From Users to Experts: Fostering the Knowledge Economy
May 5, 2022
⌚ 5 min read
→ Your growth practice
Enable your users to become experts and transform their product-related expertise into monetizable services.
→ Quick explanation
Some users will gain expert-level knowledge about your software. As a result, they may decide to leverage and monetize their expertise by offering their services to other users who want to make the best out of your software.
📓 Users: People who use your SaaS product to achieve a specific goal. You can acquire trial, non-paying, or paying users.
📓 Experts: Users who became product-proficient and can consult, train, or assist other people using your software.
→ How does it work?
Combining their product knowledge and entrepreneurial skills, some users will leverage their expertise, transforming it into monetizable services. In other words, they’ll consult and assist other people on how to make the most out of your software. These users will build entire knowledge networks by becoming product experts, getting more people interested in your product. Moreover, they’ll help you create a knowledge infrastructure you’ll be able to refer to when acquiring new customers.
→ Types of experts
Enthusiastic experts: Some users will call themselves experts without the necessary credentials if the platform doesn’t offer any official training and certification. The lack of this certification, though, won’t stop them from helping their clients to get to the desired outcome.
Certified experts: Some SaaS platforms are more strict regarding experts, offering special training programs. The preparation level will allow these companies to accept or deny experts access to their branded specialist directories.
→ Types of third-party expert services
Consultancy: One-on-one sessions between users and experts on different software-related subjects.
Training: A structured one-on-one program created by experts to help users gain and maximize their software-related knowledge and skills.
Done-for-your services: Instead of consulting users on making the most out of a platform, some experts will do the work for their clients. For example, instead of showing a user how to maximize Webflow, the expert will help the user create a website with Webflow.
→ Types of expert directories
In-house directories: Some companies will create specialist directories, listing those offering product-related services.
Third-party directories: Although Notion provides an Experts Directory, you can also find Notion experts on platforms such as Codemap. As a matter of fact, Codemap serves as a directory for no-code experts that can assist people with platforms such as Webflow, Bubble, Airtable, and more. Heep, a no-code expert directory is another example. If you search for Coda experts, you won’t find anything (yet). However, you can discover Coda experts on Heep.
→ Your growth opportunities
By encouraging users to accumulate software-related expertise and transform it into monetizable services, you’ll generate multiple growth opportunities, such as:
Increase brand awareness and recognition. Experts will automatically promote your software when promoting their services through content creation, social media marketing, or email campaigns.
Retaining existing users. Experts are key to consulting or assisting your existing user in making the most out of your software. The greater the value people derive from your platform, the stronger their commitment to continue using it.
Ensure a higher product adoption rate thanks to experts who’ll consult and assist your future and existing users in deploying your software efficiently.
Build a knowledge economy around your product and consolidate the industry leadership of your brand.
Extend beyond your network and reach out to new audiences and micro-niches (those belonging to your experts).
Acquire new users and customers from external networks (belonging to your experts).
Will my platform users benefit from working with experts? Will they maximize their results?
In terms of time and effort, will my users benefit from hiring experts providing done-for-you services?
Will certifying experts make a quality difference between enthusiastic and professional specialists?
You’ve developed an intricate product that provides various features, use cases, and capabilities.
People need a certain level of expertise to make the most out of your product.
It takes time to learn and deploy your product.
Your product allows done-for-you services.
Your users will benefit from delegating their product-related work to experts in terms of time and effort.
→ Your action framework
➡Assess whether you need to certify or not your product experts.
➡If you’ll certify your product experts, it’s necessary to build a Certification or Validation program that will consolidate their positioning as experts.
💡 To consider: Notion offers a certification program for its consultants. According to Notion, the program is designed for Notion power users who want to validate their skills and earn a certification badge.
To get Certified, people have to request a Notion Certified invitation. Once they’re granted access, they’ll have to pass a 90 minutes exam and complete 60 multiple-choice questions. To become certified, people have to answer 70% of the questions correctly. If they score below 70%, they will be able to retake the exam in 30 days.
After passing the example, the newly Notion-certified consultants will receive an email with their certification and a link to the Certification Hub, where they’ll be able to access their badge.
➡Create an Expert Directory on your page.
➡Get people to submit an application and become an official brand expert.
For example, Webflow allows the application of Professional and Enterprise Partners. To be accepted into the Webflow Expert directory, the Professional Partners have to meet a specific set of requirements, including elements such as:
Completing a minimum of 3 client projects
Creating a landing page on their website showcasing their Webflow services offering To become a Miro expert, people have to submit an application. It’s worth noting that Miro is accepting applications from teams that have been actively promoting and using Miro for at least one year.
Finally, Airtable has a Consultant Program Waitlist. As specified, Airtable doesn’t add new consultants into their current cohort, but they have a waitlist. People are encouraged to apply and be the first to know when the Consultants program will open up again.
➡Create personalizable pages or profiles for your experts. This way, people will be able to describe themselves and highlight their expertise. Here’s a Webflow Experts example. And here’s an example from Notion.
💥 To remember: Ensure a higher degree of expert quality by creating a certified training program and certification exams for your experts. Once users pass your exam, they’ll get a certification, gaining the green light to enlist in your expert directory.