Improving The First Run Experience Of Your Software

You get exactly one chance to make a good first impression. Make the most of it, so that your users are happy to continue using your software. This will increase their success and your sales.

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If you give me your email address, I'll give you access to this video on improving the user experience and revenue of your software business by making the users' first time with your application absolutely sing. Plus, you'll get free, exclusive strategic and tactical advice to make the most out of your business. Of course, everybody and their dog tells you that, so what will you get specifically?

  • A walk-through of a simple trick which added $10,000 of revenue for 2 hours of work.
  • Guided walk-throughs of the first run experience of five apps and SaaS businesses, showing what works and why.
  • Actionable tactics which you can implement immediately to increase your user engagement and conversion rates.

Quick Links

  • Intro
  • Avoid Paralyzing Users With Blank Screens (Sign up to see/read it!)
  • Using 'Scent' To Improve Trial Conversion and User Engagement (Sign up to see/read it!)
  • How My Tour Greatly Increased Customer Lifetime Value (Sign up to see/read it!)
  • Optimizely: Well-executed Tours Of Complex Products (Sign up to see/read it!)
  • Wrap-up & Review (Sign up to see/read it!)
Hi, everybody. I'm Patrick McKenzie, better known as patio11 on the internets. So I usually talk about making money with software. We're going to do things a little differently today. I'm going to talk about wasting money with software instead. I've prepared a visual demonstration with two of my friends.

One is Benjamin Franklin, $100 of US currency. The other is a pair of scissors. See, waste look something like this. And I just can't bring myself to do it. See, I've tried four takes already. The script says that I'm supposed to destroy Ben right now to make a point. But I just can't bring myself to do it because shredding money is stupid, right? I mean, it's a great visual. Your lizard brain rebels against the prospect of $100 getting turned to confetti before your very eyes.

But rationally speaking, $100 is fungible. Money is money wherever it is. So $100 getting destroyed off screen is just as bad as destruction of just as much value-- it's a creation of just as much waste- as it is destroyed $100 on screen. So is your business wasting $100 anywhere? What do you think?

Well, unfortunately, I don't have to think about this one because I've already done the math. Two years ago, my software business had a budget of about $10,500 every year for advertising via AdWords and other programs. So their budget breaks down to about $200 a week. 60% of that was getting wasted, which means Ben plus his good friend, Thomas, who don't have here as a prop, were getting turned into confetti every single f-ing week. And why was that happening?

Let me ask you a question. First, say you have a software product or service that's available, right? Of 100 people who sign up to use that, how many come back? It's a simple question, so just shout out the answer. What? I can't hear you!

See, I ask this question to consulting clients all the time. And the reality is that almost no one knows that answer because almost no one tracks that statistic right now, which is a shame. I didn't track it myself up until two years ago. And then, I started. So for the people that I'm attracting Google AdWords and organic search engine optimization and other tactics to get people to my website, of the people who successfully sign up for a trial, only 40% of them ever came back for a second, third, fourth, et cetera, use of the software, which means 60% used the software once.

Their experience with the first use of the software was so underwhelming and they perceived so little value that they went away, and never came back, and never talked to me again. That means the easiest thing to calculate is that 60% of my advertising spent was totally wasted. So 60% of $10,500 is a little more than $6,000. More than one Ben Franklin getting turned into confetti every week. That's just the part that's easy to calculate, right? It's much worse than that.

It's not just by advertising. It's all my marketing activities. It's all my engineering activities, the building features that nobody was using. And it's not just budget, or money, or that sort of thing. We didn't just get into this business to make money. We got into this business to make people's lives better, right?

See, my software helps elementary school teachers teach little children learn how to read. So 60% waste means 60% of the little kids who I could potentially be reaching through my software are not learning how to read better because their teachers didn't receive value from their first experience with my software. That's not just waste. That's an f-ing tragedy, right? So 60% of the value that could be getting delivered to the world was not getitng delivered. 60% of my time, totally wasted.

How many of you are smarter than me? You think, oh, you're doing much better than this poor sap, right? Well, I encourage you to take a look at the numbers. Install whatever kind of metric solution you need into your website or software. And see how many people use it a second time. See, I've done this with a lot of clients now. And across a lot of clients and a lot of industries, it's pretty consistent. 40%, 50% use the software a second, third, fourth time. So 50%, 60% of your users are essentially going to waste.

What can we do about that? That's the topic of this video. So first, we're going to explore some anti patterns, things that your software might be doing in the first run experience that convey to users that it doesn't have much value or that create barriers between your users and getting the value out of their software in such a way that they're incentivized to use the software a second time. We're going to look at companies who are very savvy about how they design their products and their marketing such that people are exposed to a lot of value very quickly in their experience with product and so that they want to use it a second, third, fourth time.

We're going to show you actual tips, tactics that you can steal, integrate into your own product, to improve product design and its marketing such that people will have a good first experience with the software-- sometimes called a good onboarding process-- have a good first experience, come back for a second experience, a third experience. Achieve activation, which means happy use of the software. And after they're happily using the software and receiving the value from it, they'll be happy to pay you money. So let's dig into this.