onboarding process

How to improve your user onboarding process

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Mariano Rodríguez
Jun 27, 2018

As they say in the hotel business – there’s only one chance for a first impression. It’s vital that you have an effective user onboarding process from the start. You have worked hard to drive traffic to your site and actually getting people to signup for your product. You need to do everything you can to engage people immediately during your user onboarding process to avoid losing valuable leads.

The focus of your user onboarding process should be to communicate the value of your product to your users immediately and show them exactly how to implement your product into their business processes. If there is any friction or a misunderstanding of the value of your product, no matter how amazing it is, users will leave even before finishing your onboarding. Sometimes even the smallest changes to user onboarding can make a huge difference in how users adopt your product, increasing retention and reducing churn.

Here are simple ways to improve your user onboarding process to reduce churn and ignite exponential growth:

Add a social element to your user onboarding process:

The most successful products that spread like wildfire are ones that include a communal or social element. People are used to interacting online and feel drawn to return to places where there is collaborative activity much more. The chances of users returning are much greater when there is a social element. You have to facilitate in building that habit. In the onboarding process, invite users to invite other colleagues and have some sort of collaborative element. With Canva, when you sign up, you’re encouraged to invite others to collaborate with you on your designs which is perfect for teams. The more people relying on your product to successfully work together or communicate better, the more likely they are to stay engaged long term and adopt it faster. And more users is always more users. You can even reward users with something of value for inviting others like Dropbox, who offers more free storage space to those who do. Very few wouldn’t for real value!

onboarding process

Make clear, actionable CTAs throughout the onboarding process:

Depending on how complex your product is, it’s important to guide users effectively through the process without leaving them lost clicking around. It used to be that you would “figure it out as you go” but users are less willing to dedicate time to figuring your product out. You can’t assume because you understand your product that users will know where to go and what to do. Right from logging in, it should be clear where they should be clicking and engaging next. Have clear, actionable CTAs that guide users through your product in a intuitive way. For example, in Hibox users are prompted to set up their profile, upload a photo, create chat streams, invite users to chat streams, and

user onboarding process

Take users through an action to complete the onboarding process:

You onboarding process should inspire further individual action right away rather that just give a tour. Once you go over the basics, you should guide users through an action that shows the value of your product in context of their own work. For instance, you complete Beamer’s onboarding process by creating your first post complete with scheduling a time, adding images, links etc. If users get a feel for how they can start using your product for their own work right away, they are more likely to adopt it faster and stick to using your product.

Add a progress bar or checklist:

We naturally gravitate towards check lists, numbers lists, etc because we like the process of working towards a visible end. Users will feel your onboarding process in more manageable if they see an end and will be compelled to finish it if you include a checklist or progress bar. It’s a very small detail but makes a difference in how frustrated or engaged new users will be.

onboarding process

Don’t describe all your features in your user onboarding process:

It’s tempting to want to introduce all of your product’s features at one time to users but that’s definitely not what they want. You may see the value of all of your features but new users will not right away. It’s also just too much to learn at once and can be confusing. A good way to determine what you should showcase during your onboarding process is to look at what your most successful users rely on the most. Focus on this during the onboarding process to show new users the most valuable parts of your product first. Introducing and explaining other features can come later.

Engage users with all parts of your product with Beamer updates:

Your onboarding process should be about setting up long term engagement. You should never stop engaging with users and showing them how to get the most value out of your product. As mentioned before, a lot of information that you want to share with users doesn’t need to be part of the onboarding process but should be somewhere central where users can find it. Using Beamer, you can share updates on new features, ways to use your product, and company news to keep users engaged and exploring. Beamer is an in-app newsfeed that opens right within the interface. Users can scroll through to see all of your updates – new and from the past. Instead of sending emails which typically get low engagement, users can find all updates in one permanent place. You can use photos, videos, and GIFs to visually explain your updates and create mini “tutorials” on how to better use your product. It’s a great way to get users exploring other features and keep them engaged beyond the user onboarding process.  

onboarding process

The more effective and engaging your user onboarding process is at the beginning, you will save thousands of dollars instead of wasting customer acquisition costs on users who will disappear. The more loyal, engaged users you have at the beginning, the more likely you are to spark the exponential growth necessary for a successful product. Try Beamer as a part of your onboarding process and to guarantee long term engagement.