The Membership Guys

What CoSchedule can teach you about member onboarding

A few weeks ago I signed up for a free trial of CoSchedule, a tool which allows you to schedule your blog posts and associated social media. I wasn’t really sure how I would use it, but I’d heard good things and wanted to check it out for myself. To be honest I didn’t really have high hopes about it being a tool that I would actually use, but after completing their sign up process I was immediately impressed and looking forward to using the product, in fact I was so impressed I tweeted about it before I’d even finished my initial setup!

Why? Because quite simply their onboarding process didn’t miss a beat in taking me from unsure sign up to enthusiastic user. And as a member onboarding geek I thought they’d make a great example case to share with you here. (If you’re not sure what member onboarding is, it’s the process you take a member through when they first sign up that gives them the tools they need to actually make use of your site/product).

What did they do that was so great?

Well, it wasn’t just one thing, they’ve obviously worked hard to put together a member onboarding process that provides all the necessary information – and more – in an easy to digest way. The process started with the actual account sign up, where an on screen tutorial walked me through the steps of setting up my account, including installing the plugin needed for WordPress. Once installed on WordPress, another tutorial takes you through how to actually use the software. It’s short, to the point and provides all the needed information to get started but, importantly, without creating a feeling of overwhelm.

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Their welcome email was equally impressive, including links to a useful free course, an invitation to reply with any questions and an introduction to the team members. Again, it was short but useful, and friendly in tone.

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Further emails from them were similar in style, providing useful information and answering questions I didn’t even know I had. And the free course they offered answered pretty much any question I could think of (and quite a few I wouldn’t have thought of!). However, the free course wasn’t a necessity to me getting started with the product, it was more of an added bonus.

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In short, CoSchedule removed any barriers to me actually getting started with the product and also made me feel like they valued my custom. They wanted me to get the best from the software, not just take my money.

Now, I know that this was all automatic, an autoresponder series that all their trial members are put through (it actually looks like they’re using Intercom, which is one of my favourite systems for onboarding) with very little personalisation other than my name. But it didn’t matter to me. It was useful and well executed and that was what mattered. It got me using a product that I would probably otherwise have forgotten about.

And that’s exactly the point of a good onboarding process. It gets you involved with the product straight away, establishes a connection and removes any barriers to use. It doesn’t just send you your login details and leave you to it.

So, how can you translate this to your own member onboarding process?

  1. Create a solid welcome email – don’t just send the standard email that comes with your membership plugin. Customize it, make it friendly, add any information that will help new members get started straight away.
  2. Have a walkthrough video or tutorial – this is especially important if there is any kind of learning curve to your site or you have a lot of different member areas. Show people how you want them to use your site.
  3. Introduce yourself – let them know you’re glad to have them as a member and how they can get in touch with you if they have questions.
  4. Getting started guide – similar to a walkthrough video but focused more on your actual content. Tell people what you want them to do and where they should start.
  5. Get them talking – if your site has a community aspect, get them using it straight away. Let them know how to complete their profile and where they should introduce themselves.
  6. Keep in touch – don’t just send one email and leave them to it. Check in with them regularly and provide useful information when you do. Give them all the tools – and confidence – they need to make the most of your membership.

Member onboarding is actually one of the most valuable processes you can put in place to create happy, loyal members, so it pleases me to see a company like Co-Schedule using it so well. Whether or not I continue to use it after the trial, I have at least fully tried it rather than signing up and forgetting (like I’m prone to do!), and I would still recommend it to others because of the great impression they have left me with. And that’s what you should want for your members too – give them the tools to use your membership site fully, make them feel valued and make them want to tell others about it.

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