Product adoption is just marketing, right?
Product adoption is more about designing a usable product, then?
Product adoption is about the product, the experience you create around it and the relationships that people build with it – the relationships they build as they become your fans.
It’s about how you nurture and communicate with your fans, and how you cultivate stories and discussion about your product.
If you get it right then it’ll make your great product fly.
If you get it wrong then no matter how great your product is it’ll probably sink.
These Guys Got it Right
What have Lab presenters Newspaper Club and Good Gym got in common? They’ve both been successful through the care, attention and value they’ve given to their fans, the (initially small) group of people who feel passionately about their product.
Here, creamed from last month’s presentations, is their advice.
Your Product is More Than Just Your App or Website
Its all the ways that people can interact around it online and offline. It’s the feelings it creates in them and the relationships they build with it. When you understand this you start thinking about and understanding how your app interacts with the physical world. Notice the feelings that people have when they hear about or use your app. When you understand this you will understand that the energy you put into designing your app needs to be matched by the energy you put into nurturing the experience people have with it. Create a feeling, not just a product
Build Your 1000 True Fans
To get your product out of obscurity and onto the road to success you don’t need huge numbers of adopters. You just need to aim for a base of True Fans.
Traditionally, and in the original words of Kevin Kelly, a true fan is defined as:
“Someone who will purchase anything and everything you produce. They will drive 200 miles to see you sing. They will buy the super deluxe re-issued hi-res box set of your stuff even though they have the low-res version. They have a Google Alert set for your name. They bookmark the eBay page where your out-of-print editions show up. They come to your openings. They have you sign their copies. They buy the t-shirt, and the mug, and the hat. They can’t wait till you issue your next work. They are true fans.”
How many true fans do you need for your app or website to be a success? It may not be a 1000 but the point is that rather than aiming for mass blockbuster style numbers, go first for a much smaller number of people who identify with and feel strongly about your product.
Then, if you treat them well, your fans will become evangelists who market your product for you.
Fans Don’t Have to Be Users
Traditionally true fans were defined as people who would pay for your stuff. But it doesn’t have to be that way. True fans only have to feel some sense of ownership over your product or their role in helping it. They can be anyone who is ready to be in active relationship with your product.
A fan could be a mental health worker who champions your app to their clients and introduces it to them via their mobile device.
A fan could be a young person who tells their mates in their support group
A fan could be a parent who tells other parents they’ve shared experiences with
A fan could be Stephen Fry…
Without your fans you have no community to invite people into. So in many ways it doesn’t matter who your community of true fans is. The main thing is that they love your product and will bring other people to it.
Understand Why People Get Behind Your Product
To cultivate and grow your fans you need to understand them. This means understanding the reasons why people will form a community and get involved with your product. When you understand these reasons then you can talk the same language and give them what they need to like and trust you.
Learn what you need to know about them. Where do they naturally gather? What are the relative facts that distinguish them from other people? Find their common characteristics and build fan personas. Then write, act, think, breathe and live for them.
Treat Your Fans Well
Identifying how you will cultivate and nurture your fan base is important. Because if you do then they will love and take ownership of your product. Then whatever new features or new initiatives you bring out they will also love.
Treat your fans as champions and in turn they will champion your product.
Here’s how you can make them feel great about being part of your product:
Treat them as people. When they contact you give them warm human responses. Talk with them, not at them. Under promise and over deliver – the more value you deliver on a consistent basis the more loyal they will become. Follow up on your promises and thank them for everything they do.
What to Do With Your Fans
While you’re building your fans there’s a lot of different things you can do to involve them in your product and help them bring other people into your community. Here’s some of the best ideas.