Goals/KPIs → {Objectives they are responsible for achieving & Metrics they own} What happens if nothing changes → {Consequences of not using your product} What is substantially gained if they use your solution → {Describe the benefits that the persona would receive by using your solution} Relevant use cases/solutions → {Specific examples of how your solution can be used to address the responsibilities, challenges, and goals of the persona.}

Next you'll want to identify the specific use cases that your product serves and understand which personas are relevant to each solution.

Step 2: Connecting personas to specific use cases within your product.

This step involves understanding the different ways in which users interact with your product and what outcomes they are looking to achieve.

The goal is to prioritize the user journey and design the UX in a way that is intuitive and helps users reach their desired outcome as quickly as possible.

💡 Tip: In your onboarding journey, ask your users what outcome they are trying to achieve - You can leverage this to guide the user on a personalized journey.

All of the leading PLG leaders have mastered this - take Canva for example 👇

Canva Onboarding

There are thousands of templates that Canva could show new users. By asking one simple question, they’re able to personalize the experience and recommend the most relevant designs for each persona.

Rule: Each user journey should be designed to guide users towards solving the pain point that they're facing.

Step 3: Optimizing each user journey

Finally, it's time to optimize each user journey. This involves understanding the steps that a user needs to take within your product to achieve their desired outcome and making sure that each step is as frictionless as possible.

It's critical to understand the user journey from start to finish. This means measuring each step along the way and understanding where users are getting lost or frustrated.

  1. Map out the user journey into steps.

  2. Go through each step and ask yourself: Is this necessary? Would I understand this if I was seeing it for the first time?

  3. Remove all unnecessary steps.

  4. Simplify the steps that are hard to understand.

  5. Keep a list of all the changes you’ve made.

  6. Measure the results.

  7. Repeat.

Time is a person’s most valuable asset. Don’t forget that users are people too, don’t waste their time. One less click goes a long way.

5 key onboarding principles:

  1. Make sure that everything a user needs is easily accessible from the home page.

  2. Remove any unnecessary steps between the user and the value they're interested in.

  3. Use language that is easy to read and understand.

  4. Test different ways of presenting value to users, and see what works best for them.

  5. Always be willing to make changes based on user feedback.


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