6 min read
When you meet a new person, there’s a small window of time for you to make the best impression of yourself. How you carry yourself – your kindness, openness, friendliness, humor, etc. – is going to impact whether or not your new friend is actually going to become a friend. They’re casing you out to find out if you’re worth their time.
If you’re like me, it doesn’t take too long to get a feel for what someone is about and if they are someone I really want to keep spending time with. Call it woman’s intuition or whatever, sometimes when you know, you know. This same situation happens every time you have a new email subscriber, product buyer, or course member.
As a blogger, you’re constantly putting yourself out in front of new people asking them to be your friend. That means you need to be on your best behavior right from the start, because chances are you’ll have a couple potential friends like me that will know within the first few minutes of contact if they’re ready to invest their time and money in you and your brand.
The best way to make a great impression? Wow them with your onboarding.
This is the process a new customer goes through when signing up to your site. It can happen when they buy a product or subscribe with their email address. And it can look totally different company to company. Depending on what your business is and how you operate, your onboarding could be as simple as a walk-thru of your site or multi-staged with videos, screencasts, and games.
Onboarding is super important because, like I just said, it’s the first glimpse your new customer has at who you are. Those first few minutes really set the tone for your interaction and continuing relationship. You know that they’re at least somewhat interested in you if they’ve come this far, so don’t drop the ball now.
It may be crazy to believe, but churn often happens in those first few interactions. In fact, 40 to 60% of software users will open an app once and never log in again. As quickly as customers sign up, they are just as quick to drop off. That’s why it’s super important to put your best foot forward right at the first point of contact and keep up with some good vibes for the days and weeks after.
Think about what makes you want to give up when trying to complete a task. Is it because you can’t see an end to the process? Are the steps confusing? Do you feel alone? Is it difficult to find help?
Now that you’ve figured out the pain points, how can you take those bumps out of the road for your customer?
Before we get into a couple tips, let me say one thing that will stand as your checkpoint while you’re creating your onboarding process:
Focus on the experience and not the product.
Remember when we talked about promoting your course as a solution instead of an offer? You can apply that same concept here, and again, it’s the most important concept to grasp.
Instead of focusing on your product in the onboarding process, focus on your audience’s experience through it. How can you make the process as simple, welcoming, and fun as possible so that it doesn’t feel like a chore? How can you create a flow that feels personable and informative at the same?
You want your customer to feel known, heard, and appreciated. If you can accomplish that, you’ve created a new friend for life.
Now that I’ve set the stage, here’s a couple tips to help you create a welcoming onboarding process.
The first thing you do when you greet someone is to say “hello”. Send an email or have a pop up that shows off your charm and can start things off on a personal level. Use first name variables so you can greet them in style, thank them for joining you, and let them know what you hope they get through your relationship. Use this as an opportunity to introduce yourself and let your customer know you’re a human.
Here’s a bit of how Jean from Artful Parent does it:
When you’re filling out forms and answering question after question, you might not see the light at end of the tunnel. Don’t leave your customers in the dark about where they are in onboarding process.
Start off by telling them how long it might take, how many questions there are to answer, or create a bar or graphic that shows which stage of the process they’re in. It helps to know if you’re two steps away or 20 steps away from the finish the line. Etsy does this well by highlighting which of the five stages a customer is in.
Keep it simple
New systems can be super overwhelming to a new user no matter how simple they actually are. To avoid dumping 10 steps on the first screen, break up the process into bite-sized pieces. It’s way more manageable and your customer will feel accomplished the more boxes they can check off.
Also, if you just need an email address, don’t ask for their name, birth date, or how they take their coffee. Keep it basic and just ask for the minimum amount of what you need. Customers can go back through and fill out preferences later on when they’re deeper in the system.
Elle & Company keeps it simple by giving you options of which path you want to learn more about.
Use your product
Do you have a product that you could demo through your onboarding? Creating games for your customer to play during the onboarding steps will give them a great intro to where the buttons are and how to actually use your tool. It’s fun AND informative.
Canva, a design tool for non-designers, does a great job of with their Beginners Challenge.
Make it skippable
Some people just don’t want all the info. They’re the learn-it-on-their-own types and will want to figure it out on their own time and in their own way. To accommodate customers like this, it’s best to always have an option to jump over all the info and just get down to business.
Onboarding should be about the experience your customer has more than your product. You’ll get to geek out of over your blog, application, or tool as much as you want once the customer is settled in, but you have to get them settled first. They’ll never get to your product if they can’t get past the sign-up page.
The main thing to remember is to be hospitable. So think about how you want to be treated when you walk into a new space and create that same feeling for your customers.
Have you ever hit a roadblock in during onboarding that made you want to give up? What advice would you give to help your fellow bloggers create a seamless flow?