Tech products have a hard time penetrating the market because there are millions of apps, platforms, and CRMs out there. Because technology is one step ahead compared to any other industry, users might not be ready to commit to your product just yet. And this is where this product adoption guide can help you.
In this article, I am going to shed some light on the adoption process of tech products. We’ll take each stage of the product adoption process and show you the type of content you should create to engage your users or convince them to make a purchase.
To help you navigate through this article easily, you can click on the chapter that contains the info you need:
Chapter 1: What is a product adoption process?
The product adoption process is everything that influences people’s behavior from the minute they find out about a new product to the moment they decide to purchase or reject it. It’s a complex process that gives nightmares to most product marketing specialists because every user is different and there are multiple ways in which you can screw up the whole process.
Even before the launch, you need to understand the product adoption process, especially if you have a complicated product with a longer adoption process.
If you don’t market your product properly from the beginning, its chances of survival in an over-crowded market are slim to none. This is why you’ll want to focus on the power of content marketing. But first, let’s see what the main stages in this process are and what they imply.
Chapter 2: The main stages of the product adoption process
Users go through five stages before they decide if the product is the right fit for them or not. At every stage, they behave differently and need to be guided through the process to make a final decision. If you don’t guide your users, you might lose some of them after the first or second stage.
It doesn’t matter how great your product is if no one knows about it. At this stage, a person simply hears about your product, doesn’t know anything about it, and is not ready to make a move. However, using the right awareness campaign will pay off in the future. One important thing to avoid at this stage is pushing the user to make a purchase before they’re ready to commit.
Let’s take a look at an example so you better understand the process. Cathy wants to monitor the screen time and activity of her son when he’s using a smartphone. She never heard about apps that can be installed on kids’ phones, so she just uses the kids mode on the smartphone and lets her son use it for as long as he wants.
While scrolling on Facebook, she sees a paid ad about an app that can help her see, in real-time, what her son is watching on the smartphone. She keeps scrolling on her feed but makes a mental note that such an app exists. Since she was looking for something like this, Cathy will definitely research the product.
A user reaches the second stage of the product adoption process when he gains interest in your product. Sometimes, it takes a while before the user actually starts to become interested in finding out more about your product.
At this stage, the user starts to gather information about the product, functionalities, price, and so on. Keep in mind that the user might not remember the name of the product, but he’ll remember its key features. Which means you’ll need to fight your closest competitors. If the user searches for a specific feature online and finds it in 10 other products before he finds your product, that might not work out in your favor.
To keep the user interested, try to offer as much information as possible and make it accessible. People don’t like to search too much for something as simple as an article.
The third stage of the process is the most complex one for users because this is when they actually decide if they are going to try out the product or completely forget about it. To make a decision, the user will analyze the info they have about the product, both positive and negative.
One of the most important factors your users are going to consider is the cost. The minute they find something cheaper, they will try that product first, especially if it has similar functionalities. Best case scenario, they’ll wait until the price drops.
For example, when the new iPhone was released, some made jokes about it being over-priced and decided to purchase an Android smartphone while others waited for a few months before they could afford the product.
The next thing people will evaluate is the quality. If the price is affordable or in their budget, they will look into the functionalities, the key features, and the value the product can add to their life. At first, you need to focus on one hero feature and leave the rest as a bonus.
Another thing users will take into consideration is accessibility. Let’s say you create an all-in-one platform for business owners, but it’s not easily accessible for people who don’t know much about tech as it has a complex user interface that is hard to operate. For someone who wasn’t really interested in your product, this will convince them not to purchase your product.
Finally, the user is going to make a comparison between the price and the performance. If they think the product deserves its full cost, the user is going to go to the next stage.
At this stage, the user decides to actually try out your product. However, at first, they will wish to test a demo to determine if your product is what they’re looking for.
During the trial period, people will test and enjoy every feature. Make sure to offer them a trial that lets them explore every functionality to decide if the product is the right fit for them.
The final stage of the product adoption process is adoption, or rejection if users didn’t like the product. At this stage, the user doesn’t need any other info besides how to purchase the product.
If the user rejects the product, don’t despair. You can still use remarketing strategies to bring back the leads you lost and promise them a better deal (lower price), a longer free subscription period, or showcase your new functionalities.
Chapter 3: Product adoption curve explained
One common mistake people make is thinking that the product adoption curve and the product adoption process are the same thing. This is false and can affect the way you market your product.
As I explained in the first chapter, the product adoption process refers to the way people buy, their behavior, or the stages they go through before they purchase a new product.
On the other hand, the product adoption curve shows you who your buyers are, not how they buy. When there’s a new product on the market, there are different types of buyers with different behaviors.
Usually, your buyers can be placed into one of the following categories:
- Early adopters
- Early Majority
- Late Majority
This is a very interesting group because its members are way ahead of their time. These people are the ones that fund new products nobody believes in yet. Innovators don’t want to miss out on any opportunity.
They are technology enthusiasts and they want to understand tech products for their own sake, not as part of their job. Also, they want to be the first to try out new products and offer feedback. On the downside, innovators want unrestricted access to the latest functionalities (even if they are not officially launched yet). They also want to purchase products at a no-profit price (or get them for free).
When you launch your product, expect innovators to adopt it straight away. They might even skip some of the product adoption process stages I mentioned earlier. Out of your total sales, approximately 2.5% will come from innovators (this is a benchmark and you can use it to find out whether your early marketing efforts paid off).
2. Early adopters
Early adopters are the second category of people who will purchase your product. Once you get your first early adopters, you will start to see an increase in sales and your conversion rate will slowly become steady.
Like innovators, early adopters want to be ahead of the majority. They want the high-risk, high-reward experience and that is why they are considered visionaries. However, unlike innovators, early adopters are a bit more hesitant to try out the beta version of your product. They will wait for the full version to be tested and then jump on the bandwagon. As a benchmark, 13.5% of your total sales will come from early adopters.
3. Early majority
The early majority is composed of people who like to try out new things only after they have been tested. They are pragmatics who are focused on efficiency, the ones who will go through every stage of the product adoption process but will quickly decide whether or not the product is suited for them.
The early majority group is impressed by testimonials, but they only consider reviews from trusted friends. If you want to satisfy this crowd, focus on results and efficiency instead of the price. Usually, the early majority makes up 34% of your total sales.
4. Late majority
The late majority arrives after the product has been on the market for a while, has been tested, and it has a steady development. These users might arrive after you created the second or third version of your product and they are considered conservatives because they don’t take any risks and prefer to use other products they trust.
Late majority users are the ones who only trust one brand and don’t want to try out new things. These people are the ones who extend the life of your product because they enter the purchase cycle later on. Just like early adopters, they will represent 34% of your total sales.
You thought your product is forgotten? Here come the laggards. They are the ones who purchase products years after they have been produced. For them, it’s not about the risks they take or the recommendations they receive, it’s all about being different. These people are skeptical and they are the ones who laugh at all the marketing hype around a new product.
To turn laggards into customers you will need to start fighting objections. These people like to be on the opposing team and they won’t give up on their beliefs easily. Although it might seem strange, laggards make up 16% of your total sales.
Chapter 4: Why is content marketing essential for product adoption?
Content marketing is essential to every type of business and tech products can surely benefit from it. Content marketing is all about information and that’s exactly what your user wants at every stage of the product adoption process.
The main purpose of content marketing is to attract and retain users, no matter if you are selling services or products. Of course, content marketing doesn’t mean pushing people to buy from the minute they land on your website, it’s about guiding the user from the awareness stage to the adoption stage.
While you might think that marketing efforts will convince every user to purchase your product, there are few other things you should consider. One other reason to include content in your product marketing strategy is to stay in line with your competition. More than 70% of B2C companies use content marketing to reach users and engage with them. Even if you don’t think content marketing is essential, your competition does.
When it comes to the product adoption process, you need to create different types of content for each stage to guide your users to purchase. In the next chapter, I will analyze the types of content that can help users in the awareness stage.
Chapter 5: Awareness: Types of content to attract more users
People who are at this stage have just learned about your product and want to know more. If it’s the first time they’ve seen a product like yours it’s possible that they won’t even understand it. That’s why, at this stage, you need to focus on educating your prospects.
1. Demo videos
This is one of the best types of content you can create for your potential buyers. A short video (1 or 2 minutes) should be enough to explain the core functionalities of your product. It doesn’t have to be complicated or in depth. Keep in mind that video marketing is the new trend in social media.
Demo videos are perfect when users don’t understand your product. It’s easier for people to comprehend and remember a video than it is to read and understand a long article. In a demo video, you don’t have to get into the technical stuff because you will bore the users who just found out about your product.
If you want users to watch the whole video, you will need to remove all of the fluff and focus on one action. For instance, if you have a fintech app where people can transfer money in a few seconds, record the screen of your device while transferring money from a card to another. It’s important you don’t try to show your users the whole product, just the main feature to get their attention.
If you want to make sure that your prospect keeps watching the demo video after the first 6 seconds, take Spotify’s demo video as an example. It’s short, catchy, fun, yet simple.
If you want a more comprehensive approach, take a look at Med Mart’s demo video. In just 1 minute and 34 seconds, they manage to explain the core functionalities of their app and make users understand how it can help them.
The most known form of content is the article, aka the blog post. A few years ago articles were only found in newspapers and magazines. Now, there are over 500 million blogs on the web. Every day, more than 2 million blog articles are written.
Since there is so much content being written even as we speak, how can you stand out? The answer is unique and high-quality content! Instead of writing 100 short, boring, and useless articles, you might want to consider writing articles your audience is interested in. Of course, you can promote your product too, but you need to write useful info that actually helps your users.
If you want your articles to draw users’ attention, focus on them, not on your product. If you have an app that connects people with psychologists, you can write blog posts about mental health, meditation, trust issues, etc. People want to see that you care about them even before they become users.
Take a look at Drift’s articles if you want to understand how to help your customer without shoving your product down their throat.
Another interesting approach is the one Hubspot takes. They always provide different templates and resources at the end of their articles to attract even more leads.
3. Product guide
Want users to receive more info? A product guide is the best way to showcase each and every functionality of your product. With a long format, comprehensive information, and catchy visuals, a product guide is helpful at every stage of the product adoption process. However, for those who are in the awareness stage, learning more about the product is their main concern.
A product guide should be seen just as an instruction manual you receive when you purchase a TV. However, since we’re not talking about physical products, you’ll need to teach your prospects how to use the product from the moment they open the browser (or smartphone) until the moment they finished the whole process.
For instance, let’s say that you have a CRM designed for the IT industry. Take into account that people in IT know how a CRM works so you won’t need to overdo it with the explanations, but you can take every part of your CRM and show them why it’s important and how it works.
One of the best email marketing tools, Mailchimp, created a comprehensive product guide where you can learn how to use their tool from A to Z.
Another great example to check out before you create your own is Skype’s guide. It’s mostly structured as an FAQ section to make it easier for the user to understand the solutions, but it comes with more detailed explanations that a simple questions section is not able to provide.
Chapter 6: Interest: Types of content to engage with users
At this stage, people want to learn more about your product, what it does, how it works, and also what type of effort they need to make to get your product. It’s the moment when you push more relevant information and data towards your prospects.
Colorful visuals increase readers’ willingness to read a piece of written content by 80%. This is why infographics are one of the best combinations between visuals and written content. Unlike articles, users don’t feel flooded by the information when they read an infographic. Also, the colors, vectors, and icons catch users’ attention.
Infographics are a great way to share somewhat tedious statistical information with a twist. Instead of boring people with numbers, which really count, don’t get me wrong, you might as well make it worth reading.
Infographics also increase traffic on your website because people are 75% more likely to share an infographic than an article.
An interactive and comprehensive infographic is the one created by NewsCred. To create a structured piece of content you’ll need to decide which type of infographic is the best for your data. Photo-graphic, comparison, hierarchical, and single chart are just a few of the types of infographics you can use.
2. FAQ section
The FAQ section is an underestimated type of content every product should have on their website. Usually, users don’t want to read all the info at once or they just want to know if your product solves a particular problem. If they have a question, they will first search for the answer on your website; if there’s no FAQ section, they will search on Google and they might end up on your competitor’s website.
So, to not end up losing your prospects right from the beginning of the product adoption process, add an FAQ section. It’s simple to create and you don’t need to be a copywriter or a graphic designer to create this type of content.
First of all, think about your buyer persona (I hope you already have at least 3 buyer personas for your product) and put yourself in their shoes. What’s their main problem? What are the challenges they might stumble upon while using your product? Is your product safe? Does it have any complicated processes?
Try to figure out 10 – 12 questions your buyer persona might have in mind when doing research about your product. Think of the FAQ section as a place where you reduce all their concerns. McDonald’s has a great FAQ section where you can find pretty much anything about their products.
Another fun and catchy FAQ section is Dropbox‘s. They placed the questions into specific categories to make sure that people find what they were looking for.
3. Case studies
A case study is a very persuasive kind of content. It shows users how your product helped a customer or a business. A case study is more about the user than the product. However, keep in mind that a case study can only be created with the consent of your customer if you want to use their brand, name, and logo.
To make it more clear I’ll give you an example. Let’s say that you have a platform that helps businesses with their SEO strategy. They can create backlinks, reach out to websites, and learn how to increase their Domain Authority.
After three months, their Domain Authority has increased, they have 50 backlinks, and their business has visibility on Google. You can ask the customer to give you their data, before and after using your product. After that, you will need to analyze that data and create a catchy template.
As you probably know, people are attracted to numbers. That is why case studies are successful. Once you analyze all the data and highlight the improvements, you’ll just need to put everything in the template.
If you want to gain even more leads, you can make it downloadable as Infegy did. They let you download their case study for free, but you’ll need to leave your email and other personal information.
Another option is to put the case study on your website, just like Adroll did. On their website, you can find various case studies to use as inspiration.
Chapter 7: Evaluation: Types of content to convince users
In the product adoption process, when people reach the evaluation stage, they want to compare your product and find more about all functionalities, not just the core ones. They are trying to balance the advantages and disadvantages your product has. Help them do that with the following types of content.
1. Expert guides
At the evaluation stage, people are really considering purchasing your product. They are no longer just interested, they are actually making pros and cons lists in their head. This is the moment when you give them even more quality content to convince them that your product is the real deal.
An expert guide doesn’t have to be about your product, it can be about the industry, about a specific problem people experience, or about the struggles people have when using the wrong product.
To create an expert guide, you will need to collect info from various sourcesand put it all in one guide to make it easier for users to access the info. One option is to put the info on your website as AdEspresso did. Or you can create a downloadable material like our piece on App Store Optimization.
Remember that this expert guide needs to give users relevant information, it has to be a solution to their problems, not a simple informative piece of content they read and forget.
2. Comparative analysis
Another great type of content you can create for people in the evaluation stage is a comparative analysis. If your prospects reach this stage, it means they did a little research on your competitors too.
Since the user found a lot of info on multiple products, it might be hard to decide which one is the best. This is when you come in and create a comparative analysis between you and your main competitors. Of course, you don’t have to name the other products. Also, try to be as objective as possible.
You will need to showcase the best functionalities for both products and state the disadvantages your competitors have. While you might think that your product is perfect, try asking for feedback from your users. They will tell you the good, the bad, and the ugly. This is also a great way to find out what you need to improve for the next update or version.
One great way to showcase your analysis is through an infographic like this one named Amazon vs Netflix. The comparative analysis can also be displayed as a simple article with great visuals to attract the users’ attention.
3. Product reviews
User-generated content is great for traffic and impressions. People love to read reviews before they purchase a product. Not every piece of content should be created by you, so let your users have the freedom to express their opinion.
If you only have a few users or you don’t have any reviews, try some of our tips and tricks to gain more reviews. Once you’ve gathered a few relevant reviews showcase them on your website, the app store, and on your product’s social media accounts.
You can even make a marketing campaign where you highlight the best 5-star reviews your product received. Don’t delete bad reviews! People want to read both the good and the bad things about your product. This makes the review seem genuine to new users.
Chapter 8: Trial: Types of content to keep users interested
At this stage, people want to try the product. This doesn’t mean you just wait for them to test the trial version, you need to engage with them. The following pieces of content will help you keep your users interested.
People like reviews, but they love testimonials. In a short review, most people just state an advantage and a disadvantage your product has and that’s that. However, in a long, well-written testimonial, users can share more details about how your product helped them solve their problems.
As mentioned above, don’t create the whole content by yourself, get your users involved as well. People love to state their opinion and you will surely find a few users who want to write a testimonial for your website.
The best way to showcase testimonials is through a dedicated landing page. For instance, let’s say that you have a lot of traffic on your website, some people even got a free trial, but they’re not yet convinced. Creating a dedicated landing page where you offer a discount and place multiple testimonials is the best strategy to attract users after or during their trial stage.
If you want some inspiration in this department, check out 99designs’s testimonial page. Ask users to create a video where they state how your product helped them. Remember that videos have a bigger impact on users. Check out BioClarity’s proven results page to see how to leverage great video testimonials.
Another great way to engage your users and keep them interested is to send out weekly newsletters. After they signed up for a free trial, you can reach out to them after the first few days to see how everything is going, if they want an extended trial period, or if they experienced any problems.
In these weekly newsletters, you can also send tips and tricks on how to use your product or advise your users on how to solve their problem by using your product. Create a template and use it for every newsletter so you don’t waste too much time. The info sent in the newsletter should be short and catchy! Also, send them back to the website with a link to your latest articles on the same topic as the newsletter.
Check out these newsletter examples to see exactly how to present the info in an eye-catching design.
3. How to use tutorials
The best way to show your users that you care about them is to include a how-to when they sign up for your free trial. Create a video or a PDF where you explain your product’s main functionalities. If you create a video, show your users what they can do with your product, step by step.
Start with the main feature, then continue with each one of the other functionalities. The process is similar to that of the written tutorial; you will simply showcase it differently. The tutorial should be a longer video, not just a simple demo video.
Piktochart has an entire page dedicated to how-tos. If you have a complicated product where people can do multiple actions, I recommend you create a similar page on your website where you add a how-to for every action.
Chapter 9: Adoption/Rejection: Types of content to retain adopters and re-engage with lost users
Finally, this is the stage you have been waiting for through the whole product adoption process. Keep in mind that not all prospects turn into users/clients. That’s why I prepared two sections. One is for those who adopt your product, and the other for those who don’t.
As mentioned above, people really love to share their thoughts once they test out a new product. If users reach the adoption stage, it doesn’t mean you have to forget about them. If you do, your retention rate will decrease in a heartbeat.
Asking users to respond to surveys might seem unnecessary, but it’s beneficial to both of you. They can point out a problem your product has or praise your product for its amazing features. Now comes the best part: you can use all surveys as feedback and implement the things people want and need.
When you ask people for surveys they feel appreciated and you receive feedback and tips on how to improve your product. You can use a customer satisfaction tool like Client Heartbeat to create your own survey.
2. Social media content
Social media content is very important because you can bring traffic back to your website. Leverage every piece of content you created (articles, guides, videos, etc.) and post them on social media accounts. Content repurposing is a well-known strategy for those who want to share content differently.
Using repurposed content on your social media will increase engagement. Look at every social media account as a channel where you can get closer to your users, engage with them, and find out what they think about your product.
If prospects rejected your product after the trial stage it doesn’t mean that they are gone for good. It might not even be about the quality of the product; it just means that they were not ready to purchase. One of the main reasons people don’t adopt a product is conservatism.
Simply put, people are used to what they know and fear change. Just think about banking apps and how there are still people out there who, years after these apps were developed, still withdraw money from ATMs and are against banking apps.
Another reason could be people might not afford the product right away or they might be waiting for a discount. This is the moment why you should continue to persuade them with high-quality content.
1. Free ebooks
Ebooks or guides are great forms of content to educate your prospects. Since you probably have their email addresses from when they tried out your product, send them free ebooks directly via email. If you want to grow your subscriber list you can offer freebies in exchange for email addresses.
It might seem spammy, but this is how people remember your product. Be present in your users’ inbox to make sure that, when they have the money and the intention, they will come straight to you.
Just like expert guides, ebooks are a type of long-form content that is downloadable. If you need some inspiration, check out Google’s trust whitepaper ebook. Another example of a great ebook is the one from LinkedIn. Unlike expert guides, ebooks come with more visuals, graphics, and numbers to attract users.
2. Educational videos
Another type of content that can you can use to gain back the users you lost during the product adoption process is the educational video. You already know that videos are BIG in 2019 so you might want to focus a bit on this type of content. An educational video should help undecided users take the leap and purchase your product.
In an educational video, you can show the impact of your product. State how it can help users, but don’t show them how to use it. Just focus on your product’s benefits and its potential. Also, give people more info about the industry. Knowledge is power, so share it with your users.
Hootsuite’s How To Run Your First Facebook Live is a great educational video. Short, catchy, and informative, Hootsuite’s video manages to help users without being too selly. If you need more inspiration, you can also look at this educational video created by Moz. It’s long, comprehensive, yet really catchy.
Conclusion – 5 things to remember
This article has been a long journey, just like the product adoption process. If you made it till the end, give yourself a pat on the back. If not, here are the key things you should remember:
- The product adoption process and the product adoption curve are not the same thing. They are different and they need to be treated as such.
- The product adoption process is different for every user. Some people adopt your product right away, while others might need to wait a few months.
- Content is essential for the product adoption process and can help you guide people from the first stage to the last.
- Your efforts shouldn’t stop when users adopt the product. That is just the beginning. If you want to keep your users, engage with them on social media and on weekly newsletters.
- Users who at first rejected your product are not entirely lost. Try to re-engage with them to guide them back to your product.