“This is really not working out guys.” I found my voice rising in pitch as I wasn’t really happy with the numbers.
“Well, what do you want us to do?” Said the voice from the other side of the line.
“We have to improve this. We have to prioritize the user onboarding process.” I explained the importance of moving the needle up with our user onboarding to the Qeryz product development team.
That was over two months ago.
I started Qeryz almost sure that it would be an awesome success of a SaaS tool. Of course, who would pour out the hard earned cash of his first start-up to something that’s doomed to fail? But 4 months after starting up Qeryz on May 2014, I was starting to panic.
The visitors were coming in constantly, their conversion to a free user was doing fine, but the adoption rate was a measly 2%.
And we just can’t continue doing business with a 2% adoption rate.
I noticed how important user onboarding is when I was asked to review an SEO tool called SERanking. Take a look at how they onboard users with their Rank Tracking tool.
When you sign up and login for the first time, you are greeted by this welcome screen:
You can pretty much just do three meaningful things: Play the video to watch and learn about the things you can do with SERanking or you can skip that and go on to add your first website. The third Call-to-action (See All Features) should be removed though – because the users who have signed up most probably already know what they’re getting into – and the video also reinforces that.
You can pretty much just add a website in the next step:
After you add your website details, you’re taken to the settings section. Which is not as straightforward as the previous screen. This one has a lot of CTAs BUT they also made sure you’ll be clicking the right button by adding indicators and starkly changing the button color.
Which, I think, is extremely useful in a user onboarding process. It gives the users freedom to pick from the blue buttons but it also keeps the users focused on the main CTAs in running the tool properly. It goes on til the last step.
And that’s it! This simple 3-step onboarding is something Qeryz sorely needed. So we went to work and tried to apply what we learned over at our end. Before the onboarding process, this is pretty much what you’ll see when you login for the first time.
While the dasbhoard may look good, it also looks noisy. A first-time user will have little to no idea where to click first. There are lots of CTAs with different colors – overall, it’s confusing.
So we went to work and came up with a 4-step onboarding process.
[put screenshot here of how it looked before the switch]
Let me tell you how the simple 4-step onboarding process works:
Step one is really just a jump-start for users. Naming the survey gives it its initial purpose and direction.
Here’s where you set-up your survey itself. You can choose the survey type, the question(s) you want to ask, the choices your customers will be able to choose from if it’s a multiple choice or checkbox, the thank-you or call-to-action message, and whether you want the choices to be arranged randomly or ordered.
Setting up your Target URL is critical because a Qeryz survey can pop up anywhere in your website. A user can make it pop up exactly on the page where the customer’s implicit intent is most relevant. For example, a survey question that asks “What do you think about our prices?” should pop up specifically in your pricing page because that’s where it’s most relevant.
This is where your tracking code is located. The tracking code is built specifically for your Qeryz survey to work on your target URL. The instructions on how to make it run on your site, as well as the WordPress plugin you can use can be found here. It’s pretty much the last thing you need to do to make Qeryz work in your website.
A month after we implemented this 4-step onboarding process, our user onboarding rate grew to 23% – that’s a whopping 1150% increase!
Not really all that satisfied, we took the user onboarding one step further – switching the last two steps and putting them at the forefront of the onboarding process. Why did we do this? Because even though we got a good 23% user adoption rate, we found out that not a lot of people were really taking the time to do step 4 – which is installing the tracking code.
So we put the tracking code on step 2 and made sure that our system checks whether the user has been able to install the tracking code in the Target URL correctly before they can proceed. This way, we are certain that all new users who are successful with the onboarding process really do run Qeryz in their website.
Here’s how the new onboarding looks like:
Then they are given their tracking code. If they have problems installing it themselves, they can always email this to their developer or use our WordPress plugin for easy installation. After their site has been verified by our system, they may now proceed to step 3.
Step 3 has been revised for users to have the option of breezing through the survey creation process. Some of our users kept asking if we do provide a pre-made survey to choose from so we made sure they were able to see it right in the onboarding process. They can easily select one of the pre-made surveys or create their own by naming it.
It’s a win-win scenario wherein a user finally gets to understand how easy it is to create their first Qeryz survey and use the tool effectively in their website. It’s a win for us because it enables us to see our vision for Qeryz in the sense that it’s being even more widely used because it is now so easy to create and run a powerful survey for gathering customer insights.
A month after switching the last two steps and putting it in the forefront increased our user onboarding further to 33% – that’s a 1650% since our 2% user onboarding rate!
We are definitely not “There” yet with our user adoption rate. We want to move the needle further to an audacious but realistic 80%. Right now we’re testing some things that are in the field of graying out button colors and swinging in text indicators as well as implementing some helpful tool-tip-text on mouse-over.
Moving the needle from 2% to 33% in our user adoption rate of Qeryz was a huge lesson for us. You can have the biggest traffic spike you’ve had in years, but if your user adoption rate is crap (as ours was) then you’re wasting tons of opportunity.
Traffic will come if your product is awesome and is working as it should – but onboarding users is another battle to be won altogether. People are just too busy these days. And whether you realize it or not, leading them by the hand is how you’ll get your product working in their hands.
Consequently, it’s also how you get them to talk about you and share your product to even more people.
Qeryz is still really young (we’re just 6 months old since starting up last May!) and we have a long, long way to go. You could even say that we’re still supposed to be in Beta testing but we skipped all that and launched anyway.
We’re sharing everything we’re learning in starting up our first SaaS business. If you’re interested in tuning in, you can subscribe here.