Boosting Referral Conversions with a better User Onboarding process

What makes you recommend your friends and family a product or service?

When you like a product or service so much, you want your friends and family to benefit from them, and this is one of the most crucial reasons that make you recommend a product or service.

And, there may be a ton of reasons that you like a product or service. 

From its price to its quality or the smiling face of the employee who helped you benefit from that product or service, you consider some criteria when recommending a product or service to other people.

And, an excellent user onboarding experience is definitely one reason that makes someone be satisfied with a product and recommend it to their friends and family.

63% of customers said that they think user onboarding is a crucial aspect of their buying decisions.

Another reason you recommend a product or service to your friends and family is that you are encouraged by a referral reward that you can get by recommending a product or service. 

That is to say, referral marketing can be run both organically and through campaigns that encourage customers to recommend your product to their peers.

If you want your referral marketing strategy to grow organically, the best thing that you can do is to provide a quality product or service that provides value to your customers. Since the goal is to provide value to customers, you need to have an all-around onboarding process that helps customers find the value in your product.

In line with your efforts to run your referral marketing strategy successfully, you can use onboarding tools and referral marketing tools that can boost referral conversions.

Now let’s figure out what user onboarding is and how it can help you increase referral conversions.

What exactly is User Onboarding?

User onboarding is an ongoing process that starts with a user’s first interaction with your company and goes on by helping them find value in your product. User onboarding starts with attracting users to your product by clearly explaining how your product can solve their problem, then goes on with guiding first-time users to the value in the product and helping existing users keep finding the value.

Onboarding is often narrowed down to a product tour. And it is a huge mistake!

Yes, a product tour is a part of onboarding your customers. However, a satisfying user onboarding experience requires much more than product tours. 

Here are some fundamental aspects of a successful user onboarding: 

  • In the very first moment when a user finds out about your product, you should clearly and briefly explain to them what value they can expect from it.
  • Make it easy for users to sign-up. Do not ask for too much information. Only stick to what is necessary. You can always ask for further details down the road.

Short sign-up forms help you increase your conversion rates.

  • Send short and informative onboarding emails that are well designed with images or other visuals.
  • Provide an interactive product tour (product walkthrough) and make it optional for users to take it or not. (because some users may have already gone through the process).
  • Provide onboarding checklists and progress bars to help users better manage their time and know where they are on their journey.
  • Use in-app messaging and push notifications at the right moment to engage with your users.
  • Help users find answers to their questions through resource centers.
  • Finally, personalize each and every step for users. Personalization helps users better relate to the process and build a bond with your product.

When you take these into consideration when onboarding users, you will successfully increase acquisition and retention, therefore, your product adoption rates.

How can User Onboarding help boost conversion rates when doing referral marketing?

Let’s talk about two striking statistics:

55% of users said they had returned a product before because they didn’t know how to use it. 

This is striking because it shows what may happen when you can’t get your users past through the most crucial part. 

Another important statistic is that research by Nielsen shows that 83% of consumers suggested that they trust the recommendations from their family and friends when making their buying decisions.

Now, you should ask yourself whether you would recommend a product that you don’t know how to use to your friends and family or not.

I believe the answer is NO.

User onboarding helps you increase conversion rates when doing referral marketing because it is the ultimate way of convincing users that your product is the one that can provide value to them and solve their problems.

When you are able to help users find what they are looking for through a well-prepared onboarding flow, they will naturally recommend it to people around them.

User Onboarding practices you can apply today to boost referral conversions 

#1 Everything starts with an easy sign-up process

As I said earlier in the article, you will lose many users right at the beginning if your sign-up process is complex. So it is truly a crucial part of onboarding because you wouldn’t want to lose users without even having them get started in your product.

Integrating Google Sign-Up provides excellent convenience to users.

Users don’t want to deal with too much work when signing up. In this regard, you should only be asking for necessary information rather than aggressively asking for every detail.

If someone’s going to refer your product to other people, it’s going to be at the end of their onboarding process, and best onboarding processes start with smooth signups

#2 Offer Freemium/ Free Trial

One of the oldest and most powerful desires we have is to try a product out and compare it with another. It is a crucial criterion that people take into consideration when making their buying decisions.

Referral conversions may come to a dead-end when users are not able to see the value of your product with their own eyes, even if the referral is coming to someone very close to them.

Freemiums can help you increase referral conversions by simply convincing users further about the value of your product.

#3 Identify who your new users are

If a user signed up from a referral, it’s a good practice to understand who they are, how they’re related to the person who referred them to the product, etc.

This can help you clearly identify your referral marketing campaigns’ audience and optimize your efforts accordingly.

After an easy sign-up process, you should get to know your users by asking the necessary questions so that you can provide them with a better experience. 

Following these questions, you should constantly analyze product data and collect feedback. The more you know about your users individually, the better unique experiences you can provide them with. 

#4 Personalize the user onboarding process to maximize engagement

Personalization makes it ten times better!

It helps you encourage users to take action. 

When you educate yourself through product data and personalize your processes, your users will better relate to your product and find value in it.

Personalized welcome messages make your users feel at home. Using product data analysis, segmenting users, and examining user behavior, you will be able to create processes that each user uniquely relates to.

Here is a good example from ClickUp:

Personalization is a strong supplementary step for your referral campaign and plays an important role in increasing conversions.

#5 Remind the user about the referral campaign just a little after their Aha Moment

The Aha moment will be where your users find value in your product and think to themselves that their friends and family should know about it too.

This is why user onboarding should lead to an Aha, maybe even a wow moment that will amaze users with the value of your product. Making sure that they’re encouraged after the wow and Aha process will boost their chances of creating yet another virality campaign for you.


To put it in a nutshell, the best way to increase referral conversions is to provide value to users and help them find that value. 

In line with this effort, you should educate yourself through product data and customer feedback and provide an excellent onboarding experience. 

Following this primary drive (finding value) that makes people suggest a product to their friends and family, you should benefit from referral marketing tools, which makes it a lot easier for you to increase conversions.


This is a guest post written by our friends at UserGuiding

Top 7 Mistakes Online Course Creators Make

If you have a strong personal brand, and you’re an expert in your field, then creating an online course is one of the best ways to make money. After all, information is valuable — and there are tons of people out there vying to get to where you are today. 

Starting a course turns the stuff in your head into cash in your bank account, and gets you paid for the value you’re capable of delivering instead of just your time.

Not to mention, starting a course is a great way to build your credibility, and it can help you have a positive impact on others. Sounds like a no-brainer, right?

However, starting your own online course isn’t always all sunshine and rainbows. There are plenty of pitfalls that newer creators often fall into — and sometimes, these pitfalls turn their course journey into a failure.

In this article, I’m gonna show you what some of those pitfalls are — and how to avoid them.

The Top 7 Mistakes Online Course Creators Make

  1. Making The Course Too Broad.

Suppose you offer an all-in-one course on digital marketing. You teach people to run email campaigns, design websites, run digital ads, build their social media accounts, and write killer copy.

Is anyone gonna think you’re an expert at every single one of those?

Most course creators go the other way: they have very “narrow” courses that zero in on one particular skill. That lets them focus on helping others do the thing they’re very best at, so people get the most value from them possible. 

This also allows them to upsell more courses later if they so choose. And if they ever do an “overview course”, they hire outside experts to teach the stuff they’re not the best at.

Remember, as a course creator, you’re competing with all the other course creators out there — and if you’re not one of the best in the field to learn from, people will go somewhere else. So, especially when you’re just starting out, it’s best to stick to the things you know best.

  1. Asking For Too Much Commitment.

People don’t want to spend tons of time on your course. They’re too busy to spend weeks learning from you.

All the time, I see course creators put tons of time and effort into creating a course that lasts forever. They think they need to put every little thing they’ve ever learned into the course, or it just won’t be worth it.

But the truth is, they’re wasting their time, because courses should be short. In most cases, you should be able to go through a course in just a day or so, if you’re motivated. 

In fact, many courses actually market the fact that they’re short. For example, Daniel Throssell’s copywriting course sales page mentions several times that you can go through the entire course in just 1 hour. 

Point is, you want to show your audience that you’re not gonna take up more time than you have to.

That’s not to say that “longer” courses don’t have their place — but you have to understand your audience. Are there people who are willing to spend weeks and weeks on a journey with you? If not, you should think about condensing your course, or at least creating a “short” version.

  1. Adding Lots Of Useless Content.

This builds on my last point, because, one of the best ways to make your course shorter is to cut all the information that just isn’t all that helpful.

Focus on the most important 10% of the stuff you know. If you had 2 hours to turn someone into an expert, what would you teach them? Put that stuff in your course, and get rid of everything else.

What if you don’t do this? If you hide all the useful chunks of info that people are paying for in between huge mountains of useless info, or long monologues about something that just isn’t that important, people aren’t gonna notice the good stuff when it comes around. (Even worse, they’ll get bored and not finish the course — and then chances are, they’ll ask for a refund.)

  1. Dividing Your Course Into Huge, Impenetrable “Modules” Rather Than Short Videos.

In today’s age, people want their information in bite-size chunks.

Think about the last thriller novel you read. How long were the chapters? Probably pretty short, if the book was published recently.

Or, think about the last exercise program you read about. Did it market itself as “you can get results using this program, but you have to work out for 3 hours a day?” Probably not — most workout programs brag about the gains you can get if you’re willing to invest just 15 minutes.

Chances are, most of the media you consume deliberately divides itself into small pieces. The best marketers know that people like things short and sweet — especially in the 21st Century. 

When you’re creating an online course, the same principles apply. Keep your content short and sweet, and people will be much more willing to “binge” it.

Plus, this allows people to go through the course on their own schedule. If they only have time for 15 minutes a day, they’re not gonna like it if the content’s split into 60-minute chunks.

Finally, keeping your content short and sweet forces you to think about point 3: what do you really need to include in the course? If a video’s 10 minutes long, you can often cut it to 5 minutes by getting rid of a lot of the “fluff” that no one will ever use anyways.

  1. Focusing On Design, Rather Than User Experience

Here’s a secret about your audience: they’d rather feel like they’re making smooth, steady progress through the course than feel the course is “pretty”.

After all, they’re investing a ton of money to learn from you, and they’re expecting to get a pretty serious return on that investment. So they’ll be pretty disappointed if the course doesn’t give them the information they need in a way that’s easy to digest.

Ease of use is king. Think of it this way: your students don’t want to do a ton of work. They want to take your course to feel like watching Netflix: they sit back, they’re entertained, they learn something, and they enjoy themselves.

Sure, you can include stuff like quizzes or exercises so the material sinks in. In fact, I’d recommend it. But don’t make them spend their precious mental energy just to figure out how to get to the next module.

Sure, making the course look pretty is important — but I’d rather take an ugly course that I can go through easily, than a pretty course where I get stuck.

And if you’re using a course platform (which you absolutely should), then you can tinker around with the display a little bit, if you want to. But try not to do it too much, or you might push the platform past its limits — you’ll be out of the zone where it does what it does well — and if that happens, your students will have a bad time.

  1. Not Asking For Feedback.

You need to make the best course you can. Plain and simple. 

And this goes double if you’re offering refunds. (And side note: as a course creator, you should offer refunds! Offering refunds shows people you’re confident and recognize the value of your course, and as a result, more people will buy your course.) 

Preventing a refund is as good as making a sale. And the single best way to minimize refunds is to improve your course.

How do you improve your course? You can always go through it yourself to try to find problems, but the best way to identify your students’ problems is to just ask them.

If someone cancels, make them tell you why. If they have a great time, ask them to leave a review. And have a “leave a comment” button throughout the course, so people can tell you what’s wrong while it’s on the top of their mind.

If your course includes exclusive access to online communities, read what people are saying in those communities. And if there are other places where people might be talking about you (like in Facebook groups, for example), then check those out as well.

Then, see if you can find common themes. Improve the things that people don’t like, or are constantly complaining about. 

Same thing if people like your course. Ask them to tell you why. That way, you’re hearing positive feedback, too, which keeps you feeling good about your course — if you only ask for negative feedback, it can go to your head.

If people like your course, you can also ask them for a referral. (And if you want to maximize the power of your referrals, the website you’re on right now,, is a great place to do it!)

You also have to know what feedback to ignore. If someone sends you an angry email telling you that your course sucked and that you should delete it and stop taking people’s money, you have to realize that they’re probably in the minority. 

Similarly, a lot of people will give you feedback that applies only to them, and not to most of your users, and solving their problem will hurt everyone else’s user experience.

Some feedback is worth taking, and some isn’t. So get as much as you can, and then learn to distinguish between the two types.

  1. Not Pricing Your Course Properly

How much does your course cost? This is crucial. You have to come up with the right number. 

Here’s why: price your course too high, and no one will buy it. 

But price your course too low, and no one will buy it either.

That’s because people see value in price. If something’s expensive, they’ll assume there’s a good reason why.

That means if you offer your course for $50, people will say to themselves, “well, that’s probably junk, so I’m not gonna waste my time on it.” But list the exact same course for $300, and they’ll say, “sign me up!”

That’s why it’s so important to find a happy medium. You have to find a price that shows your audience that you know what you’re doing, and that it’s worth their time and money to invest, without charging so much that you sound unreasonable.

What’s the “right price”? Often, it’s the highest price you can justify. You need to be able to say in your sales page, “this is how much it costs, and this is why.”

For some courses, that’s a few hundred bucks. For others, it’s a few thousand.

One idea: if the information in your course is gonna help your audience make money, then you can calculate the dollar figure someone might make by using what you taught them. Then you can price your course based on that.

The best price for your course also depends on how many signups you want. For example, if you’re giving your students lots of personalized attention, you probably want to keep the course small, so you can help the students you do have more. 

Giving your course a higher price is a great way to keep out the time-wasters and gate keep your course to the people who will actually put the effort in.

Another helpful tip is to price based on how well your audience knows you. 

You can make hundred-dollar “introductory” courses for people who have never taken a course from you before. And then once they like that one, you can upsell them on your big-money, personalized-attention-from-me offer.


David Crowther is the founder of NerveCentral and helps businesses transform their websites into powerful sales tools and turn more browsers into buyers.

My agency, NerveCentral, is currently offering a sales & marketing “StarterKit” for those looking for a proven, simple path to launching an online course sales funnel with the strategy & tech already taken care of.

To get started, simply shoot me an email at [email protected]. uses EarlyParrot as their referral marketing solution provides daily marketing tips to more than 100,000 entrepreneurs via EHQ Daily. also host several virtual summits about various topics such as SEO, Digital Marketing and Email Marketing.

To further grow their subscribers both for and also for their summits they work with several affiliates partners who actively promote their business. But they want to take referrals a step further. They wanted to enable their existing subscribers to actively to refer new subscribers in exchange for rewards. uses EarlyParrot platform for their referral marketing campaign. Watch what Liam Austin (co-founder of had to says about EarlyParrot.

What to expect here?

So why not share them so everyone can learn from each other’s experience?

At EarlyParrot we don’t just sell a referral marketing platform, we compliment the platform with free tips and advice on how best to approach a referral marketing campaign. Most of the tips I give out are during our one on one calls which I have, almost daily, with our customers.

So why not share them so everyone can learn from each other’s experience?

I will be blogging about different referral marketing campaign configurations, different tips and tricks that we have used with our customers to improve previous results, case studies of proud customers who want to tell the world that they are using EarlyParrot, latest updates from our development department and general news about EarlyParrot.

Stick around for bi-weekly (or so) short posts.