Cultivating Organic Growth with Viral Loops — Guillem Ros Salvador, Hevy

Cultivating Organic Growth with Viral Loops — Guillem Ros Salvador, Hevy

On this episode: We talk with Guillem about how Hevy got traction early on, growing without paid marketing, and why you might not want to raise your price, even if customers would pay more.

On this episode: We talk with Guillem about how Hevy got traction early on, growing without paid marketing, and why you might not want to raise your price, even if customers would pay more.

Top Takeaways

💰 Don’t be afraid to experiment with gating 100% of your content. Not only can this result in a significant lift in paid users, in cases where an app requires some effort from the user (such as with meditation), getting them committed with a free trial early on can boost engagement levels versus free users.

⚠️ Promoting your strongest performing plan at the expense of your others doesn’t always have a positive effect. Let’s say your annual plan might display the best performance in terms of revenue or retention, giving it too much prominence can cause lower intent users to sign-up for it, leading to fewer trial-to-paid conversions. In these cases, giving users choice could produce the best results.

👪 Users on family plans can show the strongest retention rates. When users subscribe to your app as part of a family or group, there’s a degree of accountability involved: if one member is using it, then the others are less likely to want to cancel as a result.

🗣️ When designing onboarding experiences, think about the product and lifecycle messaging together. Having the option of communicating with users both in and out of the app means you can get more creative with your onboarding — for instance, offering a “prize” for completing the first month, and using email to remind users when they’re lagging behind.

💬 Some apps will benefit from referral schemes that are less transactional. Rather than receive some monetary reward, some apps’ users are more motivated by the intrinsic reward of being helpful. But you can experiment with more unique benefits for being a top referrer, such as exclusive content or in-person events****

Top Takeaways

🏛️ When shaping your MVP, establish a clear framework to guide your product development. Particularly for small teams or those bootstrapping, maintaining a lean approach is crucial. Identify your product's three core pillars, which will inform your decisions on which features to retain or eliminate.

🪞 Do you believe if you build it, they will come? That might be the case occasionally, but launching a new app can prove challenging. A practical initial strategy, covering roughly 80% of your bases, is to mirror successful competitors: target the same keywords, implement similar tactics. This isn't a long-term strategy, but it will position you ahead of those who do nothing and attract an initial user base.

🤝 When developing a social app, be cautious about how pricing changes might undermine user trust. If your app is predicated on social sharing, frequent or radical pricing experiments could incite negative discussions among your users. However, if you consistently offer good value, your users are likely to share this positive sentiment.

🪴 Cultivating organic growth early on primes your app for sustainable expansion, with paid acquisition serving as an effective boost. Growing primarily through organic strategies – such as social viral loops or App Store Optimization (ASO) – ensures your app's growth is not overly dependent on costly advertising, which can influence your pricing model.

🤹One of the perks of building a small team? It facilitates a concentrated focus on what's best for the product. While the allure of the indie route – keeping things super lean with minimal costs – can be tempting, it can hamper your growth scale. A team not only brings in diverse skills but also provides a buffer between product ideation and implementation.

About Guillem Ros Salvador

👨‍💻 CEO and co-founder of Hevy, a leading gym workout tracker and planner app for iOS and Android.

💪 Guillem and his co-founder took the basic idea of Strava to create a community-focused weightlifting app. Hevy has been downloaded more than two million times so far.

💡 “We try to take in as much feedback as possible. We ask for feedback all the time inside the app, and we're always in contact with users by email. That seems to be a great way to just gather feedback.”

👋 LinkedIn | Twitter

Links & Resources

Check out Hevy

Work with Hevy

How Hevy was built

Read about Guillem’s journey

Connect with Guillem on LinkedIn

Connect with Guillem on Twitter

Episode Highlights

[2:06] Building dreams: After five years of app building, Guillem learned from failures to move from mobile gaming into fitness (as both a hobby and a profession).

[5:28] Pain point analysis: Moving from triathlons to the gym, Guillem realized the missing ingredient was community.

[7:45] Rapid 1.0 ship: Ruthless cutting and asking the key question of what the real MVP is was the key to shipping quickly. Tracking, analytics and social were the foundations of their MVP.

[13:25] Burgeoning communities: Sometimes, single-digit downloads are the spark you need to get going — and that can give you insight, understanding and word-of-mouth growth. Then, one day, the communities pop up.

[19:00] Ramen profitable: Within a year and a half, Guillem was working on Hevy full-time. Germany’s unemployment benefits went some way in helping him get there.

[23:09] Two million downloads: Compounding word of mouth and a slew of New Year's resolutions vaulted Hevy to the next level — sustained with a good product.

[26:22] Pricing thoughts: Guillem and his partner quickly realized that because Hevy was higher-quality and more social than competitors, they could keep the price low and still turn a profit.

[29:53] Near-zero acquisition costs: Even the behemoths didn’t pay to acquire users in the early days.

[34:44] Hiring management: Hevy’s team of 10 keeps operations lean while broadening their vision more than Guillem and his partner could alone.