Building Retention and Growth Into Pee & See

Launching the first version of Pee & See has been a really amazing experience because it’s showing me how keeping a product simple while giving it a voice and attitude can be very powerful.

I’ve always been really into the idea of designing a good empty state. Once I added a user system, I realized people signing up wouldn’t have any pees logged. I wrote up this quick message:

Pee and See Empty State

Then, I noticed something about this message. I didn’t think much of it when I wrote it, but whenever I was around someone who just signed up he or she would chuckle at this first page after a new signup.

It made me realize that if all the copy in the app was like this, I’d have happier users that would hopefully look forward to logging pees. Humor would also be a way I could nicely get people who aren’t logging pees re-engaged, instead of a more serious approach.

What’s important now?

In my original post about Pee & See, I said:

Most development that happens on this will probably revolve around making it as fast and easy as possible for people to log their pees. I think the biggest barrier for most people is getting into the habit.

Right now there are about ~30 people who have signed up. Some of them have never logged a pee, and most of them are not consistently logging pees.

In order to give better insights, I plan to look at all the data in about 6 months with some mathematician and statistician friends. In the meantime, I think it’s important to:

  1. Improve the data integrity by retaining users — fewer missed pees, fewer people signing up then never coming back
  2. Get the most pee data I can — get more people into this funnel of signing up then being automatically retained, so I can have a bigger sample size of people logging pee data

The very minimal time I’m putting into developing this will be focused on automated solutions for retention and growth.

  1. Retention — Getting users into the habit is key. I’ve decided that Pee & See must take a stance to relentlessly try to get its users into the habit. Once you sign up either you log pees consistently, or you have to disable your account.
  2. Growth — This is a small, simple project, but I think it has potential to help people who would use it. I don’t want to dedicate time to marketing it, though, so I’m going to use the multiplying power of software and the internet to help users grow it.

Retention

Since it’s a web app, user retention will probably have to all happen through email, for now. I am already collecting emails for account notification purposes, so I plan to add a low-barrier email confirmation step. Here are some of the ideas I’m considering:

Lapsed pee retention emails — My initial plans now are for a few emails that are triggered by people not logging a certain number of pees over a certain amount of time. I’m going to try to make them funny to get people re-engaged, and provide tips for lowering the barrier to adding pees.

Authentication tokens — I might send users a link in an email to log them in automatically, without entering an email address and password. This would be with some kind of limited use authentication token.

Home Screen icon tutorials — Something that can help people remember to log pees and log them more quickly is a home screen icon. Since Pee & See is still a web app, many people don’t realize it can be on the home screen of iOS or Android devices and has special markup that tells devices to treat it more like an app.

I’ll try starting this out with some basic tutorials and screenshots and then seek more automated ways to get people set up with home screen icons. There may be a conflict between this concept and the ease of use of an authentication token.

Positive milestone emails — The next kind of emails I’ll add is for people reaching milestones in their pees. These will be more oriented toward growth, because the calls to action will be more about getting feedback on what they like or don’t like and asking them to share it with friends. I have some good ideas for how to make these funny.

Piss or get off the pot — My current plan is to not have a way to disable email notifications, because users who are actually logging pees consistently would never get them. Instead, if you want to disable the emails, then I’ll ask that you disable your account if you’re not serious about pee tracking. This will help maintain better data integrity by getting rid of the occasional users and getting other people in the habit, theoretically.

Growth

I don’t want to spend much time on marketing Pee & See, but I think even what I’ve built so far has had a positive impact on the lives of the people who use it regularly. Dehydration is a big health issue that can be easily prevented, and this is a free and simple tool to help with that.

At the time of writing this, there aren’t ANY social media share buttons in Pee & See. It has no Open Graph tags (which were a major factor in the growth of FourLokoStories.com). There’s no copy anywhere that asks people to share it.

These are some quick wins that I could add with less than an hour of work. I plan to make the sharing calls to action especially prominent at key times for people who have been using it consistently, since I think they would be the best advocates for it.

As long as the retention rate of new sign-ups is improved, there will be a higher number of consistent, happy users. Combined with these minor tweaks, I think it would be possible to get these happy users to share with friends.

Plus, it’s an app about urinating, so I think that naturally helps the word spread.

Results so far

I probably put about 1 hour of work into this per week… not counting using it, of course! So far, the payoff has been great.

First of all, I haven’t been dehydrated (no headaches) since I started using Pee & See. This means I have more healthy, energized hours to spend on Credit Card Insider, which is a big plus.

Second, it’s been great exercise for my mind to brush up on my Rails skills and other technical skills. I hadn’t used Bootstrap much before the very end of 2014, and that alone has been a great inspiration and learning experience for CSS best practices.

The Bootstrap documentation, much like Apple’s iOS documentation, is a top example in my mind as I create procedures and documentation for every aspect of what we do at Credit Card Insider. The logical and hierarchical layout of Bootstrap itself has inspired me, too, and is now another example I can keep in the back of my mind for a well-designed product.

Did you like this post? I would REALLY appreciate it if you like and share Pee & See on social media.

Do you know someone who might want to track his or her pees and stay hydrated? Please send that person an email right now with a link to Pee & See! You could even link to this article or my previous post about the initial prototype to give some more context.

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