Habit Forming Product Development
- An Introductory Guide
But how do companies build habit-forming products?
Before we answer that question, let’s quickly describe what a habit-forming product is and what they do.
The hook Model was originally pioneered by Nir Eyal, a consumer psychology expert & author of the book.
But how do successful companies develop such user journeys that result in a habit-forming product, winning tens of thousands of loyal users or customers?
To better understand this, let’s assume the following scenario.
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If you want to develop a successful product, be it digital or physical, you cannot do so by basing it on infrequent habits.
This is because if your product is not going to be used by its users frequently, it’ll never create a habit in your target users. So if you want your product to become successful, it needs to become a part of your users’ everyday lives.
According to Nir Eyal, if your product isn’t used at least once a week, it will be extremely difficult to create habits in your target users.
To do this, you need to make the action part easier to do over time, or you should have clear triggers that encourage users to take action.
One of the problems why companies fail at developing successful habit-forming products is that they get fixated on getting users to buy products and neglect to focus on strategies to get users to return to engage with them To spark constant engagement among your product’s users, you need to leverage content to get users to come back.
Williams-Sonama, a popular high-end cookware company, struggled to get repeat customers. The company couldn’t figure out how to create a habit of buying high-end cookware among its customers.
To overcome this problem, the company decided to attach a habit to its product by developing a cooking blog on its website.
On the blog, they regularly publish cooking recipes, cookware recommendations, and other cooking-related articles multiple times per day.
On top of this, they actively promote their blog to their existing and potential customers via email and social media. And when their customers come across their blog content (Cue), it sparks a curiosity in their minds (Trigger), which leads to more engagement (reward), and ultimately making more product sales.
Another way to create habits in your customers is by building a loyal community that satisfies their psychological needs to connect with other people.
Humans are hardwired to attract to whatever makes them feel like they’re important and a part of something exclusive.
Hallmark, for example, was struggling to increase their sales because their customers only buy holiday ornaments once or twice a year.
To solve this problem, Hallmark started a community named Keepsake Ornament Club through which they began to post message boards, send email newsletters, and even host product launches & meetup events to build a community.
This, in turn, led their target audience to becoming curious about the club, enticing them to become a member so that they can attend future meetups and product launch events.
Thanks to this, Keepsake Ornament Club has today become Hallmark’s highest source of revenue, all because it successfully formed a loyal community of customers by making them a part of an exclusive club.
Similarly, if you want to build habit-forming products, you can consider building a community for your target users that makes them feel like they’re a part of something important.
Engagement, growth, and monetization play a vital role in developing successful habit-forming products.
This is because when you focus on just one of these three areas, the likelihood of your product becoming successful is close to none.
But when you focus on all three areas of your product, the chances of success are extremely high.
For example, when you just focus on cranking out products but neglect to work on keeping customers engaged and monetizing your product, you won’t succeed.
Likewise, if you can grow your product and even keep users engaged but fail to monetize it, you’re not going to succeed either.
For any product to become and remain successful for a long period of time, it needs to keep a balance in all three areas.
Feedback from users is critical for building successful habit-forming products. This is because user feedback provides valuable insights into what users like and dislike about your product.
Additionally, it also tells you how your users perceive and interact with your product. These insights can help to reiterate your product into something that aligns with your users’ values.
For example, you can easily spot any pain points, bugs, or frustrations your users face when using your product. Based on this information, you can then update your product’s features, design, and user experience. This, in turn, can help to keep your product relevant to its users, increase engagement, and drive innovation.
So if you want to build a habit-forming product and make it successful, encourage your users to submit feedback and incorporate them into the product development process. It will help to build a product that users love to use on a daily basis, which will result in creating a loyal user base for your product.
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