I recently tweeted one of the best growth/product strategies I know:
Basically every product should have a “cool ways our customers are using our product” blog. Customer development (product) + best customers feel special (retention) + those customers share to their audience (growth) + best practices shared to new/all customers (onboarding)
— Tyler Tringas (@tylertringas) December 21, 2018
It’s basically free and can improve almost every aspect of your business if done well. The first three parts are basically good content marketing: interview your customers and learn, post content that highlights them and makes them feel good, and make it easy/beneficial for them to share it their audience. The last piece is what really closes the loop by pulling the best practices from your star current customers into a reusable template (or at minimum a short how-to guide) that your new customers can use to get started.
In the replies, there were several examples of companies doing this really well like:
Ben Orenstein also pointed out that Case Study Buddy is a productized service that offers something quite similar to what I had in mind.
But there’s another level to take this dynamic: create branded templates and use cases from your star customers.
It’s a bit oblique, but this is inspired by what Calm, the meditation app, does by bringing on guest stars to augment their core product: like having Stephen Fry or Matthew McConaughey read stories to help you drift off to sleep.
Airtable does a great job of saying “hey our users are using our product to make a CRM, let’s make a CRM template they can use” but what if they worked with a well-known VC super-connector to design the Jason Calcanis CRM template based on how he manages inbound contacts. Instead of “Content Calendar” they worked with Recode to produce a “how Recode does content scheduling template.” Email marketing software could have built-in templates in collaboration with top brands or well-known educators who build courses and systems. If your product can be themed, work with a few top designers to add extra credibility to your base themes (pay the designers or give them affiliate commission). This doesn’t work for every product, but I think it would be a winner for quite a lot of them.
PS – it’s a new year and like everybody, my pseudo-resolution is to write more. So be prepared for more half-baked ideas like this getting out of my head and into your feed.