How to Identify Your Product's Aha Moment

Every product lives and dies by their aha moment.

The aha moment is when the user realizes the value in a product. It’s a glorious moment, for sure. However, users will have a difficult time reaching this eureka moment without some help.

Of course, you know your product’s value. You know it so well that you can probably recite it off the top of your head.

But, can you recognize your product’s value from the user’s perspective?

Identifying your product’s aha moment isn’t always easy, which is probably why you’re here. Well, don’t worry. I’m going to help you identify the moment your product’s value becomes clear to the user without pulling your hair out!

How the aha moment impacts retention rates

The moment when everything clicks for a user and they understand how they can benefit from your product is critical. These are the users who are more likely to continue using your product. They stick around because your product solves their current pain point.

So, what happens when the aha moment isn’t clear?

Usually, it means that users no longer have a good enough reason to stick around. This is evident with new apps. Every new app has the same problem. Lots of people sign up in the beginning. However, they don’t hang around.

Average Retention Curve for Android Apps
Average Retention Curve for Android Apps

95% of people who sign up for Android apps don’t stay as users after 90 days.

If you’re thinking to yourself…. well, that’s just apps on the App Store, think again. The SaaS space isn’t doing much better. In fact, 40 – 60% of users who sign up for a free trial of your software or SaaS application will use it once and never come back. Ouch!

I’ll admit it’s looking a little grim right now but don’t panic. I’m going to help you beat the average and start optimizing your product so that users keep coming back for more.

What makes people come back?

I want you to think about your product and ask yourself this question:

Why would people come back to your product?

Do you have an answer?

Let me help you out….

The aha moment!

Definition of an aha moment
Definition of an aha moment

The aha moment is what keeps users coming back time and time again. When users know what the aha moment of a product is, they are committed. They understand that your product has meaningful value for them and this, in turn, makes the entire selling process so much easier.

Usually, the aha moment helps users solve a problem and they love you for it. You’ve saved them a lot of time, effort, and perhaps you’ve saved them a lot of money too. Essentially, the aha moment turns users into happy, paying customers.

What does an aha moment feel like?

Three things happen when you (or a user) ‘feels’ an aha moment:

1. You understand exactly how a product can help you

2. You experience the core value of a product

3. You’ve achieved something very quickly that might have taken you hours previously

To give you an idea of what aha moments look like in real life, for real companies, here are a few examples:

What aha moments look like in real life for real companies
What aha moments look like in real life for real companies

Pre-conditions to consider

Before we get into the nitty-gritty details of identifying your aha moment, let’s go through a few pre-conditions first.

Identifying a product’s aha moment
Identifying a product’s aha moment

How to identify your aha moment

Now it’s time to get into the good stuff – identifying your aha moment.

There are three stages you must go through that will help you identify a clear aha moment.

The order of these stages is important, so try not to skip any steps!

How to identify an aha moment
How to identify an aha moment

Step 1: Talk to actual users

To understand the true aha moment of your product, you need to talk to your customers. Start with the badass users. These, according to Kathy Sierra, the author of Badass Making Users Awesome, are users that have the following characteristics:

· They don’t want to be badass at using your product

· They want to be badass

· They want badass results

Badass users are people who become amazing at whatever it is that your product enables them to do. They are pros at it. Hence, they’re ‘badass users.’

Naturally, people like this tend to get incredible results with your product, which is exactly what you need to look for when talking to them. Your mission when speaking to badass users is to identify what a success story looks like for this type of user.

So, you know why you need to speak to your badass users, but how will you get in contact with them?

The easiest way is to send them an email. Something like this:

Email template for arranging to speak with product users
Email template for arranging to speak with product users

Next, ask them some simple questions…

What to ask your badass users
What to ask your badass users

Look at their answers closely. This will help reveal what a successful user experience with your product looks like, bringing you closer to identifying the aha moment.

Now it’s time to talk to churned users.

Ugh, the worst part of the process for sure, and yet, you can learn a lot from your churned customers.

First, you need to understand why people churn. Usually, it’s because there is a value gap in the product. In other words, the user did not receive the value they expected from the product.

Definition of a Value Gap
Definition of a Value Gap

There are many reasons why a value gap exists. For example, the product may have failed to provide adequate value. Or, perhaps the customer is simply not a good fit for the product, which happens more than you might think.

Some other reasons that could explain why there is a value gap could be due to the customer not understanding the product’s capabilities or how to use it. The problem can also be a negative mental or emotive response to the product. The customer may have experienced confusion or dissatisfaction that changed their perception while using the product.

People also churn because of friction. Before you jump to conclusions, remember that friction can actually be a good thing. Most of the time, friction is something that can be controlled or fixed.

Why friction can be a good thing
Why friction can be a good thing

To help identify your product’s aha moment, you must get in touch with your churned users. Send them an email with the goal of finding out what a user story looks like for churned users.

Here is an example email that you might send to a churned user:

An email template for your churned users
An email template for your churned users

You must prepare for some not-so-good feedback. That’s to be expected and instead of letting it get you down, think about how you can use it to improve the user experience further now that you know why churned users decided to leave.

Here are some questions you can ask your churned users:

What to ask your churned users
What to ask your churned users

Step 2: Look for patterns

When identifying patterns, start by looking at your value metrics.

The goal for a free trial
The goal for a free trial

To make this process easier, I suggest thinking about (and writing down) what someone has to do to get value out of your product.

Then, create a shortlist of ALL value metrics.

Next, consider looking at customer behavior of both your good and bad customers. Doing this will help you to identify successful user journeys. To do this, follow the five-step process below:

5 Steps to identifying successful journeys
5 Steps to identifying successful journeys

Then, ask yourself these questions…

Questions to ask yourself about the user journey
Questions to ask yourself about the user journey

Now it’s time to look at the customer behavior of “bad” customers. I only refer to them as “bad” to help you separate the two. In reality, there is no such thing as bad customers. They might be the wrong customers for your product, but they’re never “bad.”

When it comes to “bad” customers, ask yourself these three questions:

1. What did they try to do?

2. Where did they get stuck?

3. What features did they try?

Then, go through the data for your bad customers and follow these steps:

Looking at customer behavior on ‘bad’ customers
Looking at customer behavior on ‘bad’ customers

The key here is to look out for moments of friction. This is when the user came across a problem of some kind. Maybe a feature stopped working. Maybe there was a time lag and it took too long to complete what should have been a simple and quick task. These are moments of friction and usually, they are one of the biggest differences between the good and the bad users.

Step 3: Shortlist and test potential behaviors

What are the potential behaviors?

Here are a few to get you started…

Potential customer behaviors
Potential customer behaviors

Analyzing how people use your product is vital in discerning the aha moment. This will help you understand what people are doing within the product, how they engage with it, and hopefully, what value they get from the product that makes them want to keep using it.

Prioritizing your experiments is important. After all, you don’t want to waste time on an experiment that only exists because you think it’s a great idea. Prioritize experiments and keep track of them.

Test potential experiments with an Experiment Log
Test potential experiments with an Experiment Log

An experiment log is a great way to track and record experiments, their results, and focus on the metrics you want to improve.

If all of this seems like a lot, start small. Aim for one or two ‘easy’ experiments. Allow yourself to get some wins before moving onto bigger experiments.

An experiment log is a really powerful tool for you to apply across your entire organization (and marketing department) because you can start to have a process for it. Any experiment you want to try can be logged and tracked.

What’s your product’s aha moment?

What’s your product’s aha moment?
What’s your product’s aha moment?

Putting all of this together to identify your product’s aha moment will help you to better understand your product, how users engage with it, and the key factor that keeps them coming back for more!

Wes Bush
Wes Bush
Wes Bush is the bestselling author of Product-Led Growth. He’s a renowned Product-Led Growth pioneer and has challenged an entire industry to find a better way to approach SaaS growth.
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