Creating A Better Onboarding Journey For New Members [3 Examples]

A staggering number of online communities have terrible onboarding journeys. They usually waste time teaching people how to use the platform, sharing bland welcome messages, or asking members to do inane things (“update your profile photo!”).

Your audience is smart. If they’ve signed up to your community assume they know who you are, how a community works, and have a reasonable idea of what they want. Don’t waste extremely precious attention.

The purpose of an onboarding series is to change and enhance how people feel about the community.

You can do this by:

a) Telling them something they didn’t know or expect (and find remarkably interesting or useful).

b) Nudging them to take an immediate action – which makes them feel smarter or better connected.

c) Create unique opportunities they can join in.

A great onboarding series steadily helps members feel more competent, more connected, or more autonomous.

For example:

  • Email 1 – Just Getting Started? Sign Up For A Mentoring Group (+1 Days)
  • Email 2 – The Top 5 Resources for Beginners, Curated by Our Top Experts (+7 Day)
  • Email 3 – Share What’s Holding You Back (what can we solve?) (+14 Days)
  • Email 4 – 5 Members You Should Connect With (+21 Days)

Likewise, you can focus on a specific pathway (usually competence).

  • Email 1 – It’s Time To Set Your Goal (and our members will help you get there)
  • Email 2 – How Our Top Members Learned To [Key Skill]
  • Email 3 – The Top Questions You Probably Have About [Key Skill]
  • Email 4 – It’s Time For Your Newcomer Blog Post (share your progress!)
  • Email 5 – Getting Stuck? Our Top Members Share Their Tips

Each email can contain relevant links to discussions and content shared in your community.

You might focus on an autonomy journey.

  • Email 1 – What Can You Contribute To Our Community?
  • Email 2 – What’s The One Thing You Knew When You Started In This Field?
  • Email 3 – Who Would You Like Us To Interview?
  • Email 4 – Can You Share Your Best Tips About [X]
  • Email 5 – Want To Lead Your Own Group?
  • Email 6 – What Can We Do Better? Help Us To Help You!

You steadily make people feel more in control and able to feel a sense of ownership over the community.

If you haven’t looked at your community’s onboarding journey recently, I recommend you sign up for it and go through the entire process. Then decide what kind of journey you need for newcomers in your field and create the series.

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