2022 Website Trends: Onboarding and Templates with Andrew Capland
Andrew has worked in growth positions at Top B2B SaaS companies such as Postscript, Wistia, and HubSpot. He’s also the author of Growth Essays and host of How I Got Here Podcast, where he chats with other growth leaders about how they first got into growth.
In this interview we discuss:
- Goal focused onboarding and templates
- Blending website and sign up experiences
- Choose your own adventure era of SaaS
To start, give a high-level introduction of your background
In addition to that stuff, I’m a dad. I live just outside the city in Boston, and I’m obviously very passionate about this cross-functional world of growth.
What are some gold standard websites that you love right now?
The two that are my favorite for right now, I feel like this is always changing, are Miro and Canva. I think they both do a couple of things really well.
Website #1: Miro
So Miro - they start with a question. When you sign up for their product, it starts in their onboarding flow, but they ask you, what’s the main goal for signing up today?
They give you like four or five common options, and then based on what you select, they suggest and they show different stuff inside of their products.
I’ve signed up for it so many times just because I’m really impressed by it, that if you select one of the four different options, then they put you into a template editor. They have a whole bunch of stuff that’s pre-built, and what they suggest is specific to the goal that you just said is the reason why you’re signing up.
I love the goal-based approach. I love the pre-built templates to help shortcut the time to value for people that are just not sure what to do.
What I think is the cherry on top is that instead of having all these things and pop-ups overlaying inside of their product, they use their product to teach you how to use their product.
I think a lot of good things there - goal-based onboarding, pre-built templates, they use your tool, they use the tool to teach you the tool, and they start all of it on their website.
You can even just browse their website and see some of the examples where they have templates and a whole template library, see how you might use the product, envision how it’s going to help your use case, and then if you want to use the template, it then initiates the signup process with that stuff preselected.
Explore an interactive demo of the Miro onboarding process:
See why Andrew choose Miro as one of his gold standard websites.
Website #2: Canva
Canva does a super similar approach. They even allow you to start poking around and seeing some of their content before you fill out the form. I love that they also have a really good goal-based approach.
They have a million different templates, and the ones that they suggest are based on the goals that you select and they even have some nice upgrade stuff and save flow.
There’s like a ton of good stuff for anybody working on PLG to add to their Swipe file.
What are top trends you’re seeing for websites and onboarding this year?
I see us entering this Choose Your Own Adventure era of SaaS and of product-led SaaS. I think what it looks like in practice is similar to what good sales reps have been doing for a long time, where they listen to what customers want and then they customize their presentation and what they show and how they talk about the product to the goals that the customers have.
I see that happening a lot in the examples that I just shared. And I’m also seeing additional options being created. So one is that people aren’t sure what to do inside of the tool.
And there are some people that are signing up. They say, hey, I want to check out this product, but I don’t want to enter in all of my information. I would love a template to help me go zero to one really fast.
I’m seeing the emergence of these pre-built templates. Miro does it really well. Canva obviously has a million templates, but Airtable like another really slick example of a company that has all these pre-built templates to help you get going.
And then the other trend or approach to this Choose Your Own Adventure journey that we’re on is what you all are up to.
Interactive product experiences where some people just don’t want to sign up and still want to check out the product.
And so by making the product experience on the website so that anybody can interact with it, you increase the amount of people that see it, they get value from it, and it should follow into the product and you’ll see more interactions and more activations from that as well.
I’m just like excited about the movement, but those are the two big things that I’m seeing.
What is a trend you’re ready to see end this year for websites and onboarding?
There’s a lot of companies that make you do the two-part sign-in where you sign up for the product and you have to go back to the email and then enter in some code to confirm.
I know why those companies do it. It’s a fraud prevention thing, but there are other ways that you can prevent fraud and poor sign-ups and all that kind of stuff from happening.
I’d love to see that go away. I just think it’s such a crummy user experience to end up with multiple tabs and all this stuff. Which tab should I go and do I click the button and then refresh the first tab, or should I just go in the second tab?
There’s a lot of friction there.
The other one is I feel like companies were really excited to get referral systems going. They saw it as a good growth loop, as a way for one user to help you get other users. But I feel like every company was just giving away their own swag.
It’s a really crummy incentive to do anything inside of the product, to give people your own swag, give them cash or a cash equivalent. A gift card is something that they can use.
Those are two things I’d be okay not seeing as much of.
What are some of your favorite tools for website design or onboarding?
Pendo, I think, has done a really good job.
I also love that they make additions to just pop-ups and things like that. I love that they make interactive checklists. In my experience, having a checklist that people come back to when they get stuck is a really powerful tool for product adoption.
So I love that they’ve got that. It’s a really easy tool to use.
I’m also a huge Fullstory fan. The ability to see what people are really doing inside of your product and where they’re really getting stuck and not what they say they want to do, but what they really do. And there’s no substitute for that.
I think what you all are up to is really interesting and I think my other one that’s on my list is VWO because I’m a huge proponent of experimentation and A/ B testing and VWO I think is a great solution for mid-sized companies to be able to learn faster.
Tell us more about Delivering Value and how startups or early-stage companies can level up their growth skills
I work with relatively early-stage companies, Series A and Series B and I help them scale product-led growth systems based on my background of working at Wistia and working at Postscript where I led the crossfunctional teams that were focused on growth.
Now what I do is a mix of coaching and advising. I do one-to-one coaching for people that are in growth roles. Usually, for the first time, I give them feedback on a sanity check, a gut check for them on their strategy, and I give them feedback on their approach and help them develop soft skills.
And then on the flip side, I work with teams and do some advising where I help them grow the business and I’m usually working with founders and product teams to set up a lot of the systems that I’ve seen work really well to scale from 8 million in ARR to 30 plus.