In the world of product development, understanding your audience and refining your approach is key to success. We all start with a broad idea of who our persona is and the use case that will address a particular problem. Let's call these the PMF Inputs - the foundation of your journey towards Product-Market Fit (PMF).

💡 So, what exactly is the PMF journey about? It's all about refining these inputs to acquire users sustainably and cost-effectively.

Let's take the example of an English learning app. Your starting point might look like this:

  • Use-case: Improving English speaking
  • Persona: English learners
  • Problem: The desire to speak English better

Round 1: Identifying User Segments

The first step is to bring users into the fold (whether it's a consumer app or a B2B PLG product) and see who sticks around! At this stage, it's more about casting a wide net with broad message ads. Don't worry too much about Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) just yet.

⭐️ Pro-Tip: Surprisingly, now is not the time to optimise for sign-up conversions. In fact, add a bit of friction to your process. Capture who they are (Persona), what their use case is, and what their problem is - in their own words.

By the end of Round 1, you'll have gained valuable insights:

  • Identify users who engage the best and worst from app analytics.

  • Collect direct input from users regarding Persona, Usecases, and Problems in their own language.

Use this information to create 2-3 refined PMF Input Sets. Keep broadening these inputs until you reach a 10% set of your initial users. For instance:

  • Usecase: TOEFL preparation

  • Persona: Non-native English speakers

  • Problem: Efficient and affordable TOEFL success

  • Usecase: Seeking remote support job

  • Persona: Latin American users

  • Problem: Dollar-paying job

🚨 Keep in mind that, at this stage, your retention and engagement rates might still be far from ideal. That's expected. The goal here is to identify the best segments among what you have.

Round 2: Sharpening Your Inputs

Now, we need to get an equal number of users from each set through the gate, just like in Round 1. This time, it's all about refining our inputs even further.

In Round 2, leverage what you've learned about your best users' Usecase, Persona, and Problem to:

  • Aim to acquire the same number of users from each refined set as in Round 1.

  • Use what you’ve learned about your best users’ Usecase, Persona, and Problem to tailor your ad creatives and campaign targeting.

  • Utilize niche forums for user acquisition, like Reddit’s TOEFL boards.

⭐️ Pro-Tip: With each round, aim to generate segments with higher retention and engagement than the previous rounds. This will lead to sharper PMF Input Sets - a step in the right direction! 🎯

Repeat Until PMF! ♽

After Round 2, your top set might look something like this:

  • Usecase: Get a remote support job for a US Company
  • Persona: Women above 30 years from Brazil
  • Problem: Need a job that pays in dollars, can be done at home, and offers flexible hours

Keep repeating these rounds until you reach a Cost per Retained User that aligns with your goals! 🤝

In Conclusion

By applying these systematic PMF experiments, you can refine your PLG product's approach, reach your target audience effectively, and achieve Product-Market Fit in a sustainable manner. 🚀

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