How To Onboard New Users Like A Wizard

KISSmetrics has a major challenge. To get any value out of its analytics product (to use it at all, really), new signups have to get code installed–both on their marketing websites and within the source code of the apps they want to track.

If the new signup has some technical skills and is ready, willing and able to add third-party code to their own source code, they can do this themselves. But if they are not technical (and most of KISSmetrics’ audience of marketers are not), they have to get a developer to do it.

Moreover, to get meaningful, lasting value out of KISSmetrics–the kind of value that gets you to put in your credit card and pay for a year upfront after a one-month trial–not only do you have to install code, you have to make sure you’ve configured this code to measure the right things.

KISSmetrics could have done what many other startups with similar onboarding hurdles have done and pushed people to their documentation, but doing this presents at least two significant problems:

  • To be successful that way, new signups will have to spend cycles figuring out which events to track. Not only does this sort of cognitive load slow things down, it creates a lot of room for less-than-ideal implementations.
  • Once the new user has established which events to track, they (or their technical teammate) will have to write code for each one. This is not an epic hurdle, but it also offers lots of opportunities to miss something important and create headaches down the road.

Both of these problems produce friction and put new users’ success with KISSmetrics at risk: Misconfiguring your analytics implementation is a sure-fire way to end up hating your analytics product–not an outcome KISSmetrics particularly wants.

So let’s start from the beginning and look at the thoughtful things KISSmetrics does to increase the likelihood that new website visitors become successful customers.

First, the homepage:

This homepage does a lot of things right. Here are the three big ones:

  1. A picture of a person. The smile on the man’s face puts you at ease, while the focus of his eyes draw yours to the headline–an increasingly-common-but-still-clever landing-page device.
  2. An unambiguous message. The headline clearly positions KISSmetrics against Google Analytics, the free, 900-pound gorilla in the space. If you didn’t know why you’d need KISSmetrics when you already have Google Analytics…now you know. The orange font in the line about KISSmetrics is a nice touch.
  3. A focused, uncluttered design. Though I might have wanted some more context about the product (maybe a video or some sort of visualization that helped me understand the message), the homepage has nothing to distract us from the headline and the call-to-action button.

Next, the signup page:

Ok, so seven form fields seems like a lot. But the friction here is no accident:

  • KISSmetrics has a sales team that needs this info to qualify and triage incoming leads.
  • Filling out seven fields indicates seriousness of interest, which will be important to get over the upcoming hurdles.

Meanwhile, the signup page offers no distractions: there’s nothing to click on but the form fields, the clear call-to-action button, and a small link to KISSmetrics’ terms-of-service.

(One medium-sized nitpick: Given how little the homepage does to explain the nature of the product, I might like to see KISSmetrics use its signup page to add some context. Definitely something I’d test).

The wizard appears

Once you’ve filled out the form, something really interesting, clever, and (to my knowledge) rare happens: KISSmetrics offers you two paths:

Check it out:

If you’re not yet committed to going “all-in” with KISSmetrics, you can take the path on the left to get a “teaser.” You’ll still have to get a tracking snippet installed on your website, but it will only take “5 minutes” and you can leave your source code alone.

It is a much softer sale, but one that exposes the new user to some of the product’s utility and gives KISSmetrics’ sales team a crack in the door in which to wedge its foot.

The path on the right is even more interesting. Above, we saw that asking marketers to figure out which events to track in KISSmetrics presents a lot of risk to their success. So instead, KISSmetrics has built a wizard to do a lot of the thinking for you.

The wizard’s flow – Step 1

Let’s take a look at this flow:

At the top of the screen, the wizard explains itself: Why are asking you all of the questions we’re about to ask? Because it will help you succeed faster.

In the upper-right corner, the wizard prepares you for three steps. Listing out the steps makes the process feel surmountable (it’s only three steps, after all).

Of course, each step is going to be a bit of work, but you don’t know that yet.

Right now, you just see one simple question. Only after you answer it does the next question appear.

Eventually (look at that) you’ve answered ten:

Step 2 – Get your events right

Once you’ve answered those ten questions, you’re onto the next step: picking the events you want to use KISSmetrics to track. Thankfully, your answers in the previous step have given the wizard the information it needs to suggest a whole bunch of them:

Again, the copy at the top of the screen provides context, explaining what events are in KISSmetrics and how you can use them to understand the state of your business.

Below that is a list of “Suggested Events.” Each one comes with a short explanation that tells you what the event is and why you’d want to track it. At the bottom is a form that lets you add your own custom events, in case there’s something the wizard missed.

Step 3 – May the Schwartz be with you

Next, on to step three (the most important step): getting properly-configured KISSmetrics’ tracking code integrated:

On the back-end, the wizard has taken the list of events the new signup wants to track, created a customized integration guide, and populated it with pre-written code.

As it did earlier, the wizard then presents new signups with two clear paths: If they have technical chops, they can head straight to their customized integration guide themselves. If they need a developer’s help, they can have KISSmetrics email the developer a link to the guide instead.

In either case, KISSmetrics’ onboarding wizard has just substantially increased the likelihood that new signups will get the tracking code integrated properly, and do it in a way that maximizes the product’s utility down the road. I won’t go so far as to call KISSmetrics’ onboarding process brilliant, but it certainly shows a lot of thought.

That’s more than I can say for the onboarding experiences of a lot of KISSmetrics competitors.

Those are fodder for a future post.

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About the Author

Dan Kaplan created the Foundational Story Framework to help startup founders build more compelling products and do a much better job marketing and selling them. Before starting Threadling, he was the first marketer at Asana, the first product marketer at Twilio, and a product marketer at Salesforce. He also writes an occasional column about the future of technology and humanity for TechCrunch.


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  1. Dan, thanks for sharing this article. I agree with you their on-boarding process is pretty awesome. I’ve signed up for a free trial myself. If you want fodder for your future article, perhaps you can write about the helpful marketing materials they provide during “middle-of-the-funnel” stage, before a visitor becomes a customer.

    I got an email from a sales rep and they sent me to this page called I thought it was a brilliant FAQ page because it informs the user exactly what he or she can accomplish using Kissmetrics.


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