Triggers, the first phase of the Hook Model, serve as a call to action. People do the things that they do based off of cues that signal what they should do. There are two types of triggers: external and internal.
External triggers can take one (or several) of the following forms:
- Paid - advertising, marketing, etc; generally effective but costly and is unsustainable in the long-run
- Earned - free, however these often require time spent on creating "virality" (i.e. press, viral videos, featured app placements)
- Relationship - involves users spreading the word about the product, creating highly desired hyper-growth; requires building engaged user base that is passionate about the product
- Owned - users themselves become accountable for any triggers that they receive (i.e. notifications) upon consenting to a sign-up or opt-in
Internal triggers, on the other hand, "manifest automatically into your mind as a result of thought, emotion, or routine". These are developed once a habit has been established or often times as the first response to a negative emotion such as discomfort, pain or fear. Internal triggers are established once a pain point has been identified and the product serves as a solution; this is the ultimate goal of a habit-forming product.
200 Words a Day leverages several of the aforementioned triggers to spur writers into action, particularly relationship and owned external triggers. When members of the 200WAD community comment on other members' posts, they are creating incentive for users to keep writing, a relationship trigger. This does not necessarily drive new user acquisition, but it may help to keep current writers using the product. However, I would argue that many fellowship members keep coming back to the site proactively. In the process they experience several notable owned triggers, including the countdown to the time remaining left to write for the day and the large "Write" button at the top of the page, both of which prompt writers to act.
According to Eyal, "owned triggers prompt repeat engagement until a habit is formed". Ah, now this is where things get interesting. Since, in my humble opinion, most users come back to the site on their own accord (owned trigger) to write, habits are most likely formed which leads to internal triggers. In fact, Basile himself writes in the FAQ section of the site: "200 Words a Day is a free open online writing group where the members get into a writing habit and improve together". Once the habit has been established, writing each day feels a part of our routine.
Well, this post turned out a little longer than I would have liked. I will try to keep them more concise going forward. Next up - the action.