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Giving Product Tours Doesn’t Work for User Onboarding

When sitting down to write a new post, I ran through a plethora of ideas. We’ve been focusing a lot on CES 2017 recently, so I needed to get us back into the swing of our typical marketing and startup sales related posts. I ended up thinking about user on-boarding and the mistakes that a lot of startups make when creating their on-boarding flow. I then thought about what mistake is most commonly seen during user on-boarding experiences: giving product tours.

Why Product Tours Don’t Work

Giving product tours doesn’t work for user on-boarding.

On-boarding need to be focused on showing new users how they immediately gain value from the use of the product. This can be done most simply by somehow rewarding users for taking the first step towards product success. Rewarding doesn’t necessarily mean giving somebody something such as a monetary incentive, but rewarding them with what they want from your product.

When people get exactly what they want fast, it makes the first-time use of a product a lot more compelling and it gives users a reason to continue learning about it. An on-boarding flow is compelling when it’s not built with the goals of a company in mind. It’s built when the needs of the user comes first.

Think about this for a minute… imagine that you’ve just joined a new company and the first thing they say is “take a tour!” That sounds both complex and not very fun! Forcing people through a learning flow isn’t a very motivating reason to continue the on-boarding experience of a product… and it makes potential users stop the whole process.

Show Value Immediately

When building or refining your on-boarding flow take a lot of time to think about how you can create immediate value for your new users. What is the one task that a person can do that makes it a valuable product? Once they’ve completed one task, get them to do another, then ask them to do another, and then ask them to do another, and so on.

To figure out which tasks are most important for demonstrating value, you can write down all of your product features. Once your product features are written out, order the features by their importance (which features will generate the most value to users?). Now that you have your list of features, which are most likely to show value to your new users immediately? That’s right, those you need to focus on!

The Take-Home

The whole point of this post is to drive home the notion that you need to show value immediately. A product tour doesn’t show value, but rather makes your product look complex. A product tour doesn’t let the new user have that “aha!” moment that drives them towards becoming a great long-term customer. To figure out if you’re showing value immediately, make sure you’re thinking about your product as a user and not a company, research your customers needs, and make sure you understand what motivates people to want to use your product.