Many data-driven startups have uncovered that having one single user onboarding experience can ultimately make or break them. This is what I call the single onboarding misconception.

Take Twitter as a prime example of a company that has spent countless resources to perfect their onboarding flow so that it’s unique for every user.

Upon signing up, the site asks the new user to select people they are interested in following. Immediately, they can have a rich feed that’s custom tailored to their liking. This is no different for any other B2C or B2B startup.

If you’re just starting up, it shouldn’t be a top priority to customize onboarding experiences, but there are multiple low-lift items that can be initially implemented. I’ll describe how to think about the type of data needed to make onboarding unique and share some examples of how I’ve implemented this myself.

It all starts during acquisition

Experience has convinced me that without a multipath onboarding experience, startups cannot reach their full potential. Recently, I encountered various fintech cryptocurrency exchanges that ask for a customer’s “Experience Level” with cryptocurrency. What I haven’t seen as prominently is a personalized experience based on the answer to this question.

Initial data collected during acquisition through a lead form or during sign-up for a product will help fuel a multi-onboarding experience. During my time with the growth team at Coinbase, many of our lifecycle email and push campaigns were designed to be triggered based on the user’s behavior. While this wasn’t a fully personalized experience, we made sure to tailor our communications based on the in-app behaviors of the users.

If a user was a power trader (if they had a high volume of trades, for example), we would send emails on ETH staking, liquidity pools and more advanced cryptocurrency investment actions.

When thinking about the type of data necessary to bucket users into a specific journey, ask yourself this essential question:

What are my consumer personas?

Based on the response you receive to this question, you’ll be able to determine which questions are needed to help you segment users during their onboardings. Some of the foundational variables to include early on are:

Personal attributes
Past experiences
Use cases

Each startup should have its own unique flavor of questions to ask, but if you’re stuck, select from the list of examples provided above as a start. These will ultimately shed light on the question of which customer persona you’re acquiring.

Your site needs more than just one user onboarding experience by Walter Thompson originally published on TechCrunch