The opinion a new customer has about your product begins before they’ve even visited your website.
With that very first piece of content, be it an ad or a blog post, a Facebook post or a tweet, they begin to form expectations about how your app works and how they might benefit from it.
Different Landing Pages = Different User Onboarding
If you are split testing your unique selling point through different ads and landing pages, you’re making multiple promises and setting expectations for every single traffic source.
By the time the visitor lands on your website, he probably already has a rough idea about what he’s going to encounter.
When he signs up, the user enters a process where he begins to test your product and see if it’s going to validate his opinion and the promises you’ve made on the landing page.
This is why the expectations set by the promises made on the landing page can have a huge influence over the onboarding process.
The message reflected on the landing page needs to continue during every stage of the onboarding process and this is never more crucial than during the very first step.
Setting correct expectations > overpromising
So let’s imagine your visitor can relate to the benefits outlined in the ads and he decides to sign up.
After providing his details, he gets to the first step of the onboarding process. At this point he is already validating the promise your product has made in the ads and landing page.
For example, he’s testing it out to see if he really can set it up as quickly as 1-2-3, or if it requires him to invest 3 weeks to get to the blank state page and start receiving the benefits of the app.
If your onboarding is set up according to the promise made in the ads the user shouldn’t have any problem validating his expectations and completing the onboarding process.
If the onboarding doesn’t validate the promise made on the landing page, it’s very likely that the user will get frustrated and abandon the process.
How to set correct expectations
We wanted to get an expert’s opinion on the matter of crafting promises featured on the landing page, so we asked Kevin C. Walker, former Product Owner at LeadPages, for his advice.
Four rules to keep in mind when crafting the promise on a landing page:
1. Keep the promise tangible.
2. Keep the promise concise.
3. Keep the promise relevant.
4. Only promise what can be delivered.
Puffery kills user engagement and trust the second it’s realized the promise was exaggerated. Conversely, engagement blossoms when the promise was fully delivered, and there is value present in the product not originally promised.
Kevin C. Walker
Building upon Kevin’s advice, here are the most common factors that influence the expectations you set for your user’s onboarding:
Landing page headline
Our golden rule for this is to be explicit. State the exact benefit your product will bring to the user’s life and help him understand that as quickly as possible.
Be sure to check out these articles if you want to find out more about landing page headlines:
- 5 Landing Page Headline Formulas You Can Test Today
- Ten Examples That Teach You How to Write Remarkable Landing Page Copy
- How to Write Effective Landing Page Headlines
Videos or screenshots
It comes down to features vs. benefits. The videos and screenshots you use should explain the benefits that a user can get from your product.
That’s what’s relevant for the user. It’s what they can relate to. The features are also important, but mainly only for you, the product owner.
Check out these articles if you want to get a better understanding of how benefits are what’s relevant for your users:
- Should Your Landing Page Highlight Features or Benefits?
- Does Your Copy Pass the “Forehead Slap” Test?
- The 5 Essential Elements of a Winning Landing Page
These are probably the most overused form of promotion for online products. They can be a very powerful tool if used properly, with a no BS approach.
A great way we’ve seen these being used is by Kayako on their homepage.
Here are a couple of resources providing tips on how to make good use of testimonials:
- The Power of Testimonials (And How We Get Great Ones)
- A Foolproof Way to Get Testimonials Without Asking for Them
A case study on delighting your customers
So we wanted to see exactly how, and if, the promises made on the landing page are reflected during the first step of the user onboarding. We picked three random apps for this.
The funny thing I realized after taking a screenshot of their homepages is that all three of them promise to delight the customer in some way. Let’s see how that works for them.
1. Help Scout
This is the message that Help Scout displays on their homepage:
Ok, let me get that 15-day free trial so I can go ahead and delight my customers!
15 seconds later…uh oh!
Sorry Help Scout, but I don’t see how my own time zone can delight my customers at this point…
Do I want to delight my customers? OF COURSE! Let’s try this out.
After a really fast signup process, I get redirected to my dashboard:
Even if my initial thoughts were that I had already ended up with some angry customers, it was nice to see that the guys from Groove had my back and were willing to show me exactly how the product works.
Am I delighted? Why yes, of course!
Alright, gimme some of that simple customer service software!
This page may seem to be filled with a bit too much information for a self-service product. I could see it working better in a scenario where the user has had a live demo or a preview of the product before signing up.
External factors, landing pages in particular, have an impact on how many leads you’re going to get. They even influence the amount of people who are going to be onboard with the product.
User onboarding comes down to how good you are at keeping promises.