Effective user onboarding is one of the most important things you can do to increase registration and site activity. A visitor’s first minute on your site is critical. In that brief timeframe they will make decisions that will determine if they are going to continue to explore and interact with your site or navigate away never to return again. So how can you make the most of that precious time?
1. Allow site visitors to engage with you before registration
We’ve all been duped and scammed online (or at least know of others who have). Maybe you gave your email address to a website only to find your email inbox suddenly inundated with spam. Or possibly you downloaded and installed some free software and now every 10 minutes a popup add appears on screen. No matter what your experience, you don’t trust people online and you don’t give away your personal information to just anyone. When people are prompted to input personal information right at the start, they bounce.
By letting visitors experience what your site has to offer before registration you have the opportunity to (1) showcase the great service/product you have to offer, (2) let them experience the value of your offering, and (3) earn their trust.
Have you ever been to Costco? You know what I love about Costco visits? The samples! As I walk the aisles I can’t help but eat the free food and before I know it I’m checking out with several items I had no intention of buying when I put together my shopping list. Why do they do this? Because they know that once you taste (experience) what they have to offer you are more likely to purchase.
So why do we insist on forcing people to register with only a couple paragraphs of text, a few photos or an instructional video to go on? Wouldn’t it be better to let them taste what we have to offer? And once we see their mouth is watering for more, direct them to the freezer filled with boxes of this yummy stuff and show them that all they have to do is open the freezer door?
2. Once users have experienced your site, offer them something of value
Once visitors have experienced your site it is time to offer them something of value. This could be a badge, a virtual item, the ability to save what they have created, or some virtual currency. Be creative. Ideally this is something that won’t cost you anything but has perceived value to the user.
Lumosity.com is a great example of this. Lumosity.com offers fun games and activities that stimulate your brain and over time improve your memory, attention span, and much more. When you get to their homepage you will see a button labeled “Start Training.” Click it and you will begin the creation of your very own personalized training program. Exciting!
This is how they are wetting your appetite. They cleverly showcase their personalized and fun user experience while simultaneously getting the visitor excited about becoming better at remembering where they put their keys, or how to memorize people’s names when they meet them for the first time.
After a few simple steps, their personalized training program is ready! They are excited to get started and can’t wait to develop the skills they just selected. All they have to do is register quickly and they are ready to go.
Genius, right? This doesn’t cost luminosity anything. In less than a minute they guide visitors along a path that lets them experience their site and build something that the user perceives as valuable.
Conclusion: Applying these principles to your site
Alright, so we have discussed some cool stuff, but before you click away and forget all this, take a moment and evaluate what you are doing with your own sites and how you can improve your onboarding process. Ask yourself the following:
What have we learned?
Visitors are more likely to register once they have experienced the site. Once a visitor has experienced the site offer them something of value to incentivize registration.
How can I apply this to my site? Ask yourself the following:
A. What product/service do we offer?
- Web app example: We have web app that allows people to upload images from Facebook and add text, stickers and other fun items.
- Blog example: We have a blog (targeted at school teachers) that provides access to a plethora of educational articles and training materials. Site members can network with each other, share ideas and collaborate, and upload teaching materials of their own that they want to share with the community.
B. What portion of our offering/service can we provide to “wet the appetite” of potential users?
- Web app example: Maybe we could allow users to upload an image from their Facebook account and edit it.
- Blog example: We could probably allow all visitors access to training materials and articles
C. What do we have of value that we can offer as incentive for registration?
- Web app example: So, we could allow users to upload and edit an image but they have to register to save their work to their profile or share it with friends.
- Blog example: Everyone can access the training materials and articles, but they would have to register to be able to network and interact with other members and to share content.