Product Bumpers and Smart Journeys: Lessons on Product-Led Growth to Increase Customer Conversions!



In today’s fast-moving business landscape; your brand recall, value proposition, and the industry you operate in influence your effective marketing campaigns. Marketing campaigns that are specifically created to target various customer segments within your target audience. 

To achieve this, there are several go-to-market strategies you can plan to beat the competition and gain a competitive advantage. But don’t forget that your product is at the core of it all. It drives your company’s revenue stream. Your product is what satisfies a customer’s need and/or want. So, flipping the traditional sales funnel on its head and pivoting to a Product-Led Growth mindset is a change in strategy worth considering. This empowers you with benefits like shorter sales cycles, lower customer acquisition costs, and a higher revenue per employee. 

Sounds too good to be true? Read on!

What is Product-Led Growth?

Product-Led Growth is a go-to-market strategy that relies on the product itself to drive customer journeys and consistently creates a seamless onboarding experience within the product. 

If you’ve used Dropbox, you would have experienced the power of Product-Led Growth firsthand – you didn’t have to read a lengthy whitepaper to understand the benefits of cloud-based file sharing now, did you? You just saw the product in action and got down to benefiting from its value almost instantly!

So, is it a simple try-before-you-buy model? No!

If we look deeper, one of the important aspects of Product-Led Growth is minimizing the friction for the end-user. The sign-up process may become overly complex, there may be a lack of onboarding experience or activation training to get new customers up to speed more quickly – you may be asking customers to do too much too soon. Additionally, there could be too many unnecessary steps in the process that complicate actual usage.

So how do you go about it?

This is where Product Bumpers come into action. Bumpers are often used when onboarding customers so they can reach their first meaningful outcome as soon as possible. 

The bumper type you use in modern SaaS companies depends on the niche you are in, the audience, what is working for your competitors, and your internal resources, and capabilities.

Straight-line Onboarding

In one of our previous blog posts, we broke down the concept of Product Bumpers, as part of the Bowling Alley Framework. It’s a key concept that can be applied to both B2C consumer-tech products as well as any product-led SaaS company.

Let’s quickly bring you up to speed on Product Bumpers, anyway!

Ever tried your hand at Bowling?

Whenever someone new tries bowling, the same simple advice is repeated: “bowl in a straight line and knock down as many pins as possible”. Bumpers are set up on the sides of the lane to ensure that one doesn’t end up with half a dozen gutter balls!

Product Bumpers on your customer’s journeys serve the same purpose. Ensuring that they direct your customers towards conversion goals faster.

We’re going to take an in-depth dive into how we, at Netcore Smartech, have adopted a Product-Led Growth mindset and how we’re maximizing the use of Product Bumpers within our SaaS product! Be sure to extend this to your product as well, wherever and whenever appropriate:

  1. Onboarding Tooltips or Walkthroughs

In a SaaS product, there are multiple features where the customer needs some early hand-holding to gain a level of education and comfort in terms of usage. This becomes more important whenever there is a series of actions that leads to a particular outcome. In such a scenario, guiding your customers across the shortest path or sequence of minimum steps that deliver instant value, becomes key. 

At Netcore Smartech, we believe in making our customers’ journeys within our product easier and seamless. Post the initial level of hand-holding, customers achieve a high to moderate level of comfort and features then have a chance to become “stickier”, in terms of adoption.

See for yourself how we use tooltips and walkthroughs to empower customers:

A walkthrough Smartech, a Netcore product
Netcore Smartech Navigation menu
  1. Checklists

We believe that it’s important to help our customers get started with the most important tasks,  encouraging them along the way, and rewarding them at the end. 

A good way to make things clearer for your customers is to add a progress bar to your checklist. It works extremely well when your checklist is relatively long. The gamification angle elicits a sense of Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) or curiosity that can be leveraged to drive greater feature adoption.

And, the greater the feature adoption, the higher is the value that customers would experience, based on their usage of more platform capabilities.

Here’s how we do it within Netcore Smartech:

Checklists within Netcore Smartech
  1. Predefined States or Templates

An orator captures the attention of his audience the minute he cites an example or experience that they can relate to – this is a simple relativity logic. Apply the same to your brand: Your product – is the orator, your customers are the audience. 

How can you achieve this?

Showcase a simple use case of the feature in a relatable format: Introduce your customers to predefined states or sample templates of your product or feature. Be sure to show them clearly the usability and benefit associated with this.

At Netcore Smartech, we bring in multiple such predefined states, specific to a particular industry the product belongs to. This enables the marketer to see a direct value in the feature they are using and helps them experiment with the same. Here are some more examples:

(i) Pre-created Default Email Templates

We’ve created sample email templates for customers across categories like e-commerce, food delivery, holidays and festivals, newsletters, real estate, and retail sales offers. These templates inspire marketers to bring in their creativity to build one for themselves or they could simply save time and use our predefined templates.

Here are some of our most popular default email templates:

Smartech's most popular most popular default email templates

(ii) Default Web Message Campaign Templates 

The placement and trigger-timing of web messages on a website is critical to an effective web engagement strategy. Marketers need to test and experiment with placing web messages on the banner or sticky bar. Do web messages work better in modal or full-screen mode? 

We take it one step further and generate sample templates across all these categories. 

This goes a long way in simplifying the campaign creation process for marketers, i.e. our end users. This expedites the entire process and allows marketers to focus more on creating engaging content that resonates with their target audience.

Here are some of our default web message campaign templates that can be leveraged by marketers for diverse use cases across various industries:

Smartech's default web message campaign templates

(iii) Smart Journeys

Your customers could take a permutation and combination of various paths to reach the intended conversion goal. Based on the industry verticals selected on the Netcore Smartech panel, our Journey 2.0 module has a gallery of Smart Journeys for marketers to deploy and experiment with. 

Customers can easily select and see the preview of the journey. Once selected and saved, the complete journey nodes load instantly and seamlessly on our Journey Builder canvas.

These journeys are basic customer flows which the marketer can utilize, configure the content, and go live within minutes. It offers him/her the speed, scale, and flexibility to start engaging with relevant customer segments across multiple channels; such as email, app push notifications, web messages, SMS, etc.

Let’s consider e-commerce as an industry. Here are some of the Smart Journeys that can be easily and quickly deployed – to address specific pain-points:

  1. Convert Window-Shoppers into Paying Customers

Once a newly acquired customer arrives on the e-commerce website and has shown some interest, the next target is to convert non-buying window-shoppers into paying customers. 

On an average, new customers on a website – if nudged with the right message at the right time – have the highest potential to make a purchase. Our Smart Journeys ensure that e-commerce marketers target their customers at strategic intervals; nudging them on different channels with great offers to make a purchase. 

Never miss an opportunity!

  1. Reduce Shopping Cart Abandonment

When a customer adds a product to his/her shopping cart, he/she is showing intent to purchase. But, this doesn’t necessarily mean that he/she will successfully checkout. There is a high possibility of cart abandonment, i.e. every e-commerce marketer’s evergreen challenge! This has a negative impact on the overall conversion rates. In fact, as per a recent SimilarWeb Industry Benchmark for e-commerce websites, the average conversion rate (CVR) is only 4.6%

Yes, it can be that low!

With our cart abandonment journey for e-commerce players, marketers can target such customers, nudge them to complete their incomplete transaction across multiple channels, or entice them with additional offers, etc. This increases the chances of eventual conversion; i.e. product purchase.

  1. Upsell Products Post-Purchase Completion

Most e-commerce platforms have a wide range of products to go along with a combination of other products. And, newly converted customers can be recommended the most relevant products, over and above their actual purchase.

This can be achieved through our upsell journey; enabling e-commerce brands to increase their Average Order Value (AOV) and Average Revenue Per Paying User (ARPPU)!

  1. Prevent Existing Customers from Churning

Every marketer wants to reduce the cost of acquiring a customer. It’s important to keep these paying customers engaged by delivering contextual and memorable customer experiences, consistently. Personalization becomes the name of the game!

And, with our Smart Journeys, marketers can strategically introduce new personalized offers or product recommendations to keep existing customers engaged and invested in the e-commerce brand.

Here’s what our Smart Journeys look like at a glance:

 Smart Journeys

Parting thoughts

Think about it, did you need a whitepaper or a sales representative to help you understand how to use Netflix?

Do you need an account manager or customer support representative to convince you to stay on Netflix?

No!

Netflix, as a product, is self-serving, intuitive, and handles all of this…within the product itself! 

Disclaimer: This doesn’t mean that every product-led company doesn’t need sales representatives! It simply means that your product has to do the heavy-lifting when it comes to new customers and engaging and retaining acquired and activated customers.

Netcore Smartech promises to bring in more such personalized Product-Led Growth features that will enable you to also become a true product-led company in no time. 

We’ll be back with more tips, tricks, and tactics on product-led and customer-centric growth and how we implement them here at Netcore Smartech…very, very soon!

Arijeet Satapathy

Arijeet Satapathy

Arijeet Satapathy is working as an Associate Product Manager at Netcore Smartech. He is actively involved in building notable features like Journey 2.0, Email 2.0, and Raman on the Smartech platform, which helps in creating a more personalized experience for the marketeer. He loves exploring new ideas, analyzing customer behaviour, he loves to participate in Hackathons and build innovative solutions.

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