Product-led growth (PLG) has shifted the traditional paradigm of relying solely on sales and marketing efforts to drive business growth. Instead, PLG places the product at the forefront, utilizing it as the central driver for customer acquisition, activation, engagement, retention, and scalable expansion. We’ll explore PLG, detailing its core principles, advantages, and tactical strategies for each stage of the customer journey.

In-depth understanding of product-led growth (PLG)

At its core, Product-Led Growth (PLG) is a fundamental shift in how businesses approach growth. Unlike traditional models that heavily depend on sales and marketing strategies, PLG revolves around creating compelling in-product experiences that captivate users right from the start.

One of the key advantages of PLG is its ability to reduce customer acquisition costs (CAC). Focusing on the product’s intrinsic value and user experience helps businesses attract more customers – when users find immediate value in a product, they are more likely to become paying customers, thereby accelerating growth.

The advantages of PLG extend beyond cost reduction. Businesses that adopt this model often find themselves in a better competitive position. Building strong in-product experiences paves the way for creating a unique selling proposition that differentiates them from competitors who rely more heavily on traditional sales and marketing tactics.

Strategies for acquisition, retention, and monetization

To fully harness the power of PLG, it’s essential to understand how it applies to different stages of the customer journey. Let’s break down the key strategies for acquisition, retention, and monetization.


One of the central tactics in acquiring new customers is content creation. Providing users with valuable, educational content that is closely related to your product can be a much-needed disruption to standard marketing workflows. This content comes in various forms, including blog posts, how-to guides, and video tutorials – serving the dual purpose of educating potential users about your product’s value and improving your website’s search engine visibility.

Another key aspect of acquisition in PLG is leveraging community-based content- involving creating product-related videos, forums, or discussion groups where users can engage with your product and each other. Community-driven content builds a sense of belonging and encourages potential customers to explore your product further.

Product artifacts help in attracting potential customers. These can include templates, diagrams, or setup scripts that showcase the practical utility of your product. Take Notion, for example; they offer templates that users can share, making it easy for non-users to experience the product’s value firsthand.


Monetizing a product through PLG involves showing users the value it provides and then encouraging them to upgrade to paid subscriptions. The specific strategy you adopt will depend on your company’s philosophy.

Some companies offer a freemium model, where they provide a baseline level of value for free and charge for premium features. Others offer free trials, allowing users to experience the full range of features for a limited time. A well-known example is LinkedIn, which provides a free basic version but offers premium subscriptions that unlock additional features and benefits.

For maximum effectiveness in monetization, it’s important to understand your target audience’s pain points and preferences – and this knowledge allows you to tailor your pricing and packaging strategies to align with their needs.


Retaining customers is a core component of PLG. To achieve this, businesses must first define what retention means for their product – requiring that companies identify the specific actions or behaviors that indicate a user is retained.

Once you’ve defined retention criteria, personalizing the user experience becomes essential. A prime example is LinkedIn’s use of a progress bar for incomplete user profiles. Encouraging users to fill out their profiles helped LinkedIn both enhance the user experience and keep users engaged with the platform.

Tactics for driving acquisition

Educational content

Initiating the acquisition process with Product-Led Growth (PLG) demands an onboarding experience that captivates and facilitates ease for newcomers. Offering educational content is a key strategy, providing users with a clear understanding of what makes the product beneficial.

Blog posts, webinars, and tutorials are not mere tools; they are bridges connecting potential users with the core functionalities and advantages of the product. Through detailed explanations and practical insights, these resources demystify the product’s operations, guiding users toward optimal utilization.

Community engagement

Building a community around a product goes beyond creating a user base; it fosters an environment where users feel valued and heard. Encouraging dialogue, sharing experiences, and soliciting feedback transforms users into active participants in the product’s journey.

This heightened engagement nurtures loyalty and transforms users into advocates for the product. The feedback and insights gathered from the community are instrumental in identifying areas for enhancement and innovation within the product.

Product artifacts

The development and dissemination of product-related artifacts serve as a tangible demonstration of the product’s capabilities. Whether it’s templates that expedite project initiation, sample projects that inspire, or interactive demos that provide a hands-on experience, these artifacts are essential in showcasing the practical application and benefits of the product.

Accessibility is key, as potential users should find it straightforward to explore and engage with these resources, thereby fostering a deeper connection with the product.

User onboarding flows

Crafting user onboarding flows that are intuitive and informative is fundamental in securing user satisfaction from the outset. A well-structured onboarding process does more than teach users how to use the product; it illuminates the product’s key features in a context that resonates with their needs and goals.

Through step-by-step guidance, users are equipped with the knowledge to navigate the product confidently, ensuring they recognize its value and are motivated to integrate it into their workflow.

Tactics for driving monetization

Value demonstration

Maintaining engagement with free users through continuous demonstration of your product’s value is essential. Highlight how premium features can help users achieve their objectives with greater efficiency or effectiveness. Educate them about the distinct advantages these features offer, providing real-world examples or case studies that illustrate the tangible benefits.

Consistent communication about the value added by premium features can foster a deeper understanding and appreciation among free users, nudging them toward considering an upgrade.

Trial periods

Offering free users a trial period for premium features is a strategic approach to showcase the full capabilities of your product. This trial enables users to explore and experience the comprehensive benefits firsthand, serving as a powerful motivator for conversion to paid plans.

During the trial, users get a taste of enhanced productivity or effectiveness, which can significantly influence their decision-making process regarding an upgrade.

Tiered pricing

Adopting tiered pricing plans accommodates diverse user needs and financial constraints.

By structuring plans that cater to different segments, you allow users to select an option that aligns with their requirements and budgetary considerations. Such stratification in pricing ensures that users can identify a plan that not only fits their financial situation but also meets their specific needs, thereby fostering a more inclusive approach to user acquisition and retention.

In-product promotions

Using in-product messages and prompts effectively can highlight the advantages of premium features. When a free user encounters a situation where a premium feature could enhance their experience, a well-crafted message can elucidate the benefits.

These prompts should offer a clear and compelling explanation of how upgrading can enrich the user’s interaction with the product, potentially swaying their decision towards opting for a premium plan.

Tactics for driving retention

User behavior analysis

Delving into user behavior data is indispensable for deciphering the actions and pathways that users prefer or avoid. Analyzing such data sheds light on the factors that captivate users and those that may prompt them to discontinue use.

Through meticulous examination of these patterns and trends, insights can be gleaned that inform strategies to enhance user retention and reduce churn. Recognizing the features or content that users find most valuable can guide future development efforts, ensuring alignment with user preferences.


Crafting a user experience that adapts to individual preferences and behaviors stands out as a powerful method to increase user engagement and satisfaction. Personalization can manifest in various forms, such as suggesting content that aligns with users’ interests or introducing features that cater to their usage patterns.

By tailoring the experience to each user, the product becomes more relevant and valuable to them, fostering a deeper connection and encouraging prolonged engagement.

Feedback loops

Establishing mechanisms for users to voice their opinions and suggestions within the product encourages a participatory culture.

When users see their input leading to tangible improvements, they feel more invested in the product. These feedback loops are vital for continuous product refinement, as they provide a direct channel for understanding user needs and preferences. Responding to user feedback not only enhances the product but also strengthens user loyalty by demonstrating that their opinions are valued and impactful.


Infusing the user experience with gamification elements can significantly heighten engagement. By incorporating challenges, rewards, and milestones, users receive recognition and gratification for their interactions with the product.

These elements introduce an element of fun and competition, motivating users to engage more deeply and frequently with the product. Gamification transforms routine tasks into enjoyable activities, fostering a more vibrant and dynamic user experience.

Tactics for driving engagement

Power-user analysis

Identifying and comprehending the journey of power users—those who maximize the use and benefits of your product—is essential. Through meticulous analysis of their behaviors, preferences, and challenges, insights can be gleaned that are instrumental in enhancing the user experience for a broader audience.

Understanding what drives these power users and the hurdles they encounter offers a roadmap to refine the product in a way that not only retains these users but also elevates the experience for new and existing users.

Recognition and rewards

Acknowledging and rewarding power users fosters a culture of engagement and appreciation. By introducing certification programs or badges that confer professional value, users are motivated to deepen their engagement with the product.

Programs like Salesforce Admins and AWS certifications exemplify how recognition can be a powerful motivator, encouraging users to explore the product’s depths and leverage its capabilities to the fullest.

Feature highlighting

Consistently bringing attention to key features and capabilities that may be underutilized is a strategy that can drive deeper user engagement. Employing in-product tooltips, guides, or targeted email campaigns to inform users about the product’s full potential can uncover hidden value for users. This continuous education helps users discover new ways the product can address their needs, promoting a more comprehensive and satisfying user experience.

Tim Boesen

January 25, 2024

9 Min