While recovering from a 20-mile hike on Santa Barbara’s Hurricane Deck (one of California’s most dangerous trails), I found a reality TV show called Storage Wars on NetFlix. They follow people as they bid on unclaimed storage units, at auction, without knowing what they contain.
Darrell Sheets, one of the lead characters, is an energetic and opinionated storage-unit-buying veteran. He searches through his lockers looking for the “wow” factor. He doesn’t care about small items he can pawn off. He’s motivated to find unique money-makers that will bring in many times more than he paid for the unit.
While watching Darrell explain why he seeks the “wow” factor, I saw a parallel situation in SaaS platforms. You see, just as Darrell finds various items in units, users find various features that provide value. But, what every platform has to have is the “wow” factor. It’s that one feature that makes users think, “Why has no one done this before?” or “Wow, this is an amazing idea.”
The “wow” factor for any SaaS platform is about creating that lightbulb moment. It’s what makes the platform so valuable.
A few years back, I was developing a SaaS platform called OFF DAY Trainer. While the platform had many features to help fitness trainers engage their clients, the “wow” factor boiled down to just one. Trainers are able to send automated text messages to their clients from a library of pre-programed content.
Successful trainers know that clients’ results come from outside the training session. Although clients work like hell during the session, the trainer isn’t holding their hand for the rest of the day. Or during the days they aren’t in the gym.
The best trainers engage with clients outside the session, on their off days. For a trainer with 50 clients, this meant texting each one at least 3 times a week. That’s 150 individual texts. A top trainer can spend hours a week writing content and texting clients.
OFF DAY Trainer solves this problem by grouping clients into tracks based upon their goals. For example, those who want to lose weight are grouped in the weight loss track. Each track has a library of messages that are relevant to the client’s goals. And messages are sent automatically, based upon a trainer-approved schedule.
OFF DAY Trainer saves trainers time, motivates clients to achieve their goals, and opens opportunities for trainers to generate more revenue.
Follow this three-step process to create your platform’s “wow” factor:
- Define your users’ primary problem
- Explain how you solve that problem differently than any other solution
- Define your platform’s fundamental visionFor OFF DAY Trainer, the trainers primary problem is making sure their clients stay motivated when they aren’t in the gym. For many, results from a one-hour training session are lost when they go off-diet the next day. And if clients don’t see results, even if it’s their own fault, they don’t buy more training sessions.
The OFF DAY Trainer platform solves this problem by keeping clients focused on their goals. It creates a level of accountability that motivates clients to stick to their diet and perform their out-of-gym exercises. By combining a patented text message program with pre-programmed libraries of content, it solves the problem differently than any other platform available.
The platform’s vision was aligned directly with keeping clients engaged: to help Americans lose a million pounds of fat. If the trainer’s clients stayed motivated, they would achieve their weight-loss goals, and become clients for life.
When you deeply understand the user’s primary problem, can provide a unique solution, and tie everything you do back to a bigger vision, you have a platform that will have a major impact.
ClickFunnels, another SaaS example, may be the world’s fastest growing SaaS platform, having gone from $0 in revenue to over $100M in a few years. Led by Russell Brunson, ClickFunnels solved the problem of having to create landing pages quickly. What would usually take days or weeks can be done in ClickFunnels within minutes. What they did differently was to create a drag-and-drop interface that bypassed the traditional programming and design team. And they created a vision to help entrepreneurs generate more revenue. Their motto, “One Funnel Away,” alludes to the potential for generating millions of dollars using their platform. They also have awards for people who generate seven- and eight-figure revenues using their platform.
As the software development industry matures, more platforms are being developed, and at a faster and faster pace. Platforms that serve broad needs, and those that serve niche needs. But platforms that don’t solve their users’ problems differently, and don’t have a broader vision beyond profits, will be replaced by those that do.
Define your platforms “wow” factor to attract and retain users for life.