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3 Key Ways Onboarding Drives More Trial Conversions

Analytics and onboarding work together like peanut butter and chocolate

Analytics and Guides Work Together  

The combination of analytics and in-app guides offers a valuable opportunity to improve user onboarding. Used together they can also uncover opportunities to improve trial conversions, increase renewals and upgrades, and generate better user engagement.

1) Trial Conversions: Show and Tell

The first step in using guides to improve trial conversions is to analyze usage from successful versus unsuccessful trials. What are the patterns around product engagement and feature usage? For instance, you may find that the usage of a certain set of features is a strong indicator of a successful trial. For example, maybe users who regularly enter their daily weight into a fitness application are more likely to convert to a paid version that offers reports on both weight, exercise, and calorie intake. The second step is to apply this knowledge. Create a guide that will only target users who haven’t used those features when they are seven days into their trial period. It’s like “show and tell” and a simple tooltip can work well for this. Use that guide to show them what to do and tell them why it benefits them. A/B test your guides. More than likely, you will see a material impact on trial conversions by doing this. (At Pendo, we work with one software vendor who reported a 57% bump in trial conversions by using analytics and guides in a similar manner.) The third step is to evaluate the resulting data to see what worked and what didn’t.

2) Customize Onboarding: Not One Size Fits All

Using guides for onboarding can be done in a similar manner. Establish a series of steps that theoretically indicate a successful onboarding process. Use guides to inform and educate users about those steps. Track the completion of those steps using analytics information and target additional guides to users who get stuck in different areas of the onboarding process. A/B test your onboarding process with different segments of users. Evaluate what’s working and what isn’t. Sometimes the “happy path” you assumed users would follow isn’t their chosen path at all. The same onboarding solution doesn’t fit everyone. Different types of users may have different reactions or needs within your onboarding process. The analytics can show you where users get value from onboarding and where they do not.

Onboarding Guides

3) Anticipate Renewals: Show Interest and Act

If you combine analytics with guides, you can get some really powerful data to help keep product engagement up before renewals. For an annual renewal, don’t wait until the contract expiration date to use the in-product guides to highlight new and upcoming features, or to engage customers with functional areas they might not have used. “We noticed you aren’t using feature ‘x’ yet. Did you know it can help you do ‘y’ task?” You can also proactively target guides to users whenever you see usage patterns slowing down. And creating guides in Pendo isn’t difficult. Anyone on the team can do it, even a non-technical person, especially when you set up guide templates. Regularly evaluating user engagement through analytics, deploying in-app NPS surveys, and adjusting onboarding practices through custom guides can improve the relationship with less than engaged users and increase renewal rates by gently reminding them of the value they receive from your product.

A combination of analytics and guides is also effective in looking for upgrade opportunities. You can look for areas of usage where you have additional capabilities in separate product offerings or pricing tiers and target those users with informational guides that highlight the benefits of those capabilities. It’s a simple way to illustrate more value for the user without the hassle of sales calls.

For more tips about onboarding and how to drive effective growth, register for our webinar. Better onboarding practices can reduce the learning curve, educate users about the value they are receiving, and deliver a consistent user experience from sales-to-signup-to-retention.


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