The most important moment in the sales cycle comes just after someone hits your 'buy now' button and transforms from a prospect into a customer. It is at this moment that they are most receptive to you – and what you do next will influence their impression of your business forever.
What is onboarding
Let's start at the beginning – the term 'onboarding' simply refers to what you do, after someone has purchased a course or membership with you, to make them feel welcome and help them find their feet. One of the worst (and most common) mistakes you can make in your business is to focus all of your energy on getting those new customers through the door, and then leave them hanging by having no onboarding system.
Ideally, you want your onboarding system to do the following:
- Solve any technical difficulties – passwords, where to log in, how to navigate the site.
- Get them using your membership site – watching videos, working through courses etc.
- Get them involved in the community – making friends, asking questions.
- Leave them with a great first impression of you and your business.
Send a personal welcome email
When you're first starting out with your membership site, every single customer is a blessing. Let them know how much you appreciate them by reaching out and letting them know. Once you build momentum and this becomes too much work, you can automate the process.
Your email should include a thank you message (of course), but also any relevant housekeeping information and where to get started (see points below for more on this). If one email feels too meaty, you could spread it out in an automated sequence over a few days.
Give them housekeeping and getting started information
Passwords, log in information, how the site works – it can be overwhelming to a newbie. Hold their hand (virtually) and guide them through the process. Provide any important information by email, and consider having a special page for new members which shows them everything they need to know.
Have a clear path through your content
Is it obvious to someone who has never visited your membership site before which module they should start with? Which article or video suits their needs the best? Make sure each piece of content is clearly labelled, and leads on to the next in a cohesive way. Think about adding the first steps to your welcome emails or new member page.
Introduce them to the group
Community is the glue that holds membership sites together. Nine times out of ten, your customers will come for the content, but stay for the community. If you have a forum or other community space on your site, then welcome new members and invite them to introduce themselves and answer a simple question, such as, 'what are you hoping this site will help you achieve?'
Once you have many members signing up each week, consider doing a group post (welcoming many members at once) to achieve the same goal.
Assign them a 'buddy'
If you have super-engaged members or 'brand ambassadors' in your community, then why not ask if they'd be happy to show newbies around, and be on hand for any questions they might have. Alternatively, you can encourage members in the group to buddy up with each other to help with accountability.
Give them a discount code to use in your shop
When someone first becomes a customer, reward them (and upsell your products) with a special discount they can use in your shop. Depending on what products you have available, they benefit from a special piece of equipment or item of clothing to make the most of your content. Or, why not encourage them to watch a pay-to-play video from a higher membership tier. Whatever it is, a discount will make them feel good.
Tell them what's coming up
Another great thing to tell newbies about is all the exciting content you've got coming up for them. This encourages people to engage with the existing content so they're ready when the new content is released. It also keeps that 'coming soon' buzz, that you've generated with your marketing, going long after you've secured the sale.