"All users who are new to our service take a special training course before they begin working. We even created a course that helps active users tell their friends about our service, It really does work, and it's a great service!"
CEO and Co-Founder of Planfix.com
1. Why did you decide to create an Academy? What prompted you to do this?
We have a fairly complex product with many features, so we've been having difficulty engaging new users. An important metric for us is the rate at which users convert from trial accounts to full customer accounts. We're constantly trying out different methods for raising this metric, making hypotheses and testing them out. One hypothesis was that our users don't understand where to begin or how to familiarize themselves with Planfix, and if we provide them with a clear set of steps they need to take, then we can make this process easier — and this would lead to more people using our product on a regular basis. To test this hypothesis, we tried out AcademyOcean.
We put together a course for beginners called "Day one with Planfix." This course contains ten short lessons that users can complete within 20–30 minutes. We created this course specifically to engage users from the very first lesson. To do this, we made the lessons very short, using the strategy of "one lesson — one message." Also, the last sentence in each lesson references the following lesson, which inspires users to proceed right then and there. This setup helps our clients get to the know the basics of working with Planfix quickly, so they can try out what they've learned as soon as possible.
2. What did you start with?
3. How much time did you spend creating your Academy?
The first course took us about 3–4 weeks. Most of that time was spent planning the actual content of the lessons. We wanted to make them as simple as possible, but that was difficult — we kept wanting to mention this and that and another feature we offer :) I had to hold myself back and keep in mind that we already have enough long descriptions of how great we are and all the things we offer as it is. Now we're just making a course that users should be able to get through in one sitting.
The actual transferring of lesson texts and corresponding images to AcademyOcean was quick. The interface is very user-friendly, and after a couple hours we already had a draft of our course. We navigated around it, smoothing transitions and shortening texts that were too long.
The next course was substantially easier for us, despite that the fact that it has more lessons than the first and the lessons themselves are longer. We could already see that users were responding positively to the first course and that they were able to easily register and complete lessons. This provided a great incentive for us to continue working, and we created a course for managers about how they can implement Planfix at their companies.
Then, we created another course, which was shorter and had a completely different purpose. If the first two courses were aimed at working with users who have already registered, then the goal for this course was to attract the attention of new users. The course is called "7 life lessons that lead you to Planfix," and it describes situations that are easy for businesspeople to relate to — and how Planfix can help. We recommend existing users share this course with friends who ask, "What is it you like so much about Planfix?" This channel for attracting new users is interesting to us, and we have been experimenting a lot with it.
4. What did you do after you created the course?
We had all of this planned out ahead of time. Planfix is a system for collaboration in which people work a lot with tasks. We set things up so that each new user who signs in for the first time already has a task automatically assigned to them, and that task is to complete the instructional "Day one with Planfix" course. We send them off in the right direction from the start, and we help them get to know our service.
5. What were your results?
We let the numbers do the talking here. Before we started working with AcademyOcean, our conversion rate for trial accounts into regular customers was 17–19%, whereas now it's gone up to 25%. This is really great for us, since each percentage point translates to dozens of companies each month that have switched to full customer accounts.
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