Inline Manual Blog

"Lets sort out the murky world of documentation!"

Continuous user onboarding - Part 1

5 months ago

Use the tools in Inline Manual to keep your users informed and engaged as your application evolves with new features and opportunities, because user onboarding never ends. Here’s some ways you can approach continuous user onboarding.

Your application is always evolving and changing.

Many of our customers start using Inline Manual to launch tutorials for new users, specifically for onboarding to ensure conversion and adoption.

Why put all that effort into attracting new customers, and not so much on keeping existing users engaged as your product evolves? Customer retention is crucial to the success of your application. 70% of companies find it’s cheaper to retain a customer than to gain a new one. Repeat the success you find in onboarding for your entire user base.

As Marc Saunders of Coniq explains, “We have a 3 week release cycle which often comes with new or updated UI features. Inline Manual helps us promote these features and gives us a interactive way of showcasing these to our customers.” Coniq’s users love to see a vibrant application and active development.

When you add new features, it’s another chance to communicate that you listen, and a product tour is another chance to demonstrate how you’re making the user experience better.

Add Inline Manual to your multi channel approach

In terms of customer retention, it’s likely you’re investing in getting support to existing users as fast as possible, and perhaps you’re maintaining a relationship marketing program to keep two-way communication flowing. You’re probably using multiple channels to communicate with your users, and specifically to tell them about your new features.

However, the engagement levels for getting users to engage with announcements is a dodgy bet at the best of times. Typical email open rates hover around 20% and click-through rates are awesome at 5%. Typical click-through rates on social media such as Twitter are at 1.64%.

The most natural place to show existing users your new features is right within your application. Inline Manual can help you do this.

Spark curiosity with prompts

You can use Inline Manual to create announcements for new users, which they can quickly dismiss or engage with depending on their needs.

Pique your users curiosity with prompts such as

  • “Want to know how to X?”
  • “Wondering if you can X?”
  • “Did you know you can X this now?”

Using prompts like this gives all users a hint of what they can expect from your new feature, while sparking the curiosity of those who will want to see more of what you have to offer. Next your users can opt for a tour with quick steps, 1-2-3, to show them how to make the most of your new feature.

Don’t let users miss new opportunities

With your new feature tutorials in place, you will be able to see which users are missing out through our Analytics tool.

You will see those who didn’t click through your prompts, and you can later re-target them with different in-app messages. This could be particularly helpful if your application’s new feature is only available through an upgrade.

Your tutorial could be the key message that helps them discover the benefits of your new feature, and the convincing nudge to get them started.

In our follow up post, we’ll look at how you can implement a feature announcement like this in Inline Manual.

How are you communicating new features to your users?

Sign up for our newsletter to get the next tutorial in your inbox.

Read the other posts in this series on customer retention.

How we increased tutorial launch rates by 25% - just by adding 2 words

6 months ago

This is a guest post by Dimitris Athanasiadis, Business Development & Marketing Manager at Megaventory.

In Megaventory we provide online inventory management and order tracking software to small and medium businesses which handle physical goods – whether it’s an eshop or a wholesale distributor. If this doesn’t strike you as a very sexy or simple product, you’re probably right.

As the business cases we’re addressing are complex, our software is also multi-layered and must meet very varied needs. This led us to include many help systems in our application and consequently we needed to find a way to encourage users to take advantage of all these help methods. That would allow users to grasp how Megaventory works faster and ultimately allow them to actually make the best of our software. We have indeed found a simple way to do that that increased our tutorial launch rates by 25% and it only took us a few minutes.

The problem

In the world of business software things need to start making sense within seconds, particularly during trial periods. Your software will affect how users run their businesses so there’s an important decision at stake. And of course, you also need convince them your product stands out from the competition and is the best fit for their needs. So, no pressure…

Typically our users are very busy entrepreneurs who need to understand complex processes and workflows. Megaventory has a unique flexibility to fit different types of businesses, which means many potential customizations for users. Understandably, learning the software and how it can be adapted can be particularly challenging if users are new to these processes of inventory management, as many entrepreneurs are.

Sometimes users are experienced and pick up things effortlessly but most of the time we’re actually dealing with users who are coming in contact with these concepts for the first time.

The solution

What we do is try to help our customers have the smoothest introduction to our product and its details. Having a well-thought out design is rarely enough. We also need to provide helpful elements such as hover tips, a knowledge base, and live chat - yet some of our users will still not be covered.

Enter the Inline Manual tutorials and step by step guides which help show people what a multi-layered application like Megaventory does. With Inline Manual we can easily take the visitor by hand and explain how each process works and what they need to know to run it.

An even better approach

Despite all these measures we have found that many customers seemed unwilling to launch the tutorials, thinking it would be too much of a hassle and it would side-track them – remember their time is very limited. And it’s true to an extent: if you’re focusing on understanding something you don’t want to freeze that mental process just to start something else.

So we thought of a simple solution to show them that it only takes a few minutes to complete a tutorial. And that’s just what we did – and it only took us just a few minutes to add times to the titles:

Moreover since we always try to make data driven decisions, we ran a little experiment. Inline Manual tracks how many users have started the tutorial over a period of time (play rates). So, we tracked play rates across our main tutorials over two weeks. We then included our estimated completion time in the title of every tutorial and let another two weeks pass before measuring the play rates again.

The results were impressive. Comparing play rates before and after adding the time estimate of the duration of each guide meant a 25% increase in total play rates! This translated to a significant improvement to engagement and understanding of the Megaventory functionality – and ultimately better conversion rates from trial to paid accounts.

Sometimes, very little work can bring awesome results.

Easy and improved translations management & Labs launch

7 months ago

Easily manage multiple languages and translate each step within a walkthrough. No need to create clones anymore. Seamlessly integrates  with our Automation, Release management and Revisions.

Language management for each step

The topics can be translated to multiple languages. Each Topic has its own set of languages, which allows you to translate just the content of the step (title and content). The step translation use the same settings for the step - e.g. backdrop, element assignment, etc...

This makes it significantly easier to manage for Authors, but also if you are using our API for automated translations.


Introducing Labs

The underlying changes to our infrastructure and API allows us to push forward integrations that we have started working on. The Labs portal will introduce features that we are experimenting with before they will make it into production. It currently allows you to export the content into HTML > PDF, import knowledge base from services like Freshdesk, Zendesk,... and automatically translate the content via 3rd party services. The labs are available on request to our Standard and Enterprise customers. Request an accesshere.

As always, get in touch if you will need any help.

Marek - Founder
Inline Manual Team

Get closer to your customers, increase retention with being personal

8 months ago

It feels better to talk to a human than a computer. It feels better to know that your service provider cares about you. With Tokens you can add personal touch to your walkthroughs and content created within Inline Manual.

Tokens - be personal

When customers feel like they’re getting personal service, they become better and happier customers. And by becoming happier they buy more, they buy more often, and they tell their friends to buy, too. Make a stunning impression!

Get personal, show within the content:

  • names - yours, your customer's, account manager's,...
  • personal pictures, e.g. customer's avatar
  • specific IDs of a customer to create personal links, e.g. link to project ID
  • pass on any variables and use them within the content

Once variables are exposed, adding it to the content is easy through the editor

How to set it up

You can already pass metadata through people tracking, when enabled all of these metadata will be available within the Token editor. However you can also use variables, that you can expose to the player, just like when you are using them for the context paths.

window.inlineManualOptions = { variables: {'project': '12345', 'first_name': 'Peter'}};

Through the code above, you can expose anything from your application that the authors/creators of the Inline Manual content can work with in the content. You can also expose other variables fetched from 3rd party applications, etc...

The default value will be displayed if the variable is empty. For example: if the token is {{username|there}}, if the username is empty, it will display "there".

You can imagine the variety of options here, where you can expose the account manager that has been assigned to specific user, with their specific image, you can pass that token into the image tag and make it automatically replace, you can pass colours, greetings, anything that might be relevant to your walkthroughs. The options here are really endless.

Custom buttons

We are aiming to allow you to do as many things as possible without coding, but still keep Inline Manual to be most flexible user onboarding application out there. We have enhanced the editor so you can easily add buttons to:

  • Launch a Topic
  • Jump to a Step
  • Deactivate Topic

WYSIWYG editor

We have switched to a brand new editor, we will continue enhancing its features, allowing you to do more and more things that you were not able to do now. More templates are coming too.

URL matching exact parameters - strict mode

You can activate strict mode for checking params by prepending exclamation mark (!) in front of params pattern to exactly match path with parameters:!aaa=*

In strict mode, all param patterns must be matched and there can be no unmatched params: > matching > not matching (param missing) > not matching (too many params)

Other notable features

  • Step launchers and Topic launchers have the ability to have custom z-index value
  • Improved diagnostics tool (Check) within the Authoring tool
  • Introduced new callback "onTopicDone"
  • Introduced new callback "onProfileLoad"
  • Introduced new method "getProfile" to load the profile from IM servers
  • Further performance improvements on our infrastructure

As always, get in touch if you will need any help.

Marek - Founder
Inline Manual Team

Bring your knowledge base articles inline

10 months ago

Inline help is proving to be more and more useful to the users of any application. They don't need to navigate away to get help, but they can follow it whilst using the application. Add your knowledge base articles and its content into the Inline Manual widget with our new Article Topic type!

Article Topic type

Create a Topic type Article, which will look just like the other Topics in the widget. Except once the user clicks on it, it will show the content of the article. No need to click away from the page to visit separate knowledge base portal.

The Article Topic will display alongside the other Topics, so you can also use the Context matching feature which allows you to display specific Articles on specific pages, to make sure users get relevant help where needed.

This is just the beginning of how we want to make Inline Help really work for your users. You can already leverage the possibility of embedding iframes into the content to show external pages if needed. We gathered a lot of feedback from our first users of this feature and we will continue to add interactivity that Inline Manual walkthroughs have for example and even more, including various integrations. In the meanwhile, we are also migrating our own support into inline articles.

To create an Article Topic type, open up your Authoring tool and when creating a Topic select Article. You will be then able to add content to it. See article help page.

Let us know in the comments what would you like to embed into the widget or how are you using it already.

Launchers added to walkthrough steps

Similar to Tooltips, we have added the option to add Launchers to individual steps. When clicked it will start the walkthrough from a specific step that the launcher belongs to. Read about launchers

Support portal

We are in the last stage of content publishing on our new help portal that you can start using now, we will be adding receipts and more content

As always, get in touch if you will need any help.

Marek - Founder
Inline Manual Team

Upcoming free webinar

Turn your free trials to paying customers

Thursday, January 26, 2017
4:00 PM - 5:00 PM GMT (BST) - London
8:00 AM - 9:00 AM PST

Sign up for webinar
Notify me about tips and new features