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Creating a new community onboarding experience in 30 minutes

Danielle Maveal
Dec 9, 2022

You really can develop an initial 3-step onboarding flow for new community members in only 30 minutes. We'll show you how! But first, we'll cover three helpful best practices.

Make the new community member journey simple –– start with the first step.

Think about entering a new physical space, like a festival or conference. There's one check in desk, and one series of steps every attendee takes. Usually you get greeted by a member of the inner circle, someone to tell you the next step to take. Then, through your exploration of the new space, they'll be a flow for you to follow along with signs for wayfinding. How will your community members feel comfortable, know what step to take next, and where else they can go from here? These are the most important elements of building a community onboarding flow.

Greet each member with a personalized message or tour.

Grace Blacksea from the Quench Collective has a great take on that first community moment for a new member. Instead of asking her members to post an introduction in their community, she posts one for them. Before joining, Grace asks new members to fill out an onboarding form, and she'll use the information gathered in that form to craft a post introducing this member to the community. How nice to have someone personally welcome you! 

Want to learn more about Grace's engagement strategies? Check out this free recorded webinar! 

Help new members understand the journeys they can take.

It's helpful to create a re-engagement strategy for new community members. They may not easily pick up the habit of checking in on your online space daily, you'll have to create that habit! At the same time, you can help them understand what happens in the community, who else is present, and what other programming you have to offer. Create an onboarding series, preferably by email, that sends the new community member back to the community space, or to events where they can meet other members. This series should help give them a sense of the journeys they can take! 

Ok, now on to the real work! 

First things first, head to this Onboarding Notion template and duplicate it and make a copy for yourself. You can use this worksheet for ALL new community members, or when you’re think about onboarding current members into a new program, cohort, or space.

Give yourself 10-15 minutes to answer these initial questions, they'll help you with the next step of developing a strategy.

1. What happens in this community (or this space they’re now joining)?
2. How does the above support, inspire, positively impact a new member?
3. At what moment do most new members really feel and understand the above?
4. What are the 3 smaller actions that the new member needs to take to make it possible for that above moment to happen?
5. When will members understand that other members are like them in some way (shared values, experiences, interests)?

These questions will help you focus on what is a priority for new community members, and give you an idea of what direction to first point them.

The second part of the template will help you make a plan for the first 3 steps your new community member should take.

Now you should have a good idea of how to support new community members in their first 30-days. Some things to note:

  • If you have a very large community, a single track might not meet the needs of most of your members. You might want to come up with segments or personas and create an onboarding workflow for each of these community member types.
  • The 3-steps you come up with might not cover all that needs to communicated to a new member, also consider the following:
  • Your community mission + vision + values
  • Your community’s Code of Conduct
  • A technical demo of your community space

Keep in mind, you should feel free to go off script to add a playful, fun moment to your new community member’s journey!

Once you've tested your new onboarding workflow, and you're ready to automate each step, well Burb can help you do that! Sign up, and you'll get 30 days to create and test an automated onboarding workflow.

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