Why Your Onboarding Experience Matters

The onboarding experience for your users is about reducing all the friction between someone who is new and get them up to speed on using your product or service. You may onboard a new hire by teaching everything he needs to know in order to hit the ground running or onboarding a new product or service. I’ll be discussing the latter.

Onboarding is one of the most important things you can do to grow your product. It’s so important for people to understand how to use your product as fast as possible because this is to get them to that famous “Ah Ha!” moment. Once a customer or a user hits the “Ah Ha!” like “Ah Ha, I get it!!” They are stoked and will actively engage in your product.

People naturally have this fear of change and a fear of learning things such as old Grandma’s

The iPhone’s are pretty easy to use but Apple’s Retail Stores are there to help grandma’s use their iPhone’s and iPad’s. This is a target demographic that can benefit from an iPhone but are not tech savvy. They will have people on-site to sit and walk with them through out the entire process.

Removing the friction as fast as possible is the number one priority. Remove any growth engine’s when onboarding. Remove all the social shares. If you have an email opt-in or any kind of special offer, remove that too. It’s all about getting them up to speed as quickly as possible. Onboarding is your growth engine.

Guide Your Customers

 I get asked all the time on how to write software and my advice is always the same.

Just read and do, read and do.

When the mind knows how to use something, there is no learning to be done and this allows them to engage. I am not battling how to figure out on how to program, I am just writing software and creating. The same is also with a product. When your users know how to use your product, they start to engage.

The smallest details make the biggest difference. When a person engages with your product, it’s important that there is some kind of feedback to let them know what is going on.

Notice in this picture below, the password rules become display as the user starts to type.

The people who use this app do not need to guess what is right or wrong for a person. They know right away.

The best way to get someone to start engaging with the product is to have the product engage with them when getting started. Slack does a phenomenal job at this. You setup your account interacting with the slack bot. This not only fills out the information needed but it gets you messaging and using the app.

Sometimes your product isn’t easy to engage with like slack. For an example, Facebook. Before Facebook, finding your friends and family on the internet was not simple. Facebook’s “Ah Ha!” moment was for you to find your friends and family on the internet as fast as possible. Zuckerberg knew this and when their growth was slowing down, he told the team that their users needed to connect with 7 friends within 14 days. Why 7 friends? This pumped the newsfeed up with enough content for the user to want to keep coming back and stick on the dart board.

A lot of people are pulling their teeth trying to figure out how to keep their users coming back to the application.

Evernote does a fantastic job on this with their on boarding strategy. With Evernote, they setup their drip email campaign not to get the people back into the application and engage but instead Evernote they link their emails to their help articles.

This is brilliant because it’s about getting your users to fully understand how to use your product so that they naturally want to come back and depend on your product every day.

Creating your Onboarding Experience

Every product or offering is going to have a different onboarding experience and it’s not clear on day one how the user on. You need to collect that feedback. Try to meet the people using your product in person or schedule a one-on-one phone call with a new client.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of onboarding people into the way we want them to be onboard but this is a mistake. You need to get into their head and understand their needs in using the product and then tailor the onboarding experience on how they want to use the product. You want them to be successful and to really depend on you for their success.

People don’t like change so when someone is fully on board with your product, they are more likely to stick around and not switch to a competitor.

When You Should Start Your Thinking about Onboarding Experience

Onboarding new users do not need to happen all at once. If your product is not released, spending all your time on the perfect onboarding is not the right path because you don’t even know how your users are going to react yet. It’s more important to focus on product market fit first and getting your MVP out the door then to focus on immediately on your onboarding experience. Break out your onboarding efforts into smaller chunks, start with the registration screen and adding password messaging. It’s more important to get the product out the door. Make a continuous effort to always improve your onboarding experience. As you add more features to your product, you are increasing the complexity.