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Hooked: How To Build Habit-Forming Products

Lesson 4 of 14

Bonus Video: Habit-Frequency Hotseat with Cynthia Fontenot

Nir Eyal

Hooked: How To Build Habit-Forming Products

Nir Eyal

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Lesson Info

4. Bonus Video: Habit-Frequency Hotseat with Cynthia Fontenot

Lesson Info

Bonus Video: Habit-Frequency Hotseat with Cynthia Fontenot

So we're going to do a little exercise here on your own you've all got note pads and and at home if you're watching make sure you've got something to record your answers to these questions on because they're gonna be cumulative we're gonna build on these here's your first set of questions what I want you to ask yourself is for your product or service why does your business require habit okay let's make sure that we need a habit because we might not necessarily require have it so why does the way that you generate and deliver value to your customers why does it require habit then what problem are users coming to solve what what do you think they're really need is here from using your practice service and then what I want you to ask yourself is how do they currently solve your problem are their problem without your product how do they currently solve that problem and why does it need a new solution now sometimes every once in a while I'll get some bright eyed entrepreneur who will come t...

o me and say no no no near you'd understand there is no way to currently solve this problem our solution is so unique it's so amazing nobody has ever solved this problem for the user before and I always scratch my head I'm a little bit skeptical because if there's really no solution to that problem what does that most likely mean it's probably not a problem exactly because when it comes to these consumer habits there's always a current solution there's always some kind of alternative that scratches the user's ish that gives them what they need now it might be an awful solution, right? I don't care if it's scotch tape and bubble gum I don't care if it's you know six different excel doc stitched together that's ok that's great, actually, but there always has to be some kind of existing solution some kind of alternative that's currently giving the user what they want and you obviously have some kind of reason for believing that your solution is better than the current solution. Okay, so let's, take five minutes. I think we're gonna have cynthia actually come up and do a little exercise with me. We'll do these questions together for for those watching at home and for the rest of you work on your own businesses answering these three first question so will take five minutes and then we'll reconvene. All right, so nice to meet you. Thanks for coming. Um so tell me a bit about your business. So my business photography, lifestyle, photography so I want to be able to document people's history okay? And so what's what's the habit here that you thinking you'd like to create with your users how would you like them to re engage to be able to experiment, I think most people are afraid to be in front of the camera. I mean, we all take pictures of ourselves and we document certain things. But in order for us to be in the photos, we need someone else to be able to take them and document their history. Okay, terrific. So I think actually, a lot of people watching today are from the photography space there's a lot of creative services out there. And so, you know, this is an important question. Do you think your business actually needs a habit? It's a fine line? Because, um, I think it's important that as I said earlier, about being in front of the camera and documenting your lives so that your family has photos to build three to view and experience. So I say it it's a habit? Yeah, definitely. Yeah. And you what do you want that habit, teo quarterly at, you know, by ang lee. Ok, all right, so you think it's something that occurs maybe a couple times a year or so more? And what problem do you think users are coming to solve? I understand the importance of that, okay? Or also especially for women we don't always like being in front of the camera is if we're not looking a certain way and you know I just want you to be in the real andi what because I don't always want to be the pretty posed photo but what's the problem there coming why would they call you what are they trying to solve by using your service what are they trying to solve a mme well you stopped me maybe it's uh you know capturing a moment or preserving a memory or that's exact preserving a memory okay okay great so they want to preserve a moment in time they want to capture a moment and how do they currently solve that problem where they currently going uh I think most people they don't go for lifestyles type of photography and most go propose that one time sitting in front of camera we're all post for the photo okay and what are they using today what are they what solutions are they how are they phones mobile phones okay so your competition is really mobile phones versus other photographers you think oh but definitely both mobile phones primarily because more lifestyle people are more willing to put the camera documenting you know something that's going on at that moment but not necessarily you know in their homes when they're doing their activities you know day to day routine things that they do at home so could your business back to this first question of doesn't require habit do you think your business could could be viable if users didn't call you spontaneously, could you could your business be viable with advertising with search engine optimization with other means? Or does it require some kind of habit? I do think so, but it's important for me to be communicating that so they can understand, like you said, the experience of creating that happen. So one thing that I could see your business really benefiting from a habit is that a lot of these behaviors, if people came to you, spontaneously write unprompted, it would be a lot cheaper, right? You wouldn't have to spend money on advertising even have to spend money on ceo, right, right? The challenge is gonna be we're going to get into a bit of this and the next, and the next question set of questions is the frequency problem all right, that only chris wants her time twice a year, so I think your challenge is going to be how do we engage people more frequently than just when they take a picture, right? And so I think, that's what we're going to the next set of questions here now, just kind of some general questions that people had as we as we started up today. Well, first, I'll read one comment that came in from javy, who says that the reason that jay's turned his tuning in says finding the focus that gets a measurable response input or feedback when using all the social media outlets that's the biggest challenge that they have kind of working with a social media outlets so used to give you a sense of some of the challenges that people have out there right now another general question that came in off the top you talk specifically about a lot of these large companies amazon google twitter but people really want to know what specifically they could do as freelancers a solo preneurs to kind of apply these principles to their business and I know we're going to get into a little bit more of that but that's just sort of a pulse of what people are talking about right now what we brought cynthia boris because he thinks it is exactly that situation so we're going to see so naturally I think the current structure how everybody else's is your competition so to speak is playing the game is without habits so we're going to see if maybe there's an opportunity to form habits around your business that bring people back on their own so you don't have to spend a lot of money and inexpensive advertising and you know spammy messages maybe there's some other way that that might be helpful here any other questions from from you guys here is we get in when you say what does your business require a habit do you mean that does your business requires a brand association in people's heads what does your going into like the advanced advanced mode here? But the question here is does the way that you generate and deliver value to your customers does that necessitate a habit right? Uh plenty of businesses don't write a restaurant on the corner doesn't necessarily have to be a habit doesn't have to be something that's done with little or no conscious thought uh so they could associate your solution as a fixed to their problem or the each but they don't necessarily do it frequently enough right? If they don't figure only laugh you probably don't need you probably don't even write if it's or if it's a one time purchase you know plenty of products aren't actually used their bought but then they're just put away somewhere right? If you think about software that's security soft if we're right we buy it put somewhere it runs in the background we only hear about it if there's a problem insurance right that's something we buy once we don't use it necessarily therefore it doesn't I need a habit another factor might be that the cost to acquire users so ifyou're ltv is high enough you don't need a habit you could just by you sir's right exactly so you can you can acquire customers and all kinds of ways but we want to figure out is are there ways to acquire users to bring them back on their own so let's go to the next exercise here, the next set of questions. What we want to do now is to ask ourselves what's the action that we want to turn into a habit. Now, this is perhaps the most important question you're gonna ask yourself today is what's the behavior? What? The specific action that you want your user, your customer to dio with little or no conscious thought? Ok, that's, super important make sure you're writing this down at home as well. Make sure you're writing this down so that we're gonna build on this. We're gonna bring out the answer to this question several times in today's workshop and then back to this frequency question. How frequently do you expect users to engage? How often would you expect users to do that habit? So if the habit, for example, in cynthia's case is sit down for a portrait session, well, if that only curse twice a year, that doesn't meet that bar we talked about earlier of once a week, right? So that's going to be very difficult to form a consumer habit around. So what cynthia might have to do is, you know, answering that second question seem, I have to say, well, maybe there's a different behavior. Maybe there's something else that that she could dio that could actually be a consumer habit. All right, so go ahead and answer these questions. Let's, take another five minutes on the clock and I'll work with cynthia here. All right? So, um, wait. No, we just discussed here how it may not be necessarily the session itself, out of habit or any other ideas for what you could engage people in more frequently to make a habit. Like, for example, one idea might be. What about some kind of information, right? Maybe there's, some kind of habit around opening a regular email from cynthia. All right, maybe there's something that your faith okay are sharing photos. You know that our documentary like photos they get understand the experience or what I provide for you no can provide perfect. So maybe there's, some kind of communications, some kind of showing your work. You know your your clients don't like. They might be very family focused, maybe there's tips. You could provide them or uh, you know, kind of like that real state example with the agents who, uh one real estate agent said, you know, I want them to call me whenever they have financial stress you know, maybe they're maybe your email is something they opened as a habit with little or no conscious thought because wow, since that cynthia provides these beautiful images and I love to look at, you know, kind of almost maybe pinterest style or something or, uh, how cynthia gives these great tips on things to do in my community, right? Right? Imagine if you know the thing that gets people toe open cynthia's email every week for multiple times a week is here's awesome things to dio in your neighborhood because I'm guessing you're you're geographically only serve customers in certain areas, so imagine if it was like here's great things to do in san francisco and guess what? These air also tremendous photo taking opportunities, right? And sometimes there going toe take those pictures with their smartphone sometimes I'm going to say, hey, cynthia, you know, you told us to go to the beach this weekend, that was a great tip because the weather is looking great and you know what? We'd like you to come along with us as well, so again, the result of engagement will be monetization, so maybe, you know nine times out of ten they don't call you there just looking at your tips and you're giving them value with this email message or maybe an app or maybe whatever it is that form of communication you're giving them this value on a regular basis so that eventually you're top of mind and when they say hey we need a portrait session guess where they're going to call so that might be one one way I've seen infrequent businesses or any frequent services keep customers engaged those are perfect examples any other any other things that come to mind you know I also think that if you had some thought provoking you know, life experience that you share so that's another thing that you could communicate through e mail or instagram or you know the other meetings that we use that would keep them top of mine very cool maybe there's something around actually changing the product that you offer but maybe it's not just hey sit and I'll take a picture of you maybe it's uh send me your photos on a regular basis and I'll make something out of that I'll call them for you I'll pick the best ones for you maybe there's alternative services that you might offer I mean, how many people have you know there there camera rolls overflowing with pictures that haven't been called I'm guessing a professional photographer would know which of those pictures are better than others maybe there's ancillary services that you offer s o that again when they think it's hey it's time tio sit down for an actual session you're top of mind right? So I'm gonna let you keep training turning on these ideas and hopefully I can find other ways to engage people regularly uh in the meantime let's see if there's any any questions perhaps or anybody online who has any questions specific questions here from you guys we do have some that came in on line uh that are not directly related what we're talking about here but just some other people who have have some issues that they want some advice on anything you guys please uh is there ever a in an instance where maybe the methods you're using to create a habit or so far removed from the actual core service or product that you're offering that it might not be a good idea, right? So we're gonna talk about actually the course of the day of the hook model is this four step process and the more distance there is between these four steps, the less likely they habit is to occur. So the goal here is to pass people through these four steps of the process as quickly as possible and so what that specific behavior is aunt how how quickly it occurs has a direct impact, so the longer it takes to solve my problem the less likely it is that the habit will actually take hold so we want that to be is as quickly as possible and we'll get that into that in the next section around how do you figure out when is the right time to trigger people and that's exactly what we're about to do next please uh two things when uh when the uh hurdle to try it the first time is substantial uh, you know, do you find some products just aren't gonna lend themselves to it until there's maurin oration on making it a rambler er that's one and then the other one is that the buffer overload effect of well everyone's trying to engage weekly holy cow I'm never going to read my e mail again think you know, not every product can can engage me right to that extent to value be worth my time. All right? So the first question is a really important question so there's there's three things that are required for a successful product right in my mind this is the oversimplified version they're the last things I have to go right but there's really essentially three things growth, engagement and monetization I call them gems so when I'm looking for companies to invest in companies I work with I look for gems, growth, engagement, monetization everything we're talking about today is just engagement all right, it's just that center that the e the engagement piece now each of those three things is necessary but not sufficient, right? So if you have a product that has a super high engagement let's say you nail your hook but the product's not growing you've only got ten users, right? Or you you can't monetize sufficiently the market isn't big enough. Well, then you've actually got nothing right. Your business won't survive it just saying with growth right, we've seen many companies particularly the tech space that grow but then there what's called leaky buckets the user's leave and they can't stay engaged. All right, so we always have to have all three. So your question caroline around around on boarding that's a growth challenge and for today it sze out of scope for today in terms of you know something that the user has to do tow start using the service in the first place that sometimes it is necessary step that users have to do now there's a lot we can learn from consumer psychology and how to make those steps easier to dio but for today's class I want you to imagine the user has already been on boarded right they have already made the sale into the enterprise and now the software's there now the question is, how can we get people to keep using the product. Okay, that's, really the big question for today. How do we get people to keep using it? So on boarding is a bit out of scope for today's, for today's workshop. Okay, and with that, can we give to the big round of applause for helping out? Thank you.

Class Description

Customers who come back save you time and money. You don’t have to expend as much energy attracting them – they already know you and what you do – and they are a more predictable source of revenue. Learn the science of creating a repeat customer in Hooked: How To Build Habit-Forming Products.

Nir is a writer and thinker whose primary focus is helping businesses unlock the power of habits. In this class, he’ll teach you how to build products and experiences that are inherently “sticky.” 

You’ll learn:

  • The psychology of triggers and how to build them into your product/service
  • How to use variable rewards to increase engagement
  • The stages of habit formation and how to optimize them for better retention

Nir will teach you how habits develop and he’ll show you how to apply those insights to your business – no matter what kind of service or products you sell. You’ll also learn about the common design patterns of habit-forming products.

If you want to lower the cost of doing business by increasing the number of repeat customers you work with, don’t miss Hooked: How To Build Habit-Forming Products. 


a Creativelive Student

The information presented by Nir was excellent and pertinent to today's evolution of business development and success. This was beyond my expectation. There was great material that was stimulating and engaging.

Jason Casher

Loved it! Was thorough and gave a strong sense of direction, as well as clear methods to check to see if you are on right track.


Nir Eyal is great! Insightful, interesting course on how habits are created, established and reinforced.