PLG Interview Series w: Nikki Elbaz (Email Strategist, Copyhackers). Featured image for blog post.

Introduction

After a great interview with Melanie Crissey from FullStory, we come back with another amazing interview, this time with a professional Email strategist who can captivate you with her copy. 

Nikki Elbaz Website. Screenshot.
Image Source: Nikki Elbaz

Nikki Elbaz is working with SaaS companies, helping them and their clients to get better results through effective Email copy. 

We wanted to know what Nikki thinks about Product-Led Growth

Here is what she answered. 

Who is Nikki Elbaz?

Nikki Elbaz crafts data-driven email sequences that  get more products in more pockets. 

Nikki Elbaz.
Image Source: Nikki Elbaz

In addition to working with private SaaS clients, Nikki serves as Email Specialist for the industry-leading Copy Hackers Agency. 

Nikki has also coached dozens of freelancers, helping them gain the confidence and clarity to up their game—and their rates.

For emails and updates on all things SaaS, sales, and swipes, hit up nikkielbaz.com/opt-in.

Why such a big discussion about Product-Led Growth? 

Nikki:

PRODUCT LED GROWTH MAKES ADOPTION EASIER

Without the friction of buying, more leads are willing to become users. With PLG, the funnel (or flywheel) opening is just wider.

But more than that: every marketing effort is silently vetted by the 40/40/20 principle: success depends on your list (40%), your offer (40%), and your creative (20%).

If you’ve achieved product-market fit, you’ve effectively slam dunked 60% off your effort.

The wider pool of prospects – but also, ironically, the more fined-tuned pool of prospects – makes PLG an easier model to market.

PRODUCT LED GROWTH IS ETHICAL 

It almost makes more sense, ethically, to have the product drive the journey. If I need to sell externally, is the product really a good fit? 

If you need to convince, there is a certain amount of friction between the fit. 

But with PLG, the product needs to be so perfect, that it essentially sells itself to its perfect customers. 

And that’s why we can automate onboarding – because the loyalty comes from the perfect solution itself, not from external branding efforts. 

PRODUCT LED GROWTH GENERATES MORE PASSION, INTERNALLY AND EXTERNALLY 

It’s a core human trait to love what we create. 

If we live, breathe, and not-sleep product creation – and especially if we listen to a real need and custom create a solution to that need – the end result (the product) becomes a point of pride. 

And if that’s the case, why would we not want to have the product itself drive the customer journey? 

The product led model creates more passionate teams, which then generate a more loyal following. 

Free trial, Freemium model or Demo request? How would you choose the most appropriate and how? 

Nikki:

DATA, DATA, DATA 

There are stat answers: if it’s complicated, make it a demo request product; if it captures a large market, make it freemium. 

But the only way to really know (or almost-know) is to match how your customer approaches your product to how you position it. 

It basically boils down to research. Industry research, yes, but mostly customer research. 

The Jobs to Be Done (JTBD) theory is fabulous because the answers you gain from JTBD interviews are fact-based. 

With JTBD, there’s no speculation, there are no projections – it’s all based on previous experiences that are then layered onto projections. 

When your pricing structure is informed by the customers’ past behaviors (and therefore future behaviors) and on their needs, it’s more likely to be a successful structure.

What are the principles one needs to follow when building a user onboarding process for a SaaS business? Which mistakes to avoid? 

Nikki:

FOLLOW THE USER 

The most important principle is to create the hero’s journey to the aha moment. 

This is essentially what drives PLG – using multiple channels to guide the user to the point of adoption. 

How to start off the user on the hero’s journey to begin with? 

I find affirmation especially effective. Immediately affirming the users’ decision to sanction the underlying solution that your product offers fertilizes long-term commitment to your specific solution. 

Affirmations root your product into their overall, emotional journey towards a solution. 

COMMON MISTAKES IN EMAIL ONBOARDING 

1) Stuffing everything a user can do into the welcome email: The onboarding experience must be highly strategic – and that means paced. 

Each email should have one strategic action, which then sets off another action, and another – until the aha moment is reached. 

2) Not sending enough emails throughout the onboarding time frame: Again, the onboarding is the guide. 

To drop off after 1 week is a lost opportunity to fully guide the user to adoption. 

3) Not using behavioral triggers to personalize the onboarding experience: Personalization is key to successful automation. 

Because the product is guiding the adoption, the user must be presented with the correct steps for his specific journey. 

4) Sending from Team or Company Name instead of a team member’s name: Onboarding may be automated, but it shouldn’t be low touch. 

Where possible, the human element should be preserved – simple things like emails coming from a real person have proven to be highly successful. 

What should be the relationship between Product, Marketing, Sales and Customer Success in a Product-Led company? 

Nikki:

PUT A PRISM TO YOUR ORGANIZATION 

The PLG Collective has a fabulous metaphor for how PLG efforts should be structured.

In their own words:

“When light passes through a prism, the different colors that make up white light become separated and create a rainbow effect. This happens because each color has a particular wavelength and refracts at a different angle.  The product-led prism does the same thing, only in reverse. The different colors are all different teams—marketing, sales, CS, design, engineering—that normally operate on different wavelengths. Instead of separating them, the product-led prism brings these teams together. Their combined wavelengths form the bright, focused light of the user’s experience.” 

How the future of Product-Led Growth looks like? 

Nikki:

PLG IS THE FUTURE 

Because the PLG model is new, there are a lot of questions: How much can we automate? What can we not automate? Will people get used to automation? How quickly? 

But as more and more companies adopt the model, the more quickly we’ll figure these things out, and the more successful it will be. 

It’s almost as if the PLG model will work on its own industry – more and more “users” will join, which will bring in more users and more users.

About the Author: Aggelos M

Aggelos M
I have over 8 years experience in Digital and Growth marketing. Currently, running Growth Sandwich, a London based Product Growth Lab. Before turning in Growth Marketing and Product Growth, I had the chance to pass by head marketing and head digital positions in Athens and London, work with numerous tech startups but also build and run companies. In my spare time, I am consulting ambitious startups about their Growth and Business strategy.