Create Raving Fans with your Website Onboarding

Website onboarding is any experience between an initial website visit, filling out a form, or making a purchase.

Smooth onboarding decreases skepticism and reduces friction. Ultimately lowers your customer acquisition cost CAC.

It’s like an old fashioned diner. Curious and familiar. Easy to get around. You don’t need to ask directions. You just know what to do.

Think of onboarding in phases.

  • Phase 1 is any activity leading up to website interaction.

  • Phase 2 is after submitting a form, subscribing, or buying.

  • Phase 3 is post-purchase support.


Phase 1 website onboarding activities include.

  • Landing on any page on your site. For any reason.

  • Scrolling a page, clicking within the page, or menu items.

  • Submitting a contact or inquiry form.

  • Making a cart purchase.

  • Video watching, file downloading. Widget interaction.

  • Social media content engaging and follow, like, or comment.

  • Don’t forget the error message, notices, fault handling, and instructions.

Phase 2 website onboarding actions can be.

  • After the purchase is made, a thank you message and page is displayed.

  • Thank you, confirmation and download emails are sent.

  • Account information or login instructions may be sent.

  • You may have a survey.

  • Again, don’t forget the error messages and what happens if the user clicks the back button.

  • What happens if there are order problems?

  • You have to clearly present and follow through on expectations.

  • Expected next steps. Shipping tracking and timeframe. Software license creation or activation. Appointment creation and verification.

Phase 2 onboarding steps could have.

  • Follow-up engagement and retainment activities.

  • Newsletter. Phone, SMS, email updates. Sales and support outreach.

  • How much self-support can they do?

  • Can they log in to a created account? Does the forgot password work?

  • Do you have a support system? Phone, tickets, chat?

The benefit of a smooth onboarding process is straightforward.

A lifetime customer.

What’s the improvement strategy? Identify, document, iterate.

The goal is to identify your onboarding points and improve them.

If you have a contact form, inquiry, or more information, that’s an onboarding opportunity.

Why? The visitor expects something will happen after the form is submitted.

A page or message will display having next steps or instructions. An email may be sent.

If you have eCommerce, there’s a whole set of onboarding points.

If you have a customer support system, another set of onboarding points.

How are onboarding improvements done?

Break it down into Current First Time User experiences and New First Time User Experiences.

You’re just mapping out what happens now and what you want to be changed.

Then you implement the changes.

  • Create your Mission Statement. Craft a sentence about your primary goals. It’s for your clients and to guide internal, strategic decisions.

  • Do you have a company story? It’s a product/consumer-focused story where you saw a problem and solved it. Or an origin-type story about the founder(s.)

  • Settle on a brand voice. How would your company speak if it were a person? Tone, style? How would you come across? Can you keep this consistent in all communications?

  • Design. We don’t have to spend much time on Brand Design, do we?

Worried your company is too small for this work? You can answer the questions and start the narrative even if you’re a one-person shop.

Do you have a content strategy? Evaluate your content inventory and determine what’s popular and why. Figure out what people want to read. Then further research and analysis to find more details about what people want to read.

Then produce and publish. Ensure you work with other teams on this content creation and distribution.

Questions to ask:

  1. What does Awareness mean for your business?

  2. What channels will lead to your target market? (this may evolve)

  3. What platforms are your potential customers engaging with other brands to solve your product or service problems?

  4. Can you use those channels to engage with your potential customers?

Metrics to measure

  • Website (visits, CTR, bounce rate, pages per visit)

  • Podcast impressions

  • Social metrics

Brand work is an ongoing effort that leads into the next Pirate Metric area, Acquisition.