Published January 11, 2024

Unlocking the Potential of Growth Loops: Amplifying Your Product’s Success

7 min read

What if you could turn your product’s life cycle into a self-sustaining engine for growth? Welcome to growth loops—where every aspect of your product serves your users and feeds into your business, driving user acquisition, retention, and monetization in an ever-improving cycle. 

We were inspired by Dora Kondeva’s thinking and chart on growth loops, so we dug into it and created a list of 28 power questions you can use in Helio to learn more about your customers. Check out her thinking

This article will help you answer the vital question: “How do I improve my product growth loop?” Get ready to dive deep into strategies to elevate your product’s growth loop to new heights.

So, let’s jump into it to get better customer signals with these growth loop power questions.

Understanding the Basics of Growth Loops

Growth loops are the antithesis of traditional funnel marketing. Instead of pouring resources into one end and hoping for the best, growth loops create a self-perpetuating user acquisition, retention, and revenue cycle. For instance, consider a user who discovers your app, uses it, invites others, and continues to engage—all these actions contribute to the loop.

Growth loops continuously attract and expand users. Framework and chart by Dora Kondeva

A growth loop is an integrated system within a business’s strategy to continuously attract and expand its user base through a self-sustaining and reinforcing cycle. Here are the parts of the loops defined by Dora Kondeva – we can dissect the concept of a growth loop into several interconnected components:

  • Acquisition: This is the starting point of the growth loop where new users are brought into the product ecosystem through various channels such as paid media, demos, and events.
  • Product Sign-up: Once users are acquired, they sign up for the product, beginning their journey within the loop.
  • Retention: The product must then engage these users consistently, providing enough value to retain them. This is often achieved through continuous interaction and improvement of the user experience.
  • Monetization: As users find value in the product, there is an opportunity to convert this into revenue through direct sales or other monetization strategies.
  • Create Insight: Through engagement, users generate valuable insights through direct feedback surveys or behavior and usage patterns.
  • Share Insight with Colleague: These insights can lead to product improvements and catalyze organic growth as users share their positive experiences with others.
  • Customer Success Signals & Customer Loop: The cycle is completed when the customer success is signaled back to the company, indicating that the users are achieving their desired outcomes with the product.
  • Customer Value Creation Metrics: Alongside this cycle, measuring the value created for customers through metrics like use cases and benchmarks is important.
  • Marketing Levers: The company uses marketing levers like product campaigns and launches to support the growth loop, ensuring that every stage from acquisition to retention is optimized.

Each component in the loop feeds into the next, creating a continuous cycle that helps the product to grow organically. The ultimate goal of this growth loop is to create a system where the product not only attracts new users but also retains them and encourages them to contribute to further growth, thus creating a loop that continually fuels itself.

Jumping into our Power Questions

The Acquisition Phase

The acquisition is where growth begins. But how do you ensure that you’re attracting users and the right ones? Here are some questions to ask your customers:

  • Why did you start using our product/service?
  • How did you discover our product/service?
  • What problem are you addressing with our product/service?

These needfinding questions help you understand the trigger moments that set customers on a buying journey. From there, these signals can influence your marketing copy and visual assets on the channels that engage users most.

During the acquisition phase, open-ended questions are invaluable for learning the successes and failures of customers’ early touchpoints with your product.

To illustrate the concept of growth loops, we asked current QuickBooks users why they started using QuickBooks. Here’s what one user said:

Initially, it was to track my expenses in order to create a more accurate budget, but once I realized how helpful it is I started using it at work, too.

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– QuickBooks User (US), Helio Participant

This tidbit of information shows that there may be a significant overlap in QuickBooks consumer and business ideal customer profiles (ICP). View the Helio test results.

Retaining Your Customer Base

Retention is about keeping the flame alive. Here are some key questions to ponder:

  • What features do customers use the most?
  • What kind of feedback do they give about your product?
  • How do they describe the impact your product has on their daily lives?

Boosting retention might involve enhancing the user experience based on the insights you gather from these questions.

When asked what features QuickBooks users find the easiest or most valuable while using the platform, they said:

The integration with my bank accounts makes things easy. The ability of my accountant to access my records is great too.

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– QuickBooks User (US), Helio Participant

Based on this feedback, the QuickBooks team knows providing access to teams within small businesses will be essential.

Monetization – The Value Exchange

Monetization shouldn’t feel forced but rather a natural step for your users. Consider these questions:

  • What considerations influence your decision to upgrade from a free to a paid version?
  • If our product wasn’t available, what alternative would you consider and what is your budget for such a product?
  • What aspects of our product do you find valuable?
  • Are there any additional features or services you would consider paying for?
  • Has our product/service impacted your revenue or business growth? Can you provide an example?

The answers will guide you in crafting a monetization strategy that feels like a value exchange rather than a hard sell.

Current QuickBooks users were able to give precise feedback on how their usage of the platform has progressed:

Separating the business from personal is really easy to make them separate so one don’t mix with another. Being able to put all my business in one place with QuickBooks is also a great thing.

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– QuickBooks User (US), Helio Participant

The overlap between QuickBooks personal and professional users provides a pipeline for conversion within their business. This validates what we learned in the Acquisition phase regarding how and why users begin engaging with the platform.

Customer Success as a Growth Catalyst

Customer success is indicative of your product’s value. Reflect on these questions:

  • Have you seen any differences in your work since using our product/service?
  • What support or resources do you need to do well with our product/service?
  • How do you know if our product/service works well for you?
  • Can you tell us when our product/service helped you?

Utilizing these success signals can turn your customers into advocates, further fueling your growth loop. This is why having continuous customer conversations is critical for success.

Even customers who are no longer directly engaging with QuickBooks they were able to remember the impact that it had on their work:

I was able to get my statements and any information I needed all in one place. It was fast so it made me look prompt as well.

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– Former QuickBooks User (US), Helio Participant

Success with customers using the platform directly relates to the success that they experience within their business.

Measuring and Understanding Customer Value

Understanding the value you create is pivotal. Here are some questions to consider asking your customers:

  • How do you evaluate the value provided by our product/service? 
  • What uses of our product/service have you found to be the most beneficial?
  • Have you noticed specific outcomes since using our product/service?
  • What metrics or goals are important to you when using our product/service?

Measuring customer value accurately can lead to more targeted improvements and marketing strategies.

It has made it easier to more accurately track expenses and profit, and makes it clear where adjustments are necessary. It also makes it easier to [visualize] the financial outlook for the business.

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– QuickBooks User (US), Helio Participant

QuickBooks’ goal of helping users build a successful financial future seems to be in full effect for many businesses.

Marketing Levers to Push Your Growth Forward

Your marketing levers are tools that can actively enhance your growth loop. Ponder these questions:

  • Which of our content do you engage with, and what influences this choice?
  • How do you perceive the relevance and usefulness of our content?
  • What types of content do you find most beneficial?
  • What are your preferences regarding launches and announcements?

Mastering ad testing can elevate your campaign effectiveness and exponentially amplify the impact of your growth loop.

In our QuickBooks test, we took three social media advertisements from LinkedIn and used a preference test to understand which messaging would perform best with their audience. We asked respondents, “Which of these versions makes you most interested in clicking the link in the post?”:

Growth loop example showing three variations of a LinkedIn ad for Quickbooks with the question, "Which of these variations makes you most interested in clicking the link in the post?"

With QuickBooks’ new BillPay feature, the most enticing offer for current users was the scheduling aspect. The scheduling ad worked because of it’s engaging tone, something that was lacking in the messaging of the paperless offering and business tailoring:

The phrase “Schedule now, save time later” really caught my attention, and it mentions checking payments off of a to-do list, which sounds great!

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– QuickBooks User (US), Helio Participant

Building Your Growth Loop

At the heart of every successful product lies the Growth Loop—a dynamic cycle that propels continuous user engagement and business expansion. To effectively navigate and refine this core component of your growth strategy, consider the following critical questions:

  • What features or aspects of our product/service are most important to you?
  • How do you typically use or discuss our product/service within your workplace?
  • What factors influence how often you use our product/service?
  • Are there specific types of events or information sessions that you find useful?

The tried-and-tested Net Promoter Score is a great way to measure the likelihood of your customers recommending your product to others. We asked QuickBooks users, “On a scale from 0 to 10, with 10 being the most likely, how likely is it that you would recommend QuickBooks to a friend or colleague?” In the case of QuickBooks’ users, their audience gave the current product an overwhelming score of 60.71.

A higher score is expected for current users of a product, though one of the most insightful findings revealed that many customers have already taken the step of helping QuickBooks to build their growth loop:

I already have recommended QuickBooks to a friend.

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– QuickBooks User (US), Helio Participant

Growth loops are dynamic and can always be refined. By asking the right questions at each phase, you can gain invaluable insights that will optimize your current loop and pave the way for creating new ones. Remember, the goal is to create a self-sustaining cycle that continuously enhances itself with every loop.

Now that you’re armed with power questions, we’d love to hear about your journey in implementing growth loops. Simply reach out to start a conversation with an expert. Share your experiences, successes, and even challenges in the comments below. And if you’re looking for more resources or personalized advice on optimizing your product’s growth loop, reach out to us—we’re here to help you make your growth loop a roaring success.

Growth Loop FAQs

What is a growth loop?
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A growth loop is an integrated business strategy that aims to continuously attract and expand the user base through a reinforcing acquisition, retention, and monetization cycle.

How does a growth loop differ from traditional funnel marketing?
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Growth loops focus on creating a self-sustaining cycle that feeds back into user acquisition and product improvement, unlike traditional funnels, which typically end after a purchase.

What are the key components of a growth loop?
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Key components include acquisition, product sign-up, retention, monetization, insight creation, sharing insights, customer success signals, value creation metrics, and marketing levers.

How can I attract the right users during the acquisition phase?
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Ask customers why they started using your product, how they discovered it, and what problems it solves to tailor marketing efforts effectively.

What strategies can be used to retain customers?
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Enhance user experience based on customer feedback and focus on the most-used features to improve retention.

Customer success demonstrates the value of your product and can turn customers into advocates, propelling the growth loop forward.

How should monetization be approached in a growth loop?
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Monetization should be a natural step for users, focusing on the value exchange and considering user feedback on what features they would pay for.

How do you measure the value created for customers?
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Evaluate customer value by asking users how they benefit from the product, noticing specific outcomes, and understanding their important metrics or goals.

What role do marketing levers play in a growth loop?
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Marketing levers, such as content engagement and product announcements, enhance the growth loop by optimizing each stage from acquisition to retention.

How can I build and refine my growth loop effectively?
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By continuously asking questions at each phase of the growth loop, you can gather insights that help optimize and create new loops for sustained growth.

Build something your users truly want