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6 Steps to Craft a Top-notch User Adoption Strategy

Let’s get real here. If you’re a consumer used to a tried-and-true product from a particular brand, switching to a different one is tough – even if it offers better performance, improved features, and refined design. For people, the comfort zone is a complex spell to break, and new product launches are, in a way, here to challenge that status quo precisely.

You can easily overcome this challenge with the right user adoption strategy in place,

What is user adoption? Well, that’s what we are here to explore, so grab a cup of coffee and get ready to dive in!

What is user adoption?

User adoption refers to users accepting and using a new product or service for an extended period. It’s not just a one-time thing; it involves adopting the new product, understanding its value, and integrating it into their workflow.

If your user adoption rates are high, it clearly highlights a successful product (or feature) launch and speaks volumes about the value it’s bringing to your user base ✅

But flip the coin, and what about low user adoption? Well, it’s a bad sign that indicates the product user experience wasn’t wow! and suggests an upcoming increase in your churn rate ❌

To what extent can high user adoption impact your business?

You could say that user adoption won’t determine the success of your freshly launched product, and we can agree, but then we’d both be lying! 

User adoption is powerful enough to get your new users to try and stick to the new product and consistently find value at every step.

Here are a few of the most common areas where user adoption can make a difference:

Increases user engagement from the start

High user adoption often correlates with increased user engagement, and it’s not hard to see why!

There’s no such thing as an “overnight success story,” and customers don’t suddenly become brand advocates. You might know the ins and outs of your product by heart, but your users probably don’t! Since the user experience involves multiple phases, having a user adoption strategy is your first piece of the puzzle.

Because when you think about it, if users struggle to start, how can they stick around and spread the word about your product later on?

When gradually building up your user base, you’ve done all the heavy lifting at the beginning by setting the stage for a progressive relationship with your customers.

Decreases customer churn rates

You’ve heard this before, but we’ll repeat it: The number one reason for customer churn is the lack of engagement and understanding of the product. Not only does this lead new users to abandon the product, but it also leaves a not-so-great impression about your brand. 

So, if you’re a business looking to avoid customer churn (seriously, who isn’,t?), user adoption is still your best bet!

Read more: How to Use Dunning Emails to Reduce Involuntary Churn

Ensures product scalability

You can have the best product in the world, but you won’t get far if it’s not scalable and adaptable to the ever-changing market and customer needs. 

After all, nobody buys into a one-hit-wonder; they prefer something that can adapt and grow with the times, and that’s why user adoption is your one-stop solution, from the minute you roll out your product till it becomes the talk of the market. 

Like a well-established business can handle more customers, a product with high adoption rates can seamlessly scale up and manage a constantly growing user base.

Enhances customer lifetime value 

How do you determine your product’s success? Through metrics, of course! And if there is one specific metric to track, it must be Customer Lifetime Value. 

CLV helps you figure out how much cash you’re investing in each long-time user of your product. It also reveals the value of that customer during their journey with your business to help you paint a clearer picture of how product adoption impacts your sales.

With a solid user adoption strategy, you can quickly get higher customer lifetime value without breaking the bank. 

Less money spent on converting new customers? Yes, please! 

Boosts brand reputation 

Saved best for last. Using user adoption to boost your brand reputation is a terrific idea! 

Just think about it: When you have a product crushing it in the market, mainly thanks to a high user adoption rate, a considerable portion of indecisive customers will naturally trigger their aha moment.

People love digging into the experiences of fellow users, and your brand is already getting the thumbs up from the loyal user base.

Read more: Using Social Proof to Elevate Brand Trust: How to Do It RIght + Examples

Now, we have made a fair amount of effort to understand a user adoption strategy and why one should implement it at their product launches. This brings us to our next question: What common mistakes hinder user adoption? Well, we’re here to show you!

4 Common mistakes that hinder user adoption

We’re sure that as a business owner, you’ve heard that advice more times than you can count, but we’ll say this one more time: never overlook the feedback of your end-users. 

And because two wrongs don’t make a right, we’ll address other common user adoption mistakes that companies might fall into. 

Complex onboarding processes

Another common mistake that can slow user adoption is when the initial onboarding process gets overly complicated for users, so if the setup process feels like a marathon – too long, too confusing, too demanding, chances are high that users will abandon the product. We mean, Nobody wants to feel like they’re taking an exam just to try out something new, right? 

This can ruin the user experience and discourage a significant portion of your user base from adopting the product you’re launching. 

Inflexible product orientation plan

When you start crafting the product orientation plan, you’re doing the best you can to get your customers excited to give your new product a shot, and we get it; that’s what you should do, by the way. 

However, you can unwillingly overwhelm your users with information when trying to do that. This happens because you forget that you’ve been on this product lifecycle for months or even years, while for your customers, it has only been a couple of days.

So it’ll logically take them some time to break the ice with a fresh product. Thus, after you’ve covered the training module, the two big-time mistakes are either not giving breaks or disengaging right after the initial launch. 

The “spray and pray” approach won’t work in this case. You must provide them with space to adapt to the product and, at the same time, maintain a consistent communication and update thread because users need time to get familiar with the functionalities and features of your product. 

Overlooking the end user’s angle

We won’t sugarcoat it: A lot of SaaS companies these days focus more on product promotion and sales to the extent that they end up overlooking their existing customers. 

What makes things even worse is that these companies often interact with the decision-makers of the customer’s organization and forget that those decision-makers aren’t often the ones getting hands-on with the product – a classic case of “missing the forest for the trees.”

So let’s try to explain the other side of the story: when customer success specialists plan the process of how people get used to a product, they often view it from the business side of things, and we understand it because they are always in touch with stakeholders. This is why they miss the end-user’s perspective, who can be completely clueless about the business side. 

Who’s the end-user, you ask? Well, it could be a software developer, an online consultant, or a freelancer. When designing your onboarding and training materials, keep this note front and center. 

Poor integration with existing workflows

In the SaaS world, one size doesn’t fit all, so if the new product you’re putting forward disrupts existing user workflows or doesn’t smoothly integrate with the current processes, we hate to break it to you, but your user adoption strategy is on the brink of failure. 

What can you do in this case? Ensure that your team (especially the developers) syncs up that new product with how users already do their job: the tools they use, the tasks they automate, and their workspace management methods. The best solution to achieve this? User feedback, without a doubt! 

6 Steps to Craft a Top-notch User Adoption Strategy

Now, let’s move on to the more complicated parts.

 We’ve put together below 6 steps to help you craft a Top-notch User Adoption Strategy. The following steps aren’t just strategies. They’re the game plan for turning trial users into loyal clients and helping established customers upgrade to the latest products.

Let’s dive right in! 

Understand what led your customers to choose your product 

Whatever your strategy may be, it’s best to go back to basics. Ask yourself what led your users to choose your product and what is the value it’s adding to their lives. For that, you must do the homework with your sales team to find the pain points. 

The point of doing this is to put together all the pieces of the puzzle when you’re about to create your user adoption strategy. 

But it’s all easier said than done. You have to carefully analyze the behavior of your loyal customers, pay attention to how they talk and engage with your product online, or maybe even take the extra step to shoot them a direct message.

Understanding the thought process of your customers and prospects will help you conceive a proper product value, which will translate in the customization of your customers’ first use, onboarding experience, and the way you should approach them throughout their subscription.

Provide educational resources for users 

Let’s face it: the learning curve of a new product is challenging enough to deter users from switching to the new product and pushing them to do things the same old way. So don’t wait for things to come up naturally — they never do. 

Now, you might feel a little intimidated about a potential failure of your user adoption strategy. Don’t worry! Provide your new product users with enough educational resources like video tutorials, FAQs, knowledge bases, and webinars. You can significantly reduce the churn rates and prevent user drop-offs. 

But a quick disclaimer here: Don’t spam your users with pop-ups and transition animation— Give them the content they need without overwhelming them. Consider using visual timelines or step-by-step guides so they can track their onboarding progress on the road.

And to take it one step further, depending on your product niche, you can automate your customer collection insights. And it’s not as tough as you think. Encharge is one tool that can help you pick up on customer pain points in seconds with automated emails. Try it out!

Make the product frictionless

You’ve probably heard this before, but we’ll say it again: your best option to help users seamlessly navigate the onboarding process is to minimize friction from the start.

Don’t try to reinvent the wheel with completely new UI elements – it’s a red flag for your user experience. So, instead, use recognizable UI/UX patterns that resonate with your users, and this way, you’ll be sparing them from all the headaches of learning a whole new process and allowing them to focus on the onboarding details that matter.

Take Google as an example – yeah, Google! The Google suite of applications, including Gmail, Google Drive, Google Cloud Platform, and Google Business Profile, showcases frictionless user adoption. Every time Google drops a new product, users know exactly what to expect in terms of design patterns and even usage mechanisms.

An intuitive interface, straightforward collaboration features, and a familiar design they never seem to part with — That’s precisely why the onboarding experience with any new Google product is frictionless.

Incentivize your customers 

Do you know what every user wants? Incentives, rewards, giveaways – literally anything that motivates them, and your takeaway in return will be engagement and adoption of your new product. 

Your incentive process should include discounts, exclusive access to features, loyalty programs, or referral rewards.

Speaking of exclusive access, this will take a little more work than just randomly inviting users via email. Hence, it’s totally fine to copy brands like Notion, which, after building a well-established community, some community figures stand out in the scene by sharing mainly Notion-based content across different social platforms; over time, they become Notion ambassadors.

This category of content creators always get exclusive access to products before it’s officially accessible for the rest of us, and this doesn’t just ensure that Notion receives instant feedback from their “expert users” but also helps spread the word about the product through their user generated content, and that’s how they naturally boost their user adoption rate. Well-thought-out, right? 

Personalize the user experience 

Can your user adoption strategy get any better than that? And the answer is, yes, it does! Here’s how:

First, let’s put the insights we collected (thanks to Encharge) to work! It’s time to customize the product experience to individual user needs. This can include the recommendations, content marketing, features – you name it.

Now that you have your data ready, a perfect use case can be to refine the onboarding experience in a way that aligns with the user behavior, so let’s assume, for instance, that most of your users prefer videos. In that case, it makes more sense to focus your educational resources on this format rather than creating blog posts or playbooks 🤷

Jumping into the AI bandwagon? Perfect timing! You can take your personalization to a whole new level by leveraging AI chatbots to trigger targeted messages based on your users’ specific behavior. 

So, the whole point behind personalization is to leverage the data in order to deliver a dynamic UX that evolves with the user and ensures that the adoption journey runs smoothly for every user.

Continuous testing and optimization

We wished this was a one-time fix, but sorry to tell you that’s not the case 🙁

So you have to regularly test and fine-tune the user experiences by, again, analyzing analytics and user behavior data so that you can quickly spot the areas of improvement and make consistent adjustments to your product accordingly. 

Continuous testing also helps uncover patterns in how the product features are used and the user’s dwell time in the product, so you can always keep an eye on the initial onboarding. Not only that, monitoring the omnichannel customer journey, besides establishing a foundation to work from, also offers you the chance to track and measure the effect of the changes you’re implementing.

User adoption is an never-ending journey

And thus, we reach the end of it – the blog post, we mean, not user adoption! Because this process is an ongoing journey for your B2B SaaS company. 

Because when your new user subscribes to your product and becomes part of their tech stack, they’ll likely bring in more users that need to go through the same adoption process the first user had to experience, so yeah, it’s definitely a never-ending cycle. 

So at this point, one thing is clear. User adoption is a process too vital for you to ignore. Because you don’t want to throw away a significant portion of your sales and marketing investment, right?

Oh, and while you’re at it, why not give Encharge a shot? It’s just a click away!

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Meet your new marketing automation platform

Customer messaging tools don’t automate workflows outside your product and marketing automation tools are bad at behavior emails. Encharge is the best of both worlds — a marketing automation platform built specifically for B2B SaaS businesses

“Encharge helped us visually redesign our onboarding flow resulting in a 10% increase in our trial activation rate."

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Camille Richon
Founder Payfacile
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