What’s the one thing that keeps you using a website or app prolifically?
It’s the one ingredient that separates truly addictive and useful products from those still scrambling to captivate their niche. It goes beyond market research, or dominating the conversion funnel, or even the product/market fit (even though all of these are extremely important).
It’s the AHA! moment.
The AHA! moment is the moment at which your users feel they “get it”, they understand how the product works, how the product is going to help them, and how their money/time is being translated into a benefit.
Essentially, the AHA! moment is described to your potential users on your advertising, landing page and email marketing channels you’ve worked hard on. It’s the pain point you’re addressing, and solving. It’s the thing that made them click and sign up (perhaps even put their credit card details in) for. At the point at which users commit their data to you, the race is on to not only engage them, but to make sure you can retain them.
The length of time between user commital and getting them to the AHA! moment could mean the difference between substandard growth, and aggressive user uptake.
So how do you understand what your AHA! moment is? It all starts with your product/market fit, understanding the pain your product solves, and reducing the time to that solution (or moment of realisation of benefit).
The Product/Market Fit
Put simply, the product/market fit is when a product satisfies a market ripe with demand for a solution to a specific problem.
In the early days of planning your product or service, the idea is generally born out of careful observation of the target market, analysing the pain points which exist. If your product or service can solve those issues, and the market is lucrative enough, you have your product/market fit.
The process is, of course, understanding your market, value and fit.
- The Market: If you, or someone in your team, have intimate knowledge of your target audience, you need to leverage this insight. If you’re still yet to get the full picture of your customer base, it’s time to get out of the office and spend plenty of time with them. Read what they read, interact where they interact, join the groups they join. Build a network of influential members of your target market and increase your knowledge if industry insights. Ask plenty of questions and keep track of the inherent issues facing your market.
- The Value: Even if your product or service can solve numerous issues facing your target audience, you risk diluting your product’s true converting power. Concentrate on the biggest pain point of your market, and include the other ones your product solves as added extras. Even better, launch faster to market by building the solution to the biggest problem, and leave the other solutions to future releases. Pay careful attention to competitors, find their product weaknesses, their conversion weaknesses, and uptake/retention weaknesses, and build something that your audience will viciously embrace.
- The Fit: If you’ve nailed the market research and product’s value proposition, all that’s left is to actually find your fit. Learn the ways you market communicates, the industry slang/keywords, and what compels your users to open their wallets. Convey your value to your market in the simplest, clearest way possible, in a way that makes instant sense to your customers. Think critically about the design of your product or service, and the way you build landing pages and call-to-actions. Check this post I wrote recently to help make your call-to-actions and headlines highly converting.
The Solution to the Pain
At the end of the day, the only reason you’ll ever get acquisitions, and ultimately conversions (and hopefully retention), is because you’ve sold your customers on a solution to end a specific pain point. The best way to ensure new customers trust you, is to convey your story to them. The product journey is as important as the people who built it. Customers need to understand you’ve been where they’ve been, you’re in the trenches with them, and together you’re making things better in your industry.
Building your product/service solution to communicate the solution to this pain point is the fundamental building block to the final offering. Failing to do so creates a cloudy atmosphere, and increases uncertainly when your potential customer’s cold hard cash/plastic is on the line.
Of course, it’s quite normal to build a product that ‘relatively’ solves the pain point based on your own/team interpretation, however it pays to be receptive to market influences and real customer feedback as to what features are important for them to have. If you’re open to to this type of customer-led innovation, your product could actually evolve to better solve the pain points over time, making your offering extraordinarily valuable in the long run.
It’s important to remember that you must iterate this solution through the whole conversion funnel, and once you’ve successfully managed to drive sales across the line, it becomes about making your new customers feel like they haven’t made a mistake. You do that, by giving them the AHA! moment.
The AHA! Moment
As mentioned previously, the AHA! moment is the moment at which the user experiences the true value of the benefits your product is delivering to them. At that point, the connection between your user and the product is at its strongest, and builds a greater opportunity for rabid retention.
Introducing the AHA! moment early in the signup/onboarding process is critical. This drives home the value while the product is still early in the acquisition of a new customer.
This process can be experimented with in a number of ways:
- Instant free trial access, guided by a quick tutorial
- Overview of results of other clients, backed by testimonials
- Immersive onboarding experience highlighting benefits
- Insant benefit realised after signup/payment
- Email-based guidance to the value
To find what works as a value introduction (or the way you display/express it), try A/B testing the onboarding process, and then analysing the cohort segments to find your greatest levels of engagement.
Here’s some examples of AHA! moments portrayed beautifully:
- Uber: The hook may have been with their free ride for new users (or now just a discount), however, the instant you open up the app, sign up and stick your credit card details in, you receive instant gratification seeing cars driving around, waiting for you to ride. The UX process is smooth enough that with only a few taps, your driver is on their way (which you can track), and the big AHA! moment when the real life driver appears to take you to your destination.
- Twitter: Twitter onboarding is a refined process, built on trial and error. In the early days of rollout, Josh Elman, who lead Twitter’s growth, found users retained extremely well once they followed 30 or more people. That is reflective of their signup process now, which now helps you follow your first batch of followers. The AHA! moment occurs when you see your feed for the first time, with Tweets from the accounts you just followed.
- Trello: With a super short account creation screen, Trello literally throws you into the AHA! moment in the product straight away, with a Welcome Tutorial board. Instant immersion and gratification with just getting your hands dirty.
- Instagram: Near-instant signup process, untilising Facebook Connect, or the manual option which only has a few items you need to enter before you’re able to add existing friends and start taking a photo and play with filters, (the AHA! moment) and sharing it to the world.
- Snapchat: Snapchat’s onboarding utilises a number of verification procedures, but made to feel like a game. It motivates you to add your friends first, and once completed, walks you through your first ‘snap’ to them, giving you an instant feel of the AHA! moment experience of Snapchat.
The aim of the game is to make the time to the realisation of the benefits of your product as short as possible. The closer to instant you can introduce that benefit to the onboarding user, the greater chance you have at driving retention rates higher.
To measure and act on Time-To-AHA!, follow this general rule of thumb:
- Number of conversions vs average length of time of user retainment
- If the average length of time is way too short, it indicates you haven’t clearly defined/expressed value, or aren’t delivering it with your product
- Make changes with your onboarding value expression, and retest with a new cohort
Which products have made you instantly fall in love with them due to their AHA! moment? How have you reduced the Time-To-AHA! with your product?