Let people experience your app’s benefits without signing up

Taste-before-you-buyI love to try new things! And I’m in luck; because I’m a web developer there’s at least six new things to try almost every week 🙂 As much fun as it is to look at all the things better developers than myself make, it can also be a bit distracting at times. The same goes for the sheer amount of programming that goes into even a seemingly simple app. Especially when you’re trying to build out a sonewhat more complex app, it’s easy to lose sight of the goal(s) you are working towards. You are on top of so many details, you need to work out so many user flows that you might forget how an actual user of your app will perceive it.

And it’s hard, it’s really hard. You can tell that it’s hard by the way a lot of online apps work. Some of the simplest apps start by asking you for your profile information before you even start to get a glimpse of what it’s supposed to do or how it works.

Being a coder myself, I can think of a dozen reasons why apps work like that. Most (side)projects I work on revolve around all of the functionality the app will offer. Around all the things users will be able to do with the app. Honoustly, I think I have never worked on a project which truly integrated customer acquisition. It is kind of logical: You have this great idea which you want to turn into an application, which you want to share with the world and which you want the world to come and buy. That’s what you concentrate on. You brainstorm about how the idea can be executed in such a way that it is most useful to your users. And once you have this clear vision about the usage, you start executing on it. Once it’s done, a product page is added with a list of benefits and a big green “Sign up now!” button is added. In other words; the customer acquisition part is bolted on. (I hate those words: “customer acquisition”. But actually it’s just a way to get people to use your app. To let them find out how great it is!)

Now, to get back to the “trying new things” part: not just developers have six new things to try every week, every internet user has a load of new things to try almost daily. There’s loads and loads of product pages with lists of benefits and “Sign up now!” buttons in every color. And if your app doesn’t very clearly solve a problem that hasn’t been solved before, visitors will not be easily inclined to give away their personal info without actually experiencing how it helps them. That’s a given in the crowded online-apps landscape. What it means is that we need to adapt the goal(s) of a project. Or actually, we need to increase our focus on a part of the goal we are used to taking for granted. We take for granted that we are trustworthy, that the people who come to our app can trust us. While, when I visit a website I haven’t seen before and there’s nothing to vouch for that website except their own sign up page, I’m pretty suspicious. I will Google them first. Read forums. Check Twitter. I need to find something that gives some sort of social proof that I can trust them with my personal information. My friends do this too. Now if I could use a new app without filling in any personal info, and that app would do something useful for me without needing something in return. Or even if it would only ask for the information it needs for fulfilling that task. And the outcome is useful to me. That would definitely build trust in that very instance.

So the part we need to focus on more is the part where people are enabled to become users without friction. So they can experience the benefits of our app before they need to sign up. So when your visitors drop by to try out your new app, they do not even need to think about what you will be doing with their personal info. That will definitely increase their love of trying out new things.

And I promise you, you’ll get more sign ups!


photo credit: 9gag.com/gag/5452288