How to Drive Product Adoption


Published August 24, 2022

A key success metric for any software company is product adoption. The more clients use your products, and the more value they get out of them, the more likely they are to renew their subscriptions and purchase upgrades. Product adoption is fundamental not just to client acquisition, but to client retention.

The product adoption process can be a challenge, especially for software companies with complex products that require specific training. It’s important to make the training as seamless as possible and to provide easy access to the resources clients need.

Client Service managers can help drive product adoption by checking that the client  is using the product effectively, providing them with training, and supporting them when they get stuck. You can also help clients provide feedback on how to improve the product.

The best way to increase product adoption varies depending on the product, the target market, and the competition. However, there are some common tactics you can apply to increase product adoption:

Make it easy to use

If your product is difficult to use, potential clients are less likely to adopt it. A survey by Map My Growth found that ease of use affects product adoption decisions for over 50% of B2B SaaS, and that over 60% of buyers will not choose software that’s difficult to use, even if it has all the features and a good price point.

Make sure your product is easy to understand and use, and that it comes with clear instructions. This is harder work than many people realise, but the resources to do it are out there. UX staff, front-end designers, and specialists in plain writing can all help to make your product user-friendly. If your resources are more limited, then the internet is full of guidance to get you started on applying these techniques.

Offer a free trial

Letting potential clients try your product before they buy is a great way to increase product adoption rates. According to Invesp, over 65% of SaaS companies use this strategy, and User Pilot gives an average 25% conversion rate for opt-in free trials. That means that a quarter of free trials should end in sales, and the majority of companies think this is a strategy worth pursuing.

Free trials let clients experience your product and see if it meets their needs before they make a commitment. It’s important to set suitable limits on the trial, which can be limited by time, features, or usage. Time limits are best set short, unless your product can tie clients in through free use, in which case a longer trial might make them more committed.

Provide incentives

Offering incentives, such as discounts or freebies, can entice clients to try your product. Clients are more likely to adopt a product if they feel they are getting a good deal.

Freebies that are relevant to the product you’re providing, and so to the client’s needs, are more likely to help. For example, if you’re selling virtual assistant software, then a free tool to help manage action items might make the product more appealing.

Create a sense of urgency

Fear of missing out is one of the most powerful psychological drivers, and a good way to overcome product adoption challenges. Clients are more likely to act if there’s time pressure and something to lose.

This ties into some of the other strategies we’ve discussed. For example, you might time limit a discount or offer a special bonus for early adopters. It’s one reason to keep a free trial short: so that the potential client has to make a decision soon.

You can also create a sense of urgency by pointing out the advantages that other companies have, or that the client is missing out on. If you can provide data on the benefits of your product, and how this builds up month after month, then you can push the client to buy in now.

Make it easy to find

If potential clients can't find your product, then they can't adopt it. You need to make sure your product is easy to find.

That means tactics like:

  • optimising your website for search engines
  • talking about the product on social media
  • signing up on contact sites for journalists interested in your industry.

Because this opens up so many options, it’s easy for your efforts to become scattered and ineffective. Work out which approaches suit your business, your audience, and your product adoption strategy, and focus on these.

Get involved in the community

Engaging with potential clients in the places they congregate increases product awareness and adoption. For example, you might participate in relevant forums or start a blog about your product.

Try to make these conversations helpful for your target clients. Valuable information and advice will draw them in more than talking incessantly about your product. Two-way communication, in which you show that you’re listening, is valuable, as long as it’s done in the right way. Keep your brand voice consistent and don’t get drawn into long conversations that won’t make a sale.

Pull it all together

Increasing product adoption is one of the biggest challenges for modern businesses. As you’ll have realised from the points above, the biggest successes come from connecting parts together. Use online communities to draw attention to your products and incentives. Build urgency into your free trials. Connect those trials into your communities, so that test users can get advice and validation from other users.

With the right framework, product adoption can lead you to consistent client success.