How we increased our onboarding completion rate by 10% in three months
This article was written by Moran Katan, head of product at EverThere.
As a SaaS company we know the onboarding process is key in getting our users to capture the full value of our offering. As the old adage warns there is no second chance to make a first impression, and with SaaS there is no one to hold your hand, and walk you through each step. First time user experience is critical in a time of fierce competition for the time and attention of our users.
Specifically, in the case of EverThere, we were introducing a new concept for lead generation, one where our users could collect qualified leads at highly relevant industry events through a digital gift bag. Because the concept and process was new for most of our users, it was essential to reduce friction and confusion throughout the onboarding process.
Know your onboarding
The first thing you need to understand is where your onboarding process starts and where it ends. Defining the starting point is often pretty easy (usually sign-up) but determining its end can be trickier. Is this about completing the registration? Activation? Exploring the core value? What are the absolute mandatory steps required to bring the user to success? For EverThere, the onboarding process ends when users create their first campaign in the platform. In doing so, they begin collecting qualified leads and start to understand the value of our offering.
Measure where you stand
“Facts are better than dreams”, said Winston Churchill, and we are great believers in this. We defined a funnel that aligns directly with our onboarding process, and used analytics to isolate and investigate the problem. Using Mixpanel as our analytics tool, we learned two things, what our completion rate was for different stages of the onboarding process, and where users repeatedly got stuck. From here, we created a clear and measureable goal. Our onboarding completion rate stood at 15%, and we would aim to increased it by 7%. Though objective setting can feel like trial and error at the beginning, it’s important to decide on a metric that feels both difficult and doable.
With a goal in place, a clear understanding of the problem, and a UX-oriented team, we began testing new solutions.
Setting expectations. When you explore new territories it’s helpful to know what lies ahead, just like hiking a new trail with signs telling you how many miles you have left and what the terrain is like. Keeping this in mind, we designed a wizard with a clear path to completion, smart content groupings, and thoughtfully named steps.
Keep it to the minimum. Too often we encounter products that ask so much of us upfront and offer very little in return. We needed to make the process of campaign creation as seamless and simple as possible. We began by reviewing each piece of content in the flow as a team. We fought over every element, commited to keep only what was absolutely necessary for users to create their first campaign. Though we compromised flexibility, we were able to significantly reduce distraction.
I will get to it later. We allowed users to progressively build their campaign over time. Similar to how you can build your LinkedIn profile over time, we added the option to refine and enrich the campaign at a later stage. We added a checklist of “Am I there yet?” to encourage their completion and reward them for their progress along the way.
Use a subtle — yet effective — dose of persuasion. During the campaign creation process, we featured a list of highly relevant upcoming events to inspire urgency and remind users what they were designing for. This helped focus and excite our users, knowing that their campaign could end up in front of high caliber event audiences. This also helped establish our credibility, demonstrating our partnerships with key industry events around the world. Think of it as giving a friendly push to your friend hiking up the hill at the end of the trail.
After implementing these changes, it was time to go back and review their effects on the onboarding completion rates. Three months after we released the changes we were happy to find an improvement of 10%, even higher than our goal of 7%! Our effort paid off.
So, are we there yet? We’ve made significant improvements but there is still work to be done. It’s an iterative process like all product management efforts, and it has exposed many more tests we’d like to run. Our next challenge is to shorten the path to the “aha” moment by refining our value proposition.
We’d love to hear your thoughts on our process and about your team’s product development in the comments below.