Expensify, a leading expense management platform, stands out as a beacon in the realm of product-led growth. Their success isn't just about numbers — though the numbers are impressive (a 62% revenue increase in 2021 speaks for itself, don’t you think?).
The root of Expensify’s growth stems from their innovative approach to product development, complemented by a strong word-of-mouth adoption among its user base. They’ve cracked the code when it comes to PLG — their product really is doing all the legwork (with a little help from a growth marketing agency, but we’ll get to that later).
First Page Strategy’s founder and CRO had the opportunity to chat with Joanie Wang, Director of Marketing and Brand at Expensify, on a recent episode of Remotely Cultured. In this article, we’ll break down three essential PLG tips from Joanie herself so you can understand how to build and market a product that truly sells itself.
Let Your Users Take the Lead
Customers will always trust personal recommendations over advertising — it's an unwritten law of marketing. Instead of inundating potential users with ads and endorsements, let your most satisfied customers be your vocal ambassadors to help you build your brand. But how can product-led companies foster such organic promotions?
Start by creating meaningful engagements. Consider holding regular check-ins or feedback sessions with your users. Highlight user success stories or offer platforms like community forums where they can share their experiences, tips, and tricks and connect with fellow users. This fosters community, and community naturally drives advocacy and authentic growth.
Additionally, consider hosting user-generated content competitions. Encourage your customers to share their success stories, product hacks, or unique use cases on their social platforms, and reward the best ones. This not only amplifies your product's capabilities but also fosters a sense of community and belonging among users.
As Joanie insightfully mentions, "It's always more impactful to hear from a third party about how great [a company] is versus from [the company] itself." So invest in those third-party voices — your customers — and watch as they become the most authentic promoters of your product.
Ensure Your Product Can Be Easily Shared
The easier your product can be shared, the easier it will be to attract more users.
Consider Expensify's strategy. They've ingeniously designed an app that users not only love but also feel compelled to introduce to their entire team. The magic lies in how seamless it becomes for teams to integrate and enjoy the platform, making the transition from potential interest to loyal usage, or even from a free plan to a paid plan, almost inevitable.
Joanie provides a key insight: ensuring your platform is user-friendly and incorporates a rewarding referral program makes all the difference. It’s all about embedding user-to-user sharing into your product development to sustain continuous growth.
A simple "Refer a Friend" program is a great place to start. If a current user refers someone and that person becomes a paying customer, reward both with a month of premium access or a discount. This creates a win-win scenario, where your users feel rewarded for their loyalty, and you gain a potential long-term customer.
Explore Additional Marketing Channels to Achieve Next-Level Growth
Success in the PLG realm starts with a stellar product — a product so intuitive, so valuable that users champion its virtues without any formal prompting. This organic advocacy, powered by word-of-mouth and genuine user engagement, can lead to impressive initial growth. Expensify is a prime example of this — their product's efficacy and user-centric design have driven impressive organic growth all by itself.
While many SaaS companies might enjoy self-propelled growth initially, there inevitably comes a stage where marketing plays a pivotal role in achieving higher revenue goals and reaching the next phase of expansion. As companies grow and evolve, they are confronted with greater competition and changing market demands. Exploring additional marketing strategies becomes the key to harnessing new opportunities, fortifying brand presence, and ensuring sustained success in an ever-evolving landscape.
To elevate their already upward trajectory, Expensify recognized the value of collaborating with a seasoned PLG marketing agency — and they found us.
Joanie says, “As we evolve and grow as a company, we need a bunch of foundational support to build on top of that word-of-mouth. We've always had SEO, we've always done SEM, but we're working with FPS to really accelerate and drive that growth even faster than we could just in-house alone.”
Expensify's collaboration with First Page Strategy exemplifies the transformative power of joining a stellar product with a tailored agency approach. While Expensify's product was already turning heads, our partnership has taken their digital presence to new heights. We took the great work Expensify was already doing and elevated it through holistic strategy development, brand refinement, SEO optimization, meticulous marketing analytics, and more. As a result, Expensify has already witnessed a surge in traffic and user acquisition.
Expensify's partnership with First Page Strategy is a great example of what’s possible when an excellent product collaborates with a specialized agency. Teaming up with FPS has allowed Expensify to hone their brand narrative, strategize for larger growth goals, and ensure they remain a dominant player in their niche.
Amplify Your PLG Success with FPS
Is your PLG company ready for its next phase of growth? Learn more about how FPS is helping Expensify reach the next level on Remotely Cultured.