Best Practices for Onboarding New Users

Best Practices for Onboarding New Users

There are two main types of new users that visit your website. The first type expects you to welcome them wholeheartedly and show them around. While the second type generally prefers that you get out of the way and let them figure things out for themselves.

Now the issue is, if you’re aiming to have your website rank at the top of the charts in your industry, then you will have to cater for both types of users. This means that you will have adopt practices that are regarded as being the most effective for successfully onboarding new users.

Not only that, but you’ll have to keep this fact in mind: Users don’t always want to do the things that you think will make them successful. That’s why you’ll have to maintain a balance between the user experience of onboarding along with the resistance posed by certain steps, including user account creation, education as well as gathering of data. This is easier said than done.

Clearing Up The Fog

Before we proceed any further, let’s clarify what onboarding really is.

Onboarding is a first time run experience that helps new users get your product faster or get to the “aha” moment. The moment when user understands all benefits and simplicity of your solution for his problem.

With that said, good onboarding is a delicate balance between promoting, unobtrusive educating, and self adoption of your product to improve your conversion rates.

The Problem and Its Solution

The truth is, good onboarding is not easy. I It takes careful planning and implementation of such plans to successfully manage new users and provide them the experience they desire.

Thankfully, there are some practices that help to simplify things for all those people who want to get new users onboard. The following are some of the best practices that you can apply to get results just like the “pros”.

Learn From The Best

Regardless of what you want to learn, it makes the most sense to learn from the best. To get a fair idea, just browse around and try signing up with the big guns such as Gmail, Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr. Only this time, you should slow down and take notes on the entire process. Spend some time to see which sites are using social logins, and which one’s aren’t.

For each website, notice how comfortable you are with their sign up process. By jotting down all of these things, you will be in a better position to decide what’ll work best for you.

The 5 Trends and Strategies for Onboarding New Users

The following 7 trends are used by professionals for designing effective onboarding.

1. Add Social Login

Social logins provide users with a one-click sign up functionality. By using social logins, you can enable your users to create accounts on your website using their existing social network accounts, such as Twitter, Google or Facebook.

According to one consumer research firm, one-click registration and sign in effectively fights ‘account fatigue’. A survey carried out in 2013 on The Value of Social Logins revealed that roughly 92% of people simply left a website without getting into the hassle of recovering their login details, and almost a third of them do this on a regular basis.

Social login is a must if you want your website to offer a user-friendly and personalized online experience.

social login

2. Offer a Clear Path toward Completion

Abandonment is reduced significantly by those websites that offer a structured set of steps. This makes a lot of sense. If new users are aware of the number of steps they have to take to complete the signup process, there’s a greater chance that they will stick around and complete the process.

This kind of transparency can reward a website through increased patience from users. Most of the popular social networking websites, including Facebook and LinkedIn, offer numbered steps throughout the registration process.


3. Create Value for the Users Earlier

In order for a new user to become active, you have to make sure your application provides them with experience value as soon as possible. The churn rate is directly proportional to the steps between sign up and value.

This is precisely why top websites lace emphasis on the steps that they know are user retention Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). The main objective in designing an effective onboarding experience is to get users to the point where they can get experience value from the product as quickly as possible.

4. Progressive Profiling

Progressive profiling is where you reduce the amount of information that has to be entered by the user when signing up. Today, the best approach is to allow users to build their profiles progressively.

This is done by requesting them to enter the bare minimum amount of information during the sign up process. Here, you must maintain a delicate balance in the amount of information you ask for:

  • If you ask too much, the user may simply take off during signup.
  • If you ask too little, the user may get very little value from your web site.

The best examples of this include Tumblr, Facebook and LinkedIn – all of these allow users to progressively complete their profiles over time.

progress profiling

5. Ability to Upgrade

There’s no doubt that brand new users are motivated, and it is this motivation that makes onboarding a perfect moment for converting them into paying customers. If users are spending time to register for an account and download your software, that means that they have a strong belief that you can provide a solution to their problem.

Just look at the famous freemium models like Vimeo and Dropbox – they give their users an opportunity to upgrade.


The Finale: Correct Way to Onboard Users

Whichever method or strategy you adopt to onboard users for your site will mainly depend on your business model. There are a few questions that you should be able to answer before choosing any one particular method:

  1. What should you know about your users in order to be able to provide them an excellent experience?
  2. What do you have to offer that can hook them into using your product or service?
  3. If there is friction in your onboarding process, what are the benefits, and what costs are involved?
  4. How can you motivate new users to complete the sign up process despite the added friction?

You may not be able to answer these questions right away. It may take some time and experimentation to unfold. Nonetheless, it is hoped that the examples and ideas given above have been effective in pointing you in the right direction.

Always remember that you should never be afraid to try different methods to see how users react. Stay positive and keep experimenting with different ideas and eventually you’ll find one that suits your website and user base perfectly.

What do you think is most essential in building onboarding experience that really works? Are you aware of the latest trends related to onboarding? Leave a comment!.