Now that you’ve got users, it’s time to consider how to keep them there. First time users may find your product novel, but the challenge is to help them integrate it into their daily routine.

With developers working for agencies, for example, it may simply boil down to a lack of necessity. The Chilly API may be the most beautiful 100 lines of code you’ve ever laid your eyes on. If you’re not planning to build an Antarctica-centric app, though, you’re probably not going to use it. Not yet, anyway.

What is Retention?

Retention, at its most basic, is the stage where people continue using your product after the ‘first try’. An ideal customer would, after Activating, head straight to Revenue and paying you: needless to say, this isn’t an ideal world.

Retention is different from a metric like activation in that it tells you whether users are sticking to your product, rather than using it once out of novelty. In this post, we’ll consider the specific methods you can take to ensure users come back to your product.

Tracking Retention

Retention can be tracked through a wide variety of metrics, depending on the platform you’re using. With the Chilly API for example, our retention ‘trigger’ may lie in daily statistics of a particular account, telling us whether that user has continued making use of it.

Other options for Retention tracking can include, for example, playing a game or logging into an account regularly. The goal of retention in this stage is to focus on getting users to return to your product consistently and keep them engaged with your product.

Improving Retention

As part of a wider content strategy framework, several actions will be more effective than others when it comes to improving retention:

Email Campaigns

Against all odds and defying hatred, email remains one of the most effective marketing channels available. Email subscriptions are a great way of tracking retention – it indicates some degree of interest in your product and allows you to easily get in touch.

The goal of emailing is to get your users to do something with your product – appropriately, even email campaigns should provide a way for users to return (and remind them of your product’s value if necessary).

Several key principles remain when trying to use email for marketing:

  • Deliver value. Treat your emails like a product in itself. Visitors didn’t subscribe for spam or half-hearted calls (begging) to use your product.

  • Target specific segments. The more targeted your emails are, the more your audience will appreciate it and your effort – simple as that. Targeting shows that you’ve taken the time to curate your emails to deliver relevant information.

  • A/B Test. Marketing involves figuring out what converts better than others, and the only way you’ll find out what works aside from blind guesswork is A/B testing.

At a starting stage, these services are often free, driving costs down even further.

App Notifications: A Case Study

We’re going to have a look at Asana, a workflow and project management tool that aims to render email obsolete…but provides email alerts.

Asana Example Pusher Web Marketing for Developers

While it may seem odd that Asana provides email updates, it’s a smart way of retaining users. The updates are valuable in their own way too – they inform you of a variety of important details such as due (or overdue) dates and messages from colleagues.

The updates certainly aren’t necessary – but they keep users going back to Asana. This increases the odds that they’ll integrate into the Asana ecosystem as they use it more and more.

Tools for providing in-app notifications include Customer.io and Intercom.io; both have basic free plans to get you started, and will be more than sufficient for early needs.

Next Up

In this part of Web Marketing we’ve gone over the Retention stage of the AARRR funnel, the associated metric and one simple method to retain users.

As users gain more exposure to your product and become more familiar with it, they’ll be ready to move into the next stages of the funnel: Referral and Revenue.


If you’re only just joining us, you can find the first post in this series over here: otherwise, give us a tweet if you enjoyed this post, and stay tuned for the next!

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