How can we trigger somebody to take action? How can we get people engaged with our product?
For both, a new user and an existing user, we want them to get started doing something within our product.
Taking action is hard, and starting new products is generally tricky because, in general, through psychology, new behaviors are really hard.
Whenever we want to start a new habit, we tend to go at it the exact wrong way. So this is where you see New Year's resolutions like, "I'm gonna exercise a lot more." So they start going six days a week, and they feel great for a month, and then a month later they nose dive and stop going at all.
B.J. Fogg, who is a researcher at Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab, he does a lot with human behavior and technology and habits, and what he advises is what he calls 'Tiny habits.'
The idea is to start small and build your way up. For example with exercises, if your goal is to run five miles every day, you don't start by running five miles, you begin by literally just leaving the door and walking your driveway and going back. Then you do that for a week, and then you start going further.
The key here is to pick the smallest possible thing that gets you started, and start building that habit of actually doing it. Another example is flossing your teeth. Many people have a hard time building a habit of flossing. So instead of committing to flossing your teeth, floss just one tooth and then you're done.
We need to think about what's the simplest thing that we can start small and start building a habit out of it.
What's a key action that we want our users to do?
Once you define that key action, then you can have them build more from there.
What we should do is to clearly define what our action and engagement are?
For example, when Twitter was growing, they tested a lot what got people engaged in the app, and they found that there were two huge predictors of somebody coming back to the app:
Following 5 to 10 people.
Logging in seven times during a month.
So if they did those two things, then they were exponentially more likely to use the product in the future.
So knowing that they started making these suggested followers. When you pick a few interests, the system shows you a message: "Here are people you might like, we'll automatically follow them for you." So now they're already following those people, and they're starting to get value out of the product.
So the point Twitter made was very specific. It's to follow 5 to 10 people; it's log in 7 times, and letting you know it's not a nebulous action. It's obvious and straightforward.
So think about a specific action you want somebody to take on your website or in a product. How can you make it really easy, clear, and not hard to find?
What's your product's key action?
What's the necessary action for a user to take? Is the current process making it easy for them to do that?
Map out the steps a user currently takes to complete the key action.
How can we simplify the process?
Can we make it easier to find?
Can we make it more clear?
Can we make it easier to complete?
Power of Habit – Charles Duhigg
Hooked – Nir Eyal
P.S. If you have an interesting example of a habit-forming product you’ve used before or using right now, I would love to hear about it.
Share your experience in the comments below👇🏻.
Till next time.