December 8, 2023

7 Product-Led Growth Examples From Companies Worth Studying

Nate Turner
Nate Turner

Getting a prospective customer into your product isn’t a one-size-fits-all journey.

That’s why we’ve assembled a list of companies that have found different yet equally effective ways for their customers to find them and get started within the walls of their products.

Approaches range from content strategies, page optimizations, onboarding experiences, and interactive product demos to in-app tours, freemium pricing tier options, and viral loops.

Explore these product-led growth examples from established companies that have earned their status as the best. And check out some of the newer but no less impressive companies finding their own ways to grow in today’s financially turbulent soils.

1. Zapier — Product-led SEO

Product-led SEO is often another word for programmatic SEO. At its core, it means using a templated approach and data source to automatically generate pages.

It’s tough to do for two reasons:

  1. You need technical know-how to pull it off.
  2. It works best for companies who can build their core product functionality into the website experience.

Zapier winds up on every list — and probably will until the end of time — because it’s one of the few companies in the B2B tech space to actually pull off revenue-generating product-led SEO.

Their product offers zaps to connect 1,000s of apps and software platforms. Since so many users search “how to connect x to y,” Zapier uses exactly what people query in Google to build pages for each product solution they offer.

Example pictured below.

Sceenshot of a Zapier Zap page for connecting HubSpot to Google Sheets

2. Ahrefs — Optimized product-led content

Many companies do this now in some way, shape, or form, but Ahrefs is the go-to model to study when it comes to sliding your product into the content covertly.

They’ve shown us all how to take a task or hurdle and solve it using their product — without telling us to use their product explicitly.

For example, if you land on their blog post about “how to do keyword research,” they’ll objectively teach you how to go about it. What makes the content product-led is that you’re looking at screenshots from inside their product while you’re learning.

You could use SEMrush to follow the instructions in the blog post, because the piece is informational enough to enable all readers to get the job done. But it’d be easier if you could follow along with the provided screenshots and written instructions.

Screenshot from Ahrefs blog showing their own product to the reader

Recommended Reading: Product-led content: What it is, why you need it, and examples to show you how to build it

Even Natalie Marcotullio brought up how influential Ahrefs has been when it comes to understanding the value of product-led growth content as she talked about the use of more interactive product demos being placed into blog content.

3. Appcues — Onboarding, an educational website, and company evangelists

Appcues does a stellar job of getting you into the product quickly and for free. A couple of form fills and a few prompts to help personalize what parts of the product you’re introduced to first, and you’re in.

It’s impressive, and all it’ll cost you is your email address. Once you’re in, they’ll automatically guide you through the most important functionalities.

Screenshot of several Appcues onboarding prompts

If you’re like us, you prefer learning from companies who understand the power of content. 

The Appcues content team, led by Ramli John, has taken it upon themselves to become one of the go-to places on the internet for educational resources. This includes an academy featuring experienced voices in the PLG space and an entire microsite, PLG Collective, designed to connect people to educational materials and other PLG leaders.

Screenshot of Appcues nav and all their education resources

In addition, we recently had Ramli talk about the power of building audiences around company evangelists — a role he and several of his teammates at Appcues have taken on.

They’re finding ways to create content, grow their social platforms, and speak on behalf of the brand to foster the trust and sincerity only found in person-to-person relationships (as opposed to person-to-brand relationships).

You can view the whole episode here.

4. Pendo — In-app product tours and choose-your-own-adventure demos

One of the best ways to engage your freemium or free trial users is to conveniently help them with training prompts that direct their attention to the quickest, lightest-lift wins.

Pendo uses in-app product tours and onboarding flows to help users get started with their product and get the most out of it.

When I told Pendo that I’d like to try their product, all I had to do was enter my email address — and I was in. Then they asked what I wanted to see with their product, and they continued to usher me down a personalized path.

Screenshot of Pendo UI prompting you to take a tour through their product

Andrew Capland of Delivering Value also brought up Pendo in one of our recent Content That Grows episodes as an example of what the future of PLG onboarding will look like.

5. Trainual — Interactive product demos

We’re Trainual customers, and we like the product, but that’s not why they made it onto our PLG example list.

Instead, it was Natalie Marcotullio from Navattic who brought up how wildly successful Trainual’s interactive product demos have been for the company.

According to Navattic’s case study, this product-led growth motion has been so successful that it resulted in a 450% lift in free trial signups. It also achieved a 100% lift in users reaching activated trial status seven days after signup.

Source: Mutiny

6. Scribe — Freemium base level and killer SEO & content program

There are several reasons why Scribe stands out as a worthwhile case study for other PLG SaaS products. 

First, it’s free. Our team has used it with Trainual to help us build SOPs across departments. And the free version is simple to get into and immediately start using. You feel the value instantly because it does what it says it will, and the free version does enough for many people.

Second, they’re running a robust and aggressive content program with a core emphasis on SEO. Given the horizontal potential of their product (applying to almost every industry), they’re putting on a clinic regarding how speed-to-publishing can help you quickly find the topics that move the needle.

If you want to hear exactly how their content program operates and why they approach it the way that they do, check out this podcast episode with their current head of content.

7. Calendly and its viral loop

We’ve all heard stories of the famous viral loops of companies like Dropbox or Hotmail (ancient reference).

But one you’re more familiar with and that illustrates the power of building viral loop potential into your products is Calendly.

We’ve all received a Calendly link and were immediately relieved that it was so easy to use. No need to exchange emails back and forth with your colleague or prospect about all the available times on their calendar over the next two weeks.

And the best part is that receiving an invite means you’re experiencing how great the product is, and you’re not the customer yet. Want this kind of smooth meeting exchange with the other people you work with? Great! Simply click the Calendly link on the calendar invite you received, and you, too, can become a customer.

Screenshot of a Calendly invite

Learn more about product-led growth from our other content

At Ten Speed, we focus on providing PLG SaaS companies with growth-generating content and SEO. If you want to learn more about our expertise in this space, check out any of the following articles or podcasts.

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