“Every time I think about onboarding I realize there’s another layer of complexity that I don’t understand.”
Sure, it may be true that your product is technically ready to go as soon as people verify their email…
…but you struggle to get customers to show up for the formal walk-through that will help them learn all of your features.
And sure, even though you know you should create a drip campaign to follow up with people who sign up but didn’t read your welcome guide, test out your features, or even sign into your product…
…it seems like no one in-house can agree on how many emails to send, what they should say, and when you should send them.
So every time you sit down to rewrite a landing page, optimize an email, or plot a new onboarding flow…
…you hear a voice in the back of your head telling you that you’re wasting time chipping away at tiny parts of a massive problem.
And that tiny voice is right.
Onboarding is a multi-horned beast — and you can’t tame a dragon one fireball at a time.
You’re tired of low free-to-paid conversion rates. But you’re not sure how to get your team on the same page. You’re not alone.
You might be testing. You might be researching. You might even be talking to users. But your free-to-paid conversion rates might still be stagnating…and you might be wondering whether all those other companies bragging about their free to paid rates are full of it.
Here’s the thing: when it comes to onboarding, the biggest problem most organizations face isn’t a technical challenge — it’s an organizational challenge.
Because onboarding is hard to classify, it’s hard to tell who should be in charge of it.
After all: what *is* onboarding??
Is it a piece of the marketing funnel, and therefore part of the marketing team’s responsibilities?
Is it product education, and therefore the product team’s purview?
Is it the first step toward customer success, and therefore the job of a CSM?
Since new users have lots of questions, is it customer support’s job?
If you have a team dedicated to onboarding, are they also in charge of getting people to pull out their credit cards and upgrade at the end of a trial?
Does it matter if you use the term “onboarding optimization” or if you prefer “trial CRO”?
Who is the captain of the onboarding ship?
The truth is that the job of helping new users get started can’t happen without a little bit of help from each of these departments.
So even if you take a leadership role to “own” the trial, you still need to get buy-in from teams across your organization…
…which is easier said than done.
Even if your entire team says that they’re ready to put in the work to optimize your onboarding messaging…
…it can be hard to convince other departments to give you the data you need to do it
…it can be impossible to get buy-in when teams think that all you’re doing is “wordsmithing”
…and if you don’t have a culture of user-research, you might face blank stares from colleagues who don’t understand why you need more than a few days notice for projects that could take a month.
Your team needs a research-backed “single source of truth” for your new user onboarding strategy.
You can keep sending your colleagues links to articles on ConversionXL and Kissmetrics. You can keep sending them stats on your competitors’ free to paid conversion rates. Articles are a great way to get everyone thinking about onboarding.
But look, there’s no getting around it. If you really truly want to make it easier for new users to get started and to increase your free-to-paid conversion rate, you need a single, concrete strategy for making it easier for new users to get started.
Before you can do that, you and your team must know the answers to questions like:
- What separates the most successful customers from the ones who disappear before the end of the trial?
- What do you do when customers know exactly what they want to accomplish—or when they have no idea?
- If some customers are massive organizations and others are teams of one, how do you make sure everyone gets the experience they want?
- Why are our customers even here?
- How do you plot a new customer journey when your customer has too many goals and no real plan for how to achieve them?
- Should you be sending time-triggered or event-triggered onboarding emails? And what exactly should be the triggers?
- How do you get someone to pay if the end user doesn’t have a credit card and has to convince someone else to pay?
- How do you get new users to engage with your app after their first training, demo, or webinar?
- Who is technically in charge of your trial? Product marketing? Product management? Marketing?
- Should you send a comprehensive product guide in your welcome email? (I’ll tell you this one for you now: No way, man. Nobody wants to read your manual.)
If you ask and answer the tough questions you get to build a laser-sharp personalized one-to-many strategy that turns even the most clueless prospects into successful customers who upgrade at the end of their trial.
If you ignore the questions…
If you just keep chipping away at a landing page or an email now and again…
If you choose to keep guessing at who you’re targeting and charge forward with little more than a hunch about why people are here and what they want to do…
…then your new prospects will continue to complain about you behind your back
…and give their money to your competitors.
Onboarding Roadmapping helps you step off the “project piecemeal treadmill” and start executing an actual strategy to help your customers get started.
The only way to start actually optimizing your onboarding messaging is to look at what’s happening in your trial and to get everyone to agree to a single concrete plan.
You can build a plan yourself. You can schedule meetings, beg for data, and attempt to convince your colleagues to give you the latitude to run tests and the runway to get projects done — while still balancing all of your existing responsibilities.
Or you can get help.
You can let me be the bad guy.
You can let me be the one to insist on data, realistic timelines, and customer-driven onboarding.
You can let me give your team a research-backed strategy for helping your new users get started.
When you hire me to audit your onboarding and build a roadmap, here’s what I do:
- Listen to your biggest questions and concerns in a kickoff call
- Review your user behavior data (ideally in a tool like Kissmetrics, Mixpanel, Userlist)
- Analyze your customer support tickets (ideally in a tool like Zendesk or Drift)
- Interview your internal stakeholders
- Deliver a full research report and onboarding optimization plan
What does that actually look like?
At the end of the audit, here’s what you get:
- A prospect “pain profile” outlining each of your customer segments and the “job” they’re hiring your app to do….so your team can stop guessing about what to say in your emails (and stop wondering why those email blasts get low open-rates)
- A research-backed report on what’s happening in your trial, where folks are getting stuck, and the questions you need to answer…so that you can stop guessing and checking
- One free month of access to NomNom, a customer feedback tool to get all of your customer research in one place ($200 value)
- An actual plan — with 1-month, 3-month, and 6-month timelines — for prioritizing your onboarding projects…so everyone can know what to expect and (and you can stop worrying about last-minute requests)
The audit is currently priced at $3699. It takes me between 2 and 3 weeks to complete. Then I present your final report and plan.
If you want, you can hire me to execute that plan.
Or you can hire someone, train them on your product, train them on conversion copywriting, and let them implement it for you.
Your call — after I present your plan, it’s yours.
What isn’t included?
This packaged service is a great way for you to learn more about why your new users give your product a try…
…and a great first step if you want me to come in and optimize your trial messaging.
But actually executing this plan happens later (and takes a lot more time).
To that end, this audit does not include the following services:
- Writing your emails
- Plotting your sequences
- Reviewing or auditing your existing copy (though you can add a copy audit if you like)
- Designing anything (though I can refer you to world-class designers)
Do I need you to do anything?
This is a “done for you” audit that requires very little work on your part, but I still need you to help.
For your onboarding audit to be successful, you’ll need to:
- Show up for your kickoff call
- Add me as a user to your user behavior tracking tool, your customer ticketing software, your pre-sales support chat, your marketing automation software, and any other tools I request
- Connect your support chat and twitter accounts to my customer research software
- Introduce me to your teammates
- Tell me at least 5 places where your customers hang out online
- Show up for your presentation call
- Bring an open-minded attitude and be ready to learn from your customers.
Most importantly, you’ll need to do all of this by the deadline I specify.
I promise you this:
This audit isn’t for everyone.
If your business is less than 1 year old, you might not have enough data for this audit to be worth it. If you don’t have many new prospects signing up, onboarding might not be the best place for you to focus your efforts.
And if I learn during your input call that this audit isn’t for you, I’ll either send you to someone else or offer you another one of my services.
But if we do an audit and you aren’t satisfied with your audit or roadmap for any reason, I’ll book you a consult with another SaaS onboarding expert for them to review the data we gathered and give you their opinion — and I’ll pay for it out of my own pocket.
That means if you’re not happy, you get to keep the data analysis and the plan I build for you — and get someone else’s opinion on it.
Are you ready to finally stop spinning your onboarding wheels?
If you know you should be mapping the customer journey for new customers…
…and you need help figuring out that journey begins
If you know that useful onboarding is one of the most important parts of customer success…
…and you know that the best way to get help is by working with someone who specializes in onboarding.
If you know that optimizing your trial is the key to turning strangers into customers…
…and you’re ready to finally start seeing those free to paid conversion rates go up.
Then it’s time to answer some tough questions. It’s time to stop guessing and actually know:
- What makes one segment of your users more likely to upgrade than another
- What your best prospects care about
- How to set up a foundation for optimizing your onboarding as a single functioning unit — instead of optimizing a page here and there and hoping for the best
- How to build out that strategy to get more free-to-paid conversions
- When you’re going to undertake which onboarding projects
- Who within your organization “owns” your SaaS trial
If you knew the answer to these questions, might that feel…like a relief?
…like you don’t have a scary problem to hide from anymore?
…like you’re actually helping the people you got into this business to help?
Managing customer onboarding can be a challenge…
…but it’s one you can overcome.
And the first step to get started is to schedule a 30-minute call with me.
Click below to schedule your intro call and finally start untangling your onboarding.