The product manager’s “Day 1”

Do this 1 thing right from the beginning and users are more likely to stick with you, says…

Why DAY 1 matters:

  1. Momentum. On Day 1, your customers have momentum.
    They were triggered to download/start using your product by something. On Day 2, they need to remember to log in and why they thought it was important. And as most PMs intuitively understand, you’ll get more people to say yes to features on Day 1 than if you email them two weeks later.
  2. Sunk costs. On Day 1, your customers have sunk costs.
    The sign-up flow took a few minutes, and they want to ensure that wasn’t time wasted. They might as well explore the app and see what the new toy offers. On Day 1 you have to convince me to click “continue.” On Day 2, you have to convince me to log in and thus prove yourself worthy over all the other things they could be doing at that moment.
  3. Mental Models. On Day 1, your customers have no mental model.
    They don’t know what to expect from you yet. On Day 1, you get to create a new mental model. On Day 2, you have to change the mental model you just created on Day 1.

What’s a mental model?

What window are you looking out of? World Bank 2015 report.
  • In one study, community health workers in a rural town made weekly home visits to teach mothers how to play and interact with their children in ways that better promote cognitive and emotional development. These children ended up earning 25 percent more as adults than those who didn’t get visits. This is impressive — but it also required weekly visits over years and years (Gertler and others 2014).
  • Another example comes from India — political affirmative action for women changed the make-up of leadership to include more women. After seven years of exposure to women as leaders, men’s bias against women decreased (Beaman and others 2009, 2012). Seven years!

How to establish a Mental Model on Day 1.

1. Expose all the benefits right upfront

2. Use explicit signaling

3. Use implicit signaling

Conclusion: The right mental model helps both you and your customer

Want to know more about how to increase retention after Day 1? Check out Irrational Labs Behavioral Economics Bootcamp

Irrational Labs is a product design company that creates behavioral change for good.

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Irrational Labs

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Irrational Labs is a product design company that creates behavioral change for good.

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