When sitting down to write a new post, I ran through a plethora of ideas. We’ve been focusing a lot on CES 2017 recently, so I needed to get us back into the swing of our typical marketing and startup sales related posts. I ended up thinking about user onboarding and the mistakes that a lot of startups make when creating their onboarding flow. I then thought about what mistake is most commonly seen during user onboarding experiences: giving product tours.

Giving product tours doesn’t work for user onboarding. Onboarding need to be focused on showing new users how they immediately gain value from the use of the product. This can be done most simply by somehow rewarding users for taking the first step towards product success. Rewarding doesn’t necessarily mean giving somebody something such as a monetary incentive, but rewarding them with what they want from your product. When people get exactly what they want fast, it makes the first-time use of a product a lot more compelling and it gives users a reason to continue learning about it.

An onboarding flow is compelling when it’s not built with the goals of a company in mind. It’s built when the needs of the user comes first.

Think about this for a minute… imagine that you’ve just joined a new company and the first thing they say is “take a tour!” That sounds both complex and not very fun! Forcing people through a learning flow isn’t a very motivating reason to continue the onboarding experience of a product… and it makes potential users stop the onboarding process.

When building or refining your onboarding flow take a lot of time to think about how you can create immediate value for your new users. What is the one task that a person can do that makes it a valuable product? Once they’ve completed one task, get them to do another, then ask them to do another, and then ask them to do another, and so on.

To figure out which tasks are most important for demonstrating value, you can write down all of your product features. Once your product features are written out, order the features by the importance of them (which features will generate the most value to users?).

Once you’ve ranked the features that are most important, you need to figure out which features require the smallest effort from the user to demonstrate value.

Show value immediately.

The whole point of this post is to drive home the notion that you need to show value immediately. A product tour doesn’t show value, but rather makes your product look complex. A product tour doesn’t let the new user have that “aha!” moment that drives them towards becoming a great long-term customer.

To figure out if you’re showing value immediately, make sure you’re thinking about your product as a user and not a company, research your customers needs, and make sure you understand what motivates people to want to use your product.