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🧠 How to build a 'sticky' SaaS product

Learn how top SaaS build products that customers can't live without

Happy Thursday! 🎉

If you didn’t catch it - my article on SaaS growth was featured in the Indie Hackers newsletter this week.

Welcome to all the new subscribers from that awesome community!

This week in IdeaHub…

  • Doing things that don’t scale

  • How to grow your SaaS with 'sticky' features

  • The engagement metrics Stripe wants you to measure

Let’s jump in… 👇

The Best Links 🔗

Doing Things That Don’t Scale - A HackerNews thread with awesome examples of founders grinding to get their businesses off the ground.

How To Find Customers On Quora - How answering questions on Quora helped this founder grow his SaaS to $23K MRR.

B2B SaaS Pricing Guide - The 5 steps to an optimal pricing strategy, how to handle price increases and much more.

The Breakdown

How To Build A ‘Sticky’ SaaS Product

Building a ‘sticky’ product means building something your users can’t live without. To know if your SaaS is sticky enough, ask yourself this question:

“What would happen if a user stopped using your product tomorrow?”

If the answer isn’t “All hell would break loose!”, then you have work to do…

1) How to measure ‘stickiness’

While answering that question is a useful exercise, there is a more definitive way you can measure stickiness.

Put simply, the higher the ‘stickiness ratio’, the more reliant your users are on your product:

Stickiness equation

For example, a stickiness ratio of 15% (average for SaaS) means for every 100 users that are active each month, 15 of those are active on a daily basis.

The key is defining what ‘active’ means for your product. Every product is different, but you shouldn’t rely on sign-ins alone.

Try to think of what users need to do to achieve value with your product.

  • Do they need to view a specific page?

  • Or click a certain button?

Once you know this, simply track the frequency of these interactions over time with a tool like MixPanel or PostHog and calculate stickiness.

Any interaction can be meaningful and could be a good way of labelling a user as ‘active’.

Bonus: Users who are the least active could be about to churn! Read this guide for 10 ways to re-engage them.

2) How to be more sticky

The best way to be sticky is to allow customers to generate their own unique value from your product. Let me explain…

In the B2C world, think of features like:

  • Spotify playlists

  • Netflix recommendations

Streaming is in a particularly ‘sticky situation’ (😉) right now, but these features help keep customers around by personalising our experiences.

And that personalisation ties extra value to the product that gets better the more we use it.

It’s even more so in B2B SaaS. Think of features like:

  • Custom reports

  • Automated workflows

  • Collaboration tools

These allow businesses to build their processes around a SaaS and make it very difficult to comprehend shifting to something new.

Again, the more a customer learns their unique way of using these features, the more difficult they are to give up.

And if you’re a solo founder or small team, there’s likely a tool that can take away most of the legwork of adding something like this to your SaaS.

Here’s a few examples:

  • Recombee - Plug-and-play AI recommendations

  • Cord - A suite of live collaboration tools in a few lines of code.

But it’s not all about the product. There is one way even solo founders and small teams can be more sticky than the goliaths…

3) Provide killer customer service

In today’s world customer service is a big differentiator. And most big SaaS suck at it.

When your customers contemplate switching to a bigger platform, make them think twice about leaving behind that personal relationship you’ve fought hard for.

Big SaaS will rarely do these 3 things, so you definitely should:

  • Resolve support tickets in < 1 hour

  • Know every customer by first name

  • Personally reach out and ask how things are going


You’ll want to see this…👇

Top SaaS Engagement Metrics - The metrics Stripe thinks you should be tracking to measure engagement (and stickiness).

See you next week!

- Charlie

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