Why empathy is the secret to a great activation strategy
It’s the most common onboarding and activation approach for early-stage founders:
1. Create self-serve sign-up
2. Show a bunch of pop-ups and modals of the features
3. Send a few emails I guess?
And in the early days, this is perfectly acceptable. There’s certainly best practices when it comes to activating new users into customers, but in the early days, what matters is shipping as much as possible.
The team doesn’t waste too much time overthinking the onboarding process, and it allows them to focus their energy and efforts elsewhere (like building more product and spending more time talking to customers!).
This strategy becomes dangerous, however, as the platform and the customer base grows and onboarding is never revisited. The free trial or freemium conversion rate might be statistically healthy (15-30% conversion into paid), but many founders leave hundreds of thousands of dollars on the table without realizing it could actually be better.
Why? It’s the experience debt of the current onboarding and activation flow.
On using empathy to overcome the debt
The greatest growth opportunity for any activation or onboarding experience is actually based on this simple principle: empathy.
Empathy (noun) is “the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.”
To describe empathy, we’ll say things like “it’s getting into the shoes of another person and walking through life as they do.”
When it comes to onboarding and activation, the best way to re-imagine this experience is to ask ourselves a few questions. Before diving in, pretend that you’re a best-fit paying customer who hasn’t become a customer yet and you’re trying the product for the first time.
Then, answer these questions with fresh eyes:
1. As a best-paying customer who isn’t a customer yet, what am I trying to accomplish?
2. What do I need to do in the product in order to experience value from the product?
3. What is the first thing I need to do or know next?
4. What are the steps the product is taking me through that don’t contribute value?
5. What are the steps and information that distract me away from achieving my ultimate goal?
Using empathy as the tool to get as close to the desires of the customers as possible will help you imagine an onboarding and activation experience that can easily double or triple the current conversion rate.
Assuming you do it right, it’ll be a win-win — more customers reaching their moment of success, and more money in your pocket!