This started as a reply to @anomalily’s post about referral programs, but I figured I’d bring it to its own topic to avoid confusion.
How is new user retention looking relative to where you’d like it to be? Even with the redesign, there’s a pretty steep learning between finding out about Beeminder and knowing how to use it effectively to achieve your goals. Some websites address this with tips for new users (emails, popups, or the like) that explain new features a few at a time and offer “just in time” access to additional resources.
Some information I’d suggest including:
What do I beemind? (Examples of each type of graph, and a link to the “user stories” page I suggested in the other post)
How do I pick a rate? (Details of the road dial, the akrasia horizon, etc)
What do I need to do now? (How to enter data, set up reminders, and contact support if needed. If it’s a weight loss graph, possibly explain how it handles normal fluctuations.)
What else can I do? (Information on more-advanced settings, participating in the forum, beemium, etc)
At the very least, I’d suggest updating the FAQ, which is pretty intimidating right now. It’s not organized, particularly visually compelling, or (I suspect) even representative of the questions that are actually frequently asked. Similarly, the intro video shows images from the old design and describes it working in ways that aren’t true any more - and I expect the equations on the blackboard in the background add to the sense of “this is too complicated for me to figure out.”
Essentially, the resources available to a new user on the site should provide all the information you’d get from a trusted friend in a way that is approachable and easy to find. More referrals are great, but I expect you’d get more impact from retaining the folks who make it to the site from the referrals that are already happening.
Oh man, this is a GREAT thread- I hope people that are not me chime in.
I’ve been considering an email series that folks get when they sign up. Like a “Guide to Goal-Setting with Beeminder” that essentially is a daily email course you opt-into for a week when you’re a NewBee. YNAB does this. (I keep bringing them up, but I think they’re a similarly complicated tool to Beeminder that has a fantastic on-boarding process that keeps you from getting overwhelmed.)
A serious add-on of value to that would be actually offering them a webinar within a ~10 days of signing up that helps answer their questions (live would be ideal so they can answer questions in real time).
I haven’t dived into the new user retention data but it’s probably high time to do so to effectively see where and when people are dropping off.
This is also my bias against us investing prematurely in advertising. Our conversion and retention rate needs to be sharpened first. Not least because of the folks who will bounce and then become allergic, even if beeminding would be perfect for them.
Seems like it works best if a trusted friend guides you through your first steps. It’d be great if we can be that (soon-to-be-trusted) friend through lifecycle emails and so on. We talked about it this time last year, but it fizzled.
User stories are not all that useful (they tell you what you could do, if you knew what you were doing, which you don’t).
A step by step guide/worked example kind of thing for one common goal at a time (for maybe the most dozen sufficiently different scenarios) with screenshots, arrows, every detail of what is on screen explained (or a link to more details about a graph element/UI element) from goal creation to regular data-entry (on the site or on the mobile app) and derailments and more advances stuff (retroratcheting etc.). So that a user can read a tutorial and know fairly well, what he’s doing and doesn’t have to learn by trial and error.
Then just a list of a hundred more common goals, witch suggest building them like one or two of the dozen well documented.
or this: (maybe with less obnoxious arrows, though)
Also a changelog referring to Beeminder version numbers, when something changes, so that a user doesn’t feel (as) weirded out, when he rereads something and it isn’t what he remembered.
I know, that would be a pain to create. And each small change to the Beeminder UI would probably cause two hours of work just for updating all of them. That would however be the price of good documentation. And good documentation is essential for retention.