Member onboarding is one of the most essential ingredients for a successful membership website.
We've already written about ‘Why you need a kick-ass member onboarding process' in order to help your members make the most of your membership site – which helps them stick around for longer!
But what should you actually include in your onboarding? While to a large extent this will vary from membership to membership, there are some common areas that you will most likely want to cover.
This is the practical stuff – things like how to set up a profile or how to use your community, or even just how a member can access support if they need it.
Whilst not the sexiest of subjects, your housekeeping information is to some extent the most important feature of your onboarding.
This is the information that will help your members to actually USE their membership and make the most of all the features that you offer.
You could deliver this housekeeping information via email (or a series of emails), you could include it as a ‘next steps' page after they register, or you could make use of something like a member tour to guide new members through account set up and exploring your site features.
However you decide to deliver the information, make sure that it is easily acted on by a new member. If one of your steps is to include an introduction post on the forum for example, include some information that they might like to include, as many people get ‘blank page-itis' when faced with the prospect of introducing themselves.
Get your member to actually do or start something that puts some ‘skin in the game' and gets them invested in your site.
Inactivity or indifference can be the death of a membership site. How many times do you sign up to something and never use it? I'm sure I'm not the only one!
As such, an important part of your onboarding process should be inspiring members to actually do something with their membership.
This could be as simple as completing the first module of your course (have some way for them to mark their progress so that this feels like an achievement). Or one of our personal favourites is encouraging members to start some kind of public progress log or goal tracking (this is easier if you have an on-site forum rather than a Facebook group however.
Once a member has started to take action it will be much easier for them to continue to do so, and it also enables you to present further touchpoints to them to keep them coming back to your site.
What's the star attraction of your membership site? Introduce your new member to your best content right from the start if you can so that they get a full appreciation of the quality of content on offer.
This also puts your member into the content consumption mindset and encourages further exploration.
If you have a membership that is a content library where members may be at totally different stages in their journey then you may want to provide some content pathways or ‘getting started' points for members at different stages. For example in the Membership Academy our members range from those who have yet to start their site to those who have been up and running for several years already, and one of our onboarding steps is to recommend which content to start with based on a members current stage.
If your membership site has a variety of different elements to it then it can be useful to highlight some of those features that may otherwise be overlooked.
It can be easy for a member to not actually realise everything that is available to them, or that features like being able to save or bookmark content exist.
Run a monthly member call? Let them know.
Have a form members can complete for personal feedback? Let them know.
You get the gist!
Whilst a member might not need or want to use all the features that you offer, you want it to be their choice what to use, not just that they didn't know it was available.
If you're running a monthly membership site, you obviously want to encourage your members to keep their membership month after month.
This starts with your onboarding, and it's a great idea to end your onboarding sequence with a look at what you have coming up for the membership – i.e what they will have access to if they don't leave.
You could let them know about new courses or content that you'll be releasing, remind them of an upcoming live event or a guest expert you have coming in – basically anything that might make them think ‘oh, that sounds good, I'll stick around a bit longer'.
This is particularly useful if you're running a trial for your membership where you can time a sneak peek style email for a few days before a members trial is due to end.
Whilst you may want to include all of the above types of content in your onboarding sequence, you can also mix and match depending on what your membership is actually offering.
As with all things onboarding, the most important thing is that you help your new member to get started with your site and in turn see the value in continuing their membership.
Membership Academy – Extra
Access your “How to Create a Kick-ass Onboarding Strategy” course in the Membership Academy.
Discover the steps to creating a highly effective onboarding process that will make sure your members stick around longer, making your membership site more profitable.
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