Readers: what a week. Is it only Wednesday? 🤣
The one-and-only Lenny (of Lenny’s Newsletter) asked me contribute a guest post on product-led marketing, a topic I’m passionate about. This one expanded upon an earlier edition in Growth Unhinged, which has become the #1 most read newsletter to date. I hope y’all enjoy it 🙏
OpenView announced a new $570 million fund to back expansion stage software founders. We’re all excited to get to work 🎉
I’ll turn 35 on Saturday. The downside is that I can no longer pretend that I’m still in my early 30s 🎂
Don’t worry, I’ve still got a 🔥 newsletter for you.
I’m bringing you a special double feature of The Gist by Growth Unhinged, my attempt to get to the point — highlighting concrete ways to grow faster and do more with less. (The Gist is a break from my regular long-form newsletters where I explore the unexpected behind the fastest-growing software startups.)
👉 Churn is on the rise as CFOs look to cut costs and extend their runway. Here I’ll unpack how to fix your worsening churn problem.
👉 Keep reading to find out how to win Product Hunt every time courtesy of Enzo Avigo, CEO of June.so. Enzo knows what he’s talking about. He’s launched on Product Hunt eight times and June’s latest release won product of the day.
Churn isn’t just a Customer Success (CS) problem. It’s a business problem – and every team has a role to play.
Why you should care
We don’t talk about churn enough, but it might be the reason why you miss your 2023 plan.
PLG companies have it even worse than traditional SaaS companies when it comes to churn. In an emerging PLG business, especially one that initially sells into a single user rather than a team or entire organization, churn can be one of the biggest inhibitors to long-term growth. Low retention rates put tremendous pressure on a company’s ability to keep accelerating new logo acquisition and to squeeze as much as possible out of the customers who stay.
It’s easy to dismiss churn as a Customer Success problem that requires additional bodies. Sure, CS teams are on the front lines of preventing churn. But CS can only do so much and they're busy creating value in a number of other ways: ensuring satisfaction and referrals, collecting customer insights, catalyzing expansion opportunities, and freeing up AEs to focus on new business.
Churn starts with selling to the wrong customer. It gets amplified as reps get too greedy on the initial deal and don’t properly set expectations for customers. It cascades from there by not delivering value quickly, being pigeon-holed in a single use case, and missing out on the signals of poor customer health.
Tell me more
Here are eight things that CAN really move the needle on churn. Focus on nailing two or three of these rather than jumping into all eight at once.
Sell to the right customer. I’ve seen annual retention rates vary from 50% to 90% across different customer types for the same product. Target your sales and marketing to the right ideal customer profile (ICP). This applies to your Product Qualified Account scoring, too.
Don’t get too greedy on the initial deal. Start smaller, give the customer time to get to know the product, and you’ll be setting the stage for growth opportunities in the future.
Move from monthly to annual (or multi-year) plans. Monthly plans are fantastic for landing individual users or small teams via self-serve. But the majority of revenue, even at PLG companies, tends to come from larger deals supported by a sales rep. At a certain pricing threshold – say $1,000+ per month – require customers to commit to an annual subscription, even if you still let them pay month-to-month. This is controversial — but you’re usually better off because you have more time to impress the customer & the customer will be more motivated to implement the product.
Market to existing customers. Customers need to know about new features, learn best practices, and feel connected to a bigger community. They also need to grok why it’s worth spending money on the product so they can defend the business value to leadership.
Nail customer onboarding. Seeing value fast is critical for a customer staying engaged. (Here are some tips on how to do effective product-led onboarding.)
Integrations, integrations, integrations. The more your product is embedded in a customer's workflow and systems of record, the harder you'll be to rip out. There are three aspects to this: connected data, easier user adoption and use case expansion.
Broaden the use cases for your product. The more problems you solve for your customer, the more champions you'll have.
Measure product health indicators. Do you know what features are predictive of retention? Pro-tip: contacting support tends to not be predictive of churn. In fact, the opposite is often true – the customer is committed to using the product and wants assistance to do that.
How to win Product Hunt 👏 every 👏 time
June.so keeps winning Product Hunt. I reached out to CEO Enzo Avigo to find out how.
Recently we launched June 3.0 on Product Hunt. It was #4 for most of the day. But ended up #1. Here’s how we did it.
Product Hunt is a great place to find early adopters for your product. As your company grows you typically want to move away from the platform. A lot of hobbyists aren’t necessarily good customers, especially in B2B.
Yet, a lot of companies keep launching on Product Hunt, including years after they started. This is the case for Intercom, for instance, which launched 58 times. Fifty. Eight. Times!
There are two main reasons for that:
Product Hunt brings awareness. Thousands of people visit it daily. These people are likely to remember your product, or even better share it. This includes product influencers, journalists, investors, etc.
Innovation is bottom-up. Meaning innovation often starts with early adopters. Product Hunt is where early adopters are. To avoid being disrupted you want to seduce the “hunters”, or at least hear what they have to say about your product.
Over the last year, we’ve launched 8 times at June. And I have launched myself dozens of times on the platform. These launches certainly aren’t easy.
Becoming product of the day on Product Hunt is tough.
Algorithm is obscure.
Launch days are exhausting.
Even though competition on Product Hunt is at its peak, here are two tactics I learned to always win. Knowing these rules will change drastically how you launch.
1. Get featured
The first rule to win is to get featured on the homepage in the morning. Every morning the Product Hunt staff checks the new products launched. You can't race for the podium if you don't get picked up. A product that doesn't get featured won't show on the search either.
💡 Tips to get featured 💡
Launch a product: Make sure your service feels like a product. If it's an update, make it sound important.
If launching a feature, use subdomains (feature.domain.com) instead of subdirectory (domain.com/new-feature)
Avoid "collection" and "guides", Product Hunt does not feature them anymore.
Space out time between launches, at least 3 months. Product Hunt staff hates people farming traffic from their platform.
2. Get the best average # of upvotes per hour
This is the new golden rule on Product Hunt. A few years ago the number of upvotes and comments was the key to success. Also, the quality of the people who upvote.
These are still important but secondary. To become product of the day now you need the best average of upvotes per hour, across the day.
💡 Tips to increase # of upvotes per hour 💡
Roll out your communication based on people’ time zones. This way you'll make sure people are awake and responsive. And you’ll collect upvotes throughout the entire day.
We found that doing 3 batches is the most efficient use of time (this means sending 3 targeted newsletters, doing 3 tweets, etc.):
9am CET for Europe
3pm CET for USA
9pm CET for Asia
My advice: personalize your emails, but be straight to the point. It’s fine to have an ask.
After a Product Hunt Launch you should see a direct peak of traffic on your website. And hopefully see qualified sign ups, too.
These are the metrics we used to measure success the day later:
Then, there are the rippling effects. As your product awareness went up, you should see a slight step increase in your average weekly traffic. Other results - such as increase in notoriety - are hard to measure.
At June our philosophy has always been to ship often. And release product improvements every week. Then once in a while, we pause, and repackage things. We update the positioning, and streamline the experience to our updated product values. This usually takes us a couple of weeks on the product side max.
Once this is done I don’t think that a Product Hunt launch should take more than a week of work on the marketing side.
Something I’ve wanted to experience for a while is creating an outstanding launch video to put on the first asset of our PH launch. Tl;dv really nailed that and I believe was one of the main reasons for their launch to buzz.
Hope this helps <3
What else you should know
There are so 👏 many 👏 great PLG newsletters! Please join me in welcoming PLG Geek Ben Williams, Growth OG Elena Verna, and Yaakov Carno to the newsletter world. Time to click subscribe.
March Madness is in full swing. Look, I’m not a basketball fan, but I do love a good competition. Enter #PLGMadness. We’re looking to feature the next standout PLG companies. Nominate your favorite PLG products here (yes, it can include your own product).
You might’ve seen AI announcements from the likes of Slack, Notion, Miro, HubSpot, and Grammarly. But how should generative AI be priced?!? I explored what we’re seeing from the early adopters.
OpenView’s Product Benchmarks reports have been a hub for objective data on product funnel & PLG metrics like free-to-paid conversion rates. Please consider participating in our 2023 benchmarking survey. Bonus: you’ll get first access to the report when it drops in June.
thanks for the product hunt play-by-play!