Having climbed inside your market’s head, it’s time to build something. The big question now is whether or not what you’ve built is sticky, so that when you throw users at it, they’ll engage. You want to be, as Rowan Atkinson’s Blackadder put it, “in the stickiest situation since Sticky the stick insect got stuck on a sticky bun.” That’s how you make the business sustainable.
The focus now is squarely on retention and engagement. You can look at daily, weekly, and/or monthly active users; how long it takes someone to become inactive; how many inactive users can be reactivated when sent an email; and which features engaged users spend time with, and which they ignore. Segment these metrics by cohort to see if your changes convince additional users to behave differently. Did users who signed up in February stick around longer than those who joined in January?
You don’t just want signs of engagement. You want proof that your product is becoming an integral part of your users’ lives, and that it’ll be hard for them to switch. You’re not looking for, nor should you expect, rapid growth. You’re throwing things at the wall to test stickiness, not measuring how fast you can throw. And by “things,” we mean users. After all, if you can’t convince a hundred users to stick around today, you’re unlikely to convince a million to do so later.
Your top priority is to build a core set of features that gets used regularly and successfully, even by ...