People buy (or subscribe) because they want something. It could be simple and straightforward, like buying a snack because they’re hungry. Most of the time, it's way more complicated. They could want to perform well at something, stop feeling bored, or increase their status.
Onboarding is about reinforcing the problems, desires, and needs people are having. That's why, in the previous post, we talked about a crucial moment, rarely explored by startups: the space between people realizing they want something and, later, finding a solution. Think of what your product allows a customer to solve or achieve, build a narrative, pick the most significant keywords, and Google it. Go to your competitor's forums and try Quora. Once you have a basic understanding, get out and talk to folks like the ones you found online. You have to go deep to know what bothers people so badly that they want to pay for a solution.
If the solution takes more time and money than they're willing to give to achieve their goal, people give up or find an alternative.
Onboarding is about showing people that they'll receive way more value than they're paying for. Every step of an onboarding experience needs to be built around the delivery of tangible values. Don't teach them how to schedule an event. Show them how you'll guarantee they'll never be late again.
They could consider going with your product or service and believe you’re worth the time and money, but nothing matters if it’s hard for them actually to solve what they came to solve.
Onboarding is about progressively guiding a customer to mastery. You CAN’T do it by giving all customers the exact same experience. Start first-time users with a simpler view of your product to let them get comfortable with it. List the values you want people to experience, create the most basic and easy steps for it, and get rid of anything else in the interface. Then as they gain experience, introduce the more advanced features.
Onboarding IS NOT adding a layer to your interface with endless modals popping up, explaining how all 73 features of your product work.