05/30/2012 09:25 am ET Updated Jul 30, 2012

5 Tips for Turning a New Signup Into a Power User

You only get one chance at a first impression. In the first experience, your users decide how much of their time or money they will invest in your company. Will they become a lifelong devoted fan, sharing your company with all their friends or will they drop off after the first signup? Here are a few tips to stack the odds in your favor.
  1. Add value immediately. Your product is awesome, right? Well, show your users that immediately without making them go through hoops to get there. For example, you can allow signup with Facebook so the process is painless and you have enough information about their interests to lead them towards the things they'll most enjoy about your product. You could use examples before you require them to setup anything. Imagine your user has a very short attention span (which they probably do) and you have to give them the product version of an elevator pitch. Make it quick.
  2. Say hello. Your new user has decided to give you their valuable time, now it's your turn to make them feel welcome. At minimum, make sure the sign up process shows off your company's personality and that you have messaging or imagery that welcomes them to the product (sidenote: it doesn't actually have to say "welcome"). You should also send them a welcome email that is both helpful and friendly. This may be through a list of tips, links to resources or simply a reminder of how to get back to the site. You may even go above and beyond. Make sure in this process they know where to go if they have questions or feedback. For instance, for one of LiftFive's clients, Newsle, we welcome some of our top new users via Twitter and let them know we can help them out with anything they need.
  3. Create shareable experiences. There are two key parts to a shareable experience:
    • The first is a moment where something cool has happened. This may be them discovering what you offer for the first time, getting some information specific to them or completing their first task in your product.
    • The second component of a shareable experience is that you make it as frictionless as possible to share. The point here isn't to annoy people with SHARE THIS pop-ups, but to seamlessly offer them a way to share that moment with their social networks. When done right, this not only increases sharing and virality but makes the experience better.
  4. Let them engage with you where they want to. If you've created a great experience some users will actively want to engage with you further. Make this as easy as possible. They should be able to like you on Facebook and follow you on Twitter in one click each. If your users love Tumblr, you should have a great Tumblr that you link to prominently. In short, be where your users are.
  5. Follow up (nicely)! Early adopters often jump from new app to new app, and only stick with a few. You can increase your chances of being one of the few if you remind them of how you can help them. As an example, you might have a follow-up email when there are new things they might like (listings, features or whatever is right for your business) or if they haven't logged in in a month send them an email with helpful examples of how people are using your product. Also, remember you have the opportunity to re-engage users who followed you on social networks through awesome content there. In short, take advantage of every touch point you have while being mindful of your users time and inbox.
Users make snap judgments about new things they try and these tips can help make sure they are positive. That being said, the best way to turn a new user into a lifelong fan is to have an amazing product that they can't live without. Build something that makes their lives better and your life will be much easier.