Onboarding: Why It's Needed and How to Develop It
Onboarding is the process of adapting users to a new product or service.
Imagine a scenario where a customer learns about your product, starts figuring out how to use it, but realizes that the learning curve is steep and time-consuming. As a result, they become disinterested and eventually forget about your product. In this situation, the user remains dissatisfied because they haven't solved their problem, and you miss out on gaining a new customer.
This is precisely where onboarding comes into play – to prevent such situations. Onboarding helps swiftly demonstrate the value of your product and teaches users how to effectively utilize it.
In this article, you will discover why onboarding is essential, how to develop an onboarding strategy, and how to evaluate the results of your onboarding efforts.
What is onboarding and why it is needed
Onboarding is an automated process of introducing individuals to a product. Its goal is to address the customer's problem and assist them in achieving their objectives.
Onboarding communicates the benefits and capabilities of a product or service to the target audience, retains customers, and establishes long-term communication with them.
Example of the client onboarding journey
The goals of onboarding include:
- Introduction and education. Onboarding captures the customer's attention from the first moments. Greetings, highlighting the product's benefits, and providing tips for achieving the desired results create a positive impression of the company's interaction with users.
- Engagement. Customers gain a better understanding of the advantages they will receive from the product through onboarding.
- Retention. A well-designed onboarding process quickly teaches users how to use the product and increases their loyalty.
Many users don't return to services after registration for various reasons: an unclear interface, a complex product to navigate, poor design, or the competitiveness of other companies with better products for various reasons.
To establish long-term communication, it's essential to help the customer achieve their goals and retain their attention. In customer onboarding, the following tools are used:
- Registration form. It collects data to prepare a suitable offer. The form can request information such as the user's name, email, gender, purpose of using the product, and more. However, it's important not to ask too many questions, as this can discourage users.
An example of a survey in Altcrafm Platform
Email marketing. Typically, after registration, users receive a welcome email. It expresses gratitude for subscribing, confirms user data, and may include introductory information about the service, such as guides, articles, and links to useful sections.
Personalization. A great way to retain customers and increase loyalty is through personalization. Use the information users shared during registration to tailor their experience.
Pop-up windows. These tools introduce users to the product, helping them adapt to it more quickly. They can provide insights into your product's features, how to use its tools, and where to find essential information.
Interactive tooltips. Similar to pop-up windows, interactive tooltips appear when a user hovers over various tabs or tools. They offer information and guidance as the user explores the interface.
Videos or tutorials. These can be in the form of articles or videos and help users familiarize themselves with the service's functions, understand its benefits, and provide useful tips.
Online chat. Often found on websites or in applications, online chat allows direct communication between the customer and a company representative or chatbot. It simplifies the user's introduction to the service as they can quickly ask questions.
FAQ and documentation. To assist customers, create a section on your website with documentation or answers to frequently asked questions about your product.
Educational materials within Altcraft Platform
- Educational courses. If your product is complex, consider creating a specialized program of lessons. Start by explaining gradually, from the simplest to the more advanced topics, preferably with practical examples.
How to develop an onboarding strategy
In an ideal scenario, the onboarding process helps the customer achieve their planned goal. While interface and design are undoubtedly important, it's crucial to remember that the most important thing is to demonstrate the value of your product. Let's go through the stages of building an onboarding strategy.
1. Define your target audience
Start by understanding who your customer is: a business owner seeking a comprehensive solution or a specialist in need of a specific tool.
Your target audience can be categorized into two types:
Motivated: These are individuals who know exactly what they need and have a specific goal in mind. For this audience, your onboarding process should immediately showcase the value of your product and assist with its usage.
Exploratory: These are people who do not have a specific task in mind but have stumbled upon your service and decided to visit your website. For this audience, onboarding should demonstrate the problems your product solves and its advantages over competitors. Video tutorials or interactive tooltips may be suitable.
To accurately determine which category a new user falls into, conduct surveys to understand their goals and which features are best suited to address their needs.
2. Create a customer journey map (CJM) and segment your target audience
At this stage, you need to understand how customers discover your service and what obstacles they might encounter. Study customer behavior on your website and app, and develop a Customer Journey Map (CJM). Next, focus on segmentation. Analyze the interests, tasks, and behavior models of users. Divide them into segments and define the main objectives for each group to create effective onboarding experiences.
3. Choose the right tools
Users should have the opportunity to try the specific features that will help them reach their goals. Identify the appropriate tools for each individual task within the onboarding process.
4. Remove the excess
Even if your service is multifunctional, avoid overwhelming users with excessive information. Providing too much information and overly obvious hints can lead to a negative user experience.
How to evaluate onboarding results
Tracking results provides insight into the effectiveness of onboarding. For example, if you create a welcome email campaign, you can see how many people opened it.
Identify why people didn't view the email and what might have gone wrong. Make changes to the onboarding process and reevaluate the results.
A great option is to conduct A/B testing. Create multiple strategies with different tools and test each of them.
It's also essential to check the site/app without onboarding. This way, you can determine the initial conversion rate and evaluate the results of implementing your strategy.
During onboarding testing, the following metrics are assessed:
- Conversion to the desired action. This action can be anything from registering on the site, submitting an application, making a purchase, or adopting specific tools/features.
- User retention. How many users returned? Which onboarding tools contributed to this?
- Churn rate. How many users left or stopped using the product? When did this happen, and which onboarding techniques didn't help?
- Revenue. Calculate how much you earned through onboarding. Determine which tools were used by customers who purchased the paid version of the product.
User onboarding leaves a positive impression on users and helps them achieve their goals. Customers become familiar with the product and learn about its functionality and value.
User onboarding tools include registration forms, email campaigns, personalization, tooltips, interactive prompts, video tutorials, product courses, documentation, and online chat.
User onboarding should be non-intrusive. Avoid overwhelming users with excessive information about your product, refrain from using obvious prompts, and always monitor the results.