How to Drive Product-Led Growth

Editor’s note: the following was written by Pendo. If you have product management/tech industry experience, and would like to contribute to the blog, please contact [email protected]

Product-led growth has been trending lately, but in many ways, the strategy simply states the obvious: an effective way to grow a product is through the product itself.  That is not the same thing as saying “build [a great product] and they will come.”  There are innumerable great products out there that no one uses because no one knows about them or how to best use them.  You still have to promote and market the product, but product-led companies make that easier because they learn from and generate demand through their products.  

Using product-led strategies like freemium, data-driven product decisions, and personalized, in-app guides will help you to build it so those who come love it enough to bring more people back with them. 

PLG Through Freemium

A self-service freemium option that allows prospects to try your product before they buy or engage with salespeople is often a central component in a product-led strategy.  Many product-led companies use freemium experiences to measure product engagement and usage, so they can determine where and how to best improve both the freemium and premium experience.  

In November 2020, we introduced Pendo Free, a free-forever version of Pendo that gives product teams the tools and information they need to analyze and improve their products.  It includes essential usage analytics and in-app guides with unlimited page and feature tagging, user segmentation for targeting guides, Guide Themes to match your branding and design standards, and the Visual Design Studio to build banners, lightboxes, tools, walkthroughs, and polls.  Pendo Free is a codeless and easy-to-install solution that supports up to 1,000 monthly active users and is now available for both desktop products and mobile apps..

With Pendo Free, we are sharing the ability to be product-led with our customers through the use of product analytics and guides.  As Tim Hinds, co-founder of GrokSpark says: “As a startup co-founder playing both Product Manager and product marketer, Pendo Free is kind of the dream tool. Analyzing onboarding success, measuring feature adoption, adding guides to help here and there, announcing features to only the users who care about them—I’m doing all that in Pendo and it costs me nothing at our size. It’s seriously a no-brainer.”

PLG Through Analytics

Data is still king when it comes to SaaS growth because knowing what users like and struggle with tells product-led companies where to invest, what to update, and how to improve.  As Product Managers, you should use data to learn more about how your product experience is perceived, so you know how to grow it.  

Your product experience, or “the portion of the customer journey that takes place within the application,” needs to be stellar, since that’s where your users ultimately realize value. It’s also becoming the primary way customers engage with your company, and with recent technological advances that allow for intuitive and personalized consumer product experiences, customer expectations are higher than ever.  

How do you know if you’re meeting those expectations? Start by using Pendo’s retroactive analytics to track every action every user has with your platform.  Then, segment subsets of users based on their interactions and target them with in-app guides to survey power users or disengaged users.  Or, create an in-app guide for using a new feature and analyze how successful users who see the guide are versus those who do not.  Also, use quantitative data to define and label what we call Core Events—“a-ha! moments” that best demonstrate your product’s value and convert new users into returning users. 

With the launch of Pendo Free for mobile at Pendomonium 2021, Pendo Free users are now able to analyze their mobile apps and create mobile guides, too.  Mobile apps introduce unique challenges that should be taken into consideration:

  • Mobile app users expect to be delighted within the first seconds of interacting with an app.
  • Users access your app on all kinds of devices and operating systems, so you must build with variety in mind.
  • Versioning may be an issue as you struggle to get all your users on your latest release.

Mobile also comes with a specific set of metrics that Product Managers should track, including app launch and load speed, app versions, app store ratings, battery and network consumption, and poll and survey engagement.

PLG Using Guides

Polls and surveys are just two ways of using in-app guides to be product-led.  You can also use guides to announce new features, onboard users, and ask for app store ratings.  

We recently used an in-app guide to announce to our Pendo Free web customers that Pendo Free is now available for mobile too.  

This guide or announcement appears once, automatically, until dismissed or advanced and is a sitewide placement.  It demonstrates three of our in-app guides best practices

  1. Create in-app guides to raise awareness of additional functionality 
  2. In-app guides don’t only have to have one home. Remember to think through all the places in your product where users could benefit from the information a given guide provides.
  3. Segmenting in-app guides allows you to deliver messages and information that’s hyper-relevant to different subsets of your user base.

Another tip for improving your in-app guides is to create beautiful user experiences using contextual onboarding, which is particularly important for mobile apps since first impressions are so important.  Use them to highlight your app’s benefits and main features or walk new users through the steps to complete a critical task or behavior..  

Pendo’s mobile in-app guides are completely customizable and configurable, allowing you to target specific user segments, set start and end dates, adjust when and how your guides appear within your app, and apply your company’s branding to your guides so they feel native to your app.

Users who have successful onboarding experiences are able to see the value in your product and are more likely to provide positive app store ratings.  Use guides to request feedback from your customers and ask them to rate your app in their respective mobile app store.  

Don’t forget to consider the timing of your ask.  It’s best to ask for feedback after a user has completed an action successfully rather than when they are in the middle of trying to complete a task.  Sure, you may receive some negative feedback or a few low ratings, but Pendo lets you target those customers with an in-app guide asking them to explain their rating. That provides  valuable context to help you better understand what kind of experience they are looking for.

Pendo Free is part of our product-led growth strategy.  The ability to understand how your product is performing in several areas and providing in-app guidance to help onboard, request feedback from, and communicate with your users are just two of the major benefits we see from this strategy.  Both of these capabilities will help you achieve product-led growth by improving your freemium and paid web and mobile apps.  Get started with Pendo Free today to start or further your product-led growth journey.

Meet the Author

Danielle Satterwhite is a Senior Growth Marketing Manager at Pendo with more than 8 years of experience in tech marketing.  She has worked at major tech companies, including Amazon and Meta, as well as high-growth startups.

After graduating from the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School with an MBA, Danielle began her tech career in e-commerce, working as a web analyst, conversion specialist, and content strategist for an online department store.  This is where she developed her passion for conversion rate optimization, growth marketing, and customer experience.  

Danielle worked as a Digital Marketing Manager at Amazon and Amazon Web Services, where she worked closely with Product Managers to grow and launch programs and products. At Meta (previously Facebook), Danielle helped to grow Facebook Audience Network. Now she focuses on expanding and optimizing Pendo Free and is a proponent of product-led growth.

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