There are 5 (at least) reasons you might be losing users before you’ve even started.
I’m going to make the assumption that you want to gain, retain, and grow your user base. You want them to sign-up, pay, and stay. These concepts are simple but often overlooked. Are they a given? They are – but that doesn’t mean they come free. You have actually to work for this. Your product may well be the cat’s pajamas but remember that it’s competing against other products – but more than anything, it’s competing for your user’s attention.
1) You don’t have an actual implementation strategy
Once a user signs up you unceremoniously send them to a profile page or, worse, a link and that – IS – THAT. You’ve worked to make the SaaS you offer clean and inviting. It’s as simple as can be… Or the download is all automated so what could be needed with implementation?
This is, as you’d imagine. A show stopper. Every product deserves a strategy to get people to use and keep using it. This may be as simple as a series of simple emails from “Welcome!” to “How Can We Help?” It needs to be something, and it needs to be planned and tracked.
2) You don’t provide any guidance at all on how to use the product
“It is self-explanatory. Anyone could use it.” Ok. If that’s true have you provided a quick start guide – just in case? It’s not so much the value of the actual content as much as the way in which you broadcast that you value the connection, value the user, and want them to be part of your success.
A great resource for solving part of this problem comes from Help Scout. Identifying meaning points of customer engagement will give you numerous ways to guide the user and build a retention strategy based on what you learn.
3) You leave critical set-up and management to them
Is there a point at which your user need to configure or use an external app or download data from another place and upload it into your system? Do you consider this “Not-your-job?” this is a rate-limiter, a barrier to entry. If you manage to get someone’s attention long enough for them to signup and download or sign up and log into your product – don’t show them the door by failing to provide guidance (at a minimum) and integrated functions (ideally).
I grant that resizing images shouldn’t necessarily be your problem given how common photo editing software is … but do you want to lose someone over that? I understand that the user needs to X their entire Y and “once they do that they’ll be “good to go” Are you willing to give up more than half of your users because you’ve not provided any automation or ease-of-use to make that happen? If the answer is “yes” then so-be-it but be conscious enough to ask and answer the question. Don’t let it happen by happenstance.
4) You fail to nurture their use of the product
Once the user has signup is the prevailing theme crickets? Do they need to search back through their emails to find the link to support? Have you “let them be” because you don’t want to be a “pest”? Nearly everyone on the planet (at least those to whom you are marketing tech products) are inundated with information and activity. No, you shouldn’t spam them but sending a series of short emails offering help is hardly spam. If they unsubscribe and stop using your product, then take note and add that to your metrics. NOT reaching out isn’t going to secure them as users if offering to help runs them off.
5) You fail to follow-up when they leave
Gah. If they leave it’s personal? perhaps you find out they just didn’t need your app. Or you discover another app was more useful and why. What if you found out your lead sales rep made a pass at them? Would this be useful information? Would you want NOT to know such a thing? Surely it’d be better to know. So ask. And look at the data too. It’s important to understand all of your users’ patterns from how they find you to why they leave you and everything in between. The Rand group talks about adoption strategies – but the flip side of that is understanding attrition.
An implementation plan can be simple or complex, but you need you. It boils down to being conscious and deliberate and fully aware of both the data and the consequences. Remember you are trying to get users and then to understand them. The lack of an implementation plan can kill you before you’ve gotten started.