Product growth is completely reliant on user retention.

You need users to stick around, over the long haul, so you can break even on the costs to acquire each and reinvest back into product improvement.

That doesn’t mean you need any growth, it means you need sticky growth. You need to acquire the right types of users.

Activation, the precursor to Retention, starts here. You need to prime users before signup so that expectations are properly set.

Onboarding sequences should be designed around your success milestones so you can see which steps are acting as roadblocks, and test them accordingly.

Post sign-up involves making sure people progress through each of these milestones until you’ve successfully given them that first happy experience.

Otherwise, you risk running with a high churn rate.

No other metric has the single ability to sabotage new customer acquisition than churn. The problem is that it’s also difficult to define.

The key is to measure it from a variety of angles, overlapping both costs and revenues over time to get a complete picture of customer happiness.

You can also use strategies like the NPS, upselling, increased customer response time, and pricing strategies to improve retention.

You can pick up on which product features are working or not. And you’ll be able to see which product aspects can be iterated to improve overall customer happiness.

Retention isn’t a single tactic or hack at the end of the day. It’s a lot of little things, both tangible and intangible, that need to come together to produce a desired result. It’s also a matter of sequencing; the right things need to happen at the right time.

Ultimately, though, it comes down to giving people good reasons for returning over and over again. How you do that is the tough part.

But the underlying objective is easy: continually produce a better product. And the user Acquisition, Activation, and Retention will take care of itself.