3 Tips for Onboarding Users to Your Software

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When it comes to a product launch, you need to make a great first impression. User onboarding can be one of the most difficult parts of your product launch. It can be hard to get your customers to understand why they need your software and the multitude of benefits.

The process of adopting a product involves multiple steps. First, you need to make your customers aware of your new software. Then you need to keep them engaged by providing them with information, so they’ll keep coming back. Next is the evaluation stage in which they’ll determine if your software will benefit them. Some companies offer a trial that allows them to try out the software without making a commitment. This can help them with the decision-making process.

The final stage is the adoption stage when they purchase your software. Your end-goal is to get them to this stage to set your company up for success.

This is why it’s so important to make the right first impression. Your first impression needs to be analyzed, planned, and tweaked for successful product adoption. Here are three things to consider when creating your onboarding plan. Your goal is to set your user up for future success even before they purchase your software.

1. Map Out the User Journey

The key to successfully onboarding your customers to your software is to map out the user journey. You need to have an idea of your users before you help them out. This starts with creating user personas that have their desires, goals, motivations, and needs in mind. This also helps you craft a message that connects with them.

What’s the biggest driving factor for conversions? Do your users need to be educated? Are they the final decision maker when it comes to purchases? This can help you create a message and user flow that best reflects their journey.

Remember that each user is different and will follow their own path to make a purchase. For example, you may have to create individual landing pages to increase conversions and attract your target audience. These landing pages can also be valuable in determining which of your onboarding elements are working.

2. Communicate Your Value Proposition

Your customers need to understand what your software is about, how it works, and why they need it. That means you need to come up with a value proposition, which explains the benefits of your software and what makes it so different. It shouldn’t have to take them long to figure out whether they need the product or not. Your goal is to explain the product’s features in less than five seconds.

Those first five seconds will get their attention and encourage them to want to learn more. You should write one to two sentences that clearly explain the value proposition. You don’t want to end up with a value proposition that’s boring and stale. It should be engaging, fun, and playful, rather than serious and buttoned-down.

3. Guide Them Along the Way

If the software is difficult to use, then it’s likely to have more than one feature to introduce, which calls for a more involved onboarding process. Having complex or multiple features can dissuade them from making a purchase. Having them using the software during this process will encourage them to think they need it. But they won’t make that realization unless you offer a trial.

Consider creating a guided interaction that educates and engages with your uses while emphasizing the features of the software. This is a core component of the onboarding process that shouldn’t be ignored. Video can become a powerful medium for explaining complex software. Product tours also allow you to create interactive guides and video guides within minutes. Your users will feel as if you’re guiding them along the way.

Your onboarding process will need constant testing and tweaking, but in the end it’ll be worth it. You’ll end up with users who understand the software and want to use it.

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Samantha Acuna is a writer based in San Francisco, CA. Her work has been featured in The Huffington Post, Entrepreneur.com, and Yahoo Small Business.