How to Turn Strangers into Loyal Customers With User Onboarding

You never get a second chance to make a great first impression. User onboarding highlights the value of your product, enables users to get the most out of your solution and reduces the number of customer support tickets.

learn more about Dmitry Kudrenko

By Dmitry Kudrenko

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User onboarding is the process that takes people from perceiving, experiencing and adopting the product's value to improve their lives. This process determines whether a customer keeps utilizing your product or leaves after several months or even days.

Why user onboarding is so vital

Excellent user onboarding is not all about properly teaching people how to use your product. This process should also provide a warm welcome and make your customers feel appreciated.

Good customer onboarding nurtures new users with well-designed content, helps them understand how to use your product successfully and reveals its value. All of this can also enable you to boost your retention rate and lower your customer acquisition costs.

Related: 3 Ways to Improve Your Client Onboarding Process

Four signs that you have poor user onboarding

Here is a list of reasons that indicate your customers might face issues during the onboarding process:

  1. Users don't fill out sign-up forms.
  2. Users complete the registration process but never use your product.
  3. Users don't upgrade their plans to paid ones.
  4. Users upgrade their plans to paid ones but stop using your product after paying their initial invoice.

If any of these problems sound familiar to you, working on your onboarding process is crucial to prevent users from churning and show your product's value. So, now that you know the problem, how can you solve it?

Related: Eight Client Onboarding Practices You Should Ditch Right Now

Three milestones to onboard new users and drive adoption

If you want customers to onboard to your product faster, they have to go through the following stages:

1. The moment of value perception (MVP)

It's a moment when a user imagines your product in the context of their real-life issue for the first time. For instance, they can realize it while surfing your website, even before the sign-up process.

2. The moment of value realization (MVR)

Here a customer has to achieve the expected result by using the product for the first time to realize its value and put it into practice.

3. The moment of value adoption (MVA)

The final milestone refers to a period when a user utilizes your product regularly and integrates it into their life.

Here is an example of how we see the value path at Stripo:

  • MVP: a user realizes that Stripo is an email design platform that can help them create emails faster and easier.
  • MVR: a user creates, customizes and exports one email.
  • MVA: a user comes back to design more emails (90% of customers who stays with us after the MVP and MVR stages).

The EUREKA framework for your flawless user onboarding

Now that you know more about an outstanding user onboarding process, it's time to find out how to provide your audience with a perfect first impression. You can make it happen by following these six simple steps:

1. Establish your team

A collaborative approach will enable you to provide users with an exceptional experience, emphasize your product's value and show them how to utilize it properly. That's why it's crucial to set up an onboarding team with the next units:

  • Product unit to guide new users through the product in a brief and help them acknowledge its value as fast as possible.
  • Marketing unit to deliver educational content to reengage inactive users and motivate them to get to the next stage of your onboarding process.
  • Customer success unit to gather feedback and enhance the onboarding experience.
  • Sales unit to build long-term relationships with new users and deliver customized demos based on data gathered by the marketing and product departments.

Related: Long-Term Customer Loyalty Starts (or Ends) With Your Earliest Interactions

2. Understand your users' expected outcomes

If you want your users to have an impeccable onboarding experience, it's vital to figure out why they decided to try out your product and what problems they want to solve by using it. During the onboarding process, show customers the value of your product.

3. Refine onboarding success criteria

Now you have to decide how you will evaluate the success of your onboarding process. You can use the three milestones we mentioned before: MVP, MVR and MVA. Let's see how we refine onboarding success criteria based on Stripo's experience:

  • MVP (value perception): our new user realizes that this email design platform can help them speed up and automate the production process.
  • MVR (value realization): the user designs their first email and exports it to their favorite ESP.
  • MVA (value adoption): the user comes back to build more emails and upgrade their plane to a paid one to get more export options, collaboration tools and a greater variety of templates.

4. Evaluate and enhance your onboarding path

Looking through the new users' journey to identify and eliminate any unnecessary steps is essential. Your task is to determine the minimum number of actions users must perform to realize your product's value.

It's essential to measure conversion rates at each stage of the buyer's journey and motivate your new customers to go from one phase to another. Don't forget to track user behavior on your website, as it's impossible to maintain your progress without analyzing data.

5. Keep new customers engaged

Now it's time to provide new customers with educational and insightful content to help them adopt a new product and implement it into their routine. This content may include personalized product tours, push notifications, webinars and onboarding emails with valuable resources.

6. Apply the changes and repeat

User onboarding is a process that never ends. We recommend you review the results regularly to detect any problems and fix them straight away. Thus, you can highlight the product's value much faster and keep your new users returning for it repeatedly.

Related: How Customer Enablement Drives Product-led Growth

Dmitry Kudrenko

Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor

Founder and CEO at Stripo and eSputnik

Founder and CEO at Stripo.email and eSputnik. Dmitry is a lifelong entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience in the software development world, 10 specifically in email marketing. Licensed specialist in Lead Management and Email Messaging according to Meclabs.

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