How Lumen5's onboarding helps first-time users make content quickly

lumen5

We are huge fans of products that set up their customers for success. Lumen5 is an excellent example of a user onboarding experience that does just that.

Lumen5 is a SaaS product that helps businesses produce video content. Their AI-guided software distills any written piece of content into a video format.

Lumen5 identified a niche in the content market: the need to present written content in a more digestible way for internal communications and marketing materials.  

I was fortunate to sit down with members of the Lumen5 team, Brittany and Pius, to learn more about the company’s user onboarding process. Brittany is Lumen 5’s onboarding and adoption specialist, and Pius is the head of growth. It was a pleasure to talk to these two and learn more about Lumen5’s product evolution, their users, how their content supports first-time users, and the company’s plans.

1. The Onboarding process

Lumen5’s onboarding caught my attention for two reasons. 

  1. The overall experience was supportive and concise. 
  2. I fit the profile of their ideal user, someone who’s better with words than video creation. 

I would just say that we want to equip somebody who’s not so experienced with, [or] maybe doesn't have any video creation experience.  

- Pius

It was a pleasure not to be slowed down by the verification email so early in the onboarding process.

I had my content creation goals clarified with this personalized screen. This little bit of friction in the onboarding process helps funnel users towards a slightly more customized user experience. 

Before getting to the video-making process, I was given a template selection. While I had the freedom to skip out of this step at any point, I have the sneaking suspicion I would have a very bland template option if I didn’t stick with their selection process.

Interestingly, this part of the user onboarding sometimes causes action paralysis in the user onboarding process.

We’d heard that customers had difficulty choosing between the different templates, for example, so we made that process a lot simpler in the product. And if we're not able to, then we'll support with content that teaches you how to do it so you don’t get stuck. Brittany created a bunch of courses, with all different content, addressing things that might be a blocker when you're first using the tool…  

- Pius

Getting to the actual video making experience was interesting. This was the only moment where I had uncertainty, but only for a few seconds.

I think that's been a focus to make the product as easy to use as possible. For example, the layout is sort of like a PowerPoint format. So for somebody who's never been in a video production type tool, it's more familiar and it's less, I guess, intimidating. 

- Pius

Seeing my words being transformed into a video format was my personal AHA moment. This is where I actually experience value first hand and engage with the product.

Because as soon as you're thrown into the video creator, you can kind of just get out of there or you can play around a little bit.  

- Brittany

For me, the onboarding experience ended at creating video content, but Lumen5 had more ways to encourage product adoption. Sharing is a big tipping point for their users. 

They [the user] put some thought into it perhaps, and the intent is to hopefully share that with their audience.  

- Brittany

I wanted to learn more about Lumen5 onboarding past and future.

2. Lumen5's Past

Nathan

Have there been previous iterations of the user onboarding experience, or has it relatively remained the same?

Pius

Oh, it’s completely been overhauled. Largely due to Brittany and her experiences and asking questions like “how do you guide the user through that so they can make a video that they’re proud enough to share”, right? Like, hopping into the platform is one thing, playing around with the designs, creating a draft but then leaving it unfinished –  that’s not of value to the customer at all. It’s like, what’s the value to the customer? that they can create something that they’re proud enough to share, … our whole goal is to drive the creation process to that point where they create something that’s an end product that [they are] proud enough to share.

3. Lumen5's Future

Nathan

What do you see as the next step for the company?

Pius

We’ve made a massive shift this year… The product, the website, and the marketing was very driven towards attracting as many people as possible to the landing page to find a tool to try. But that market has been very saturated by competitors who focus on the short video. So what we’ve noticed are that the folks using Lumen5 find the most success in creating longer-form videos, trying to ideate non-tangible things like non-product [ideas] into videos format. So, thought leadership, different ideals, and ideations. So the companies in fields like legal, or pharmaceutical who don’t really have a product to sell, but they sell an idea. They find the most success within Lumen5 because we’re able to capture an audience’s attention, but using the text. A lot of these companies have amazing white papers and blog articles already that can be repurposed into videos because that’s where the audience is consuming communication …So moving forward from this year, we’ve shifted our focus to serving enterprises and it’s been a really good journey so far. 

4. Conclusion

It was great to talk with Brittany and Pius. They were very insightful and thoughtful. It’s such a rare opportunity to look behind the curtain and see the inner workings of an organization’s customer and user experience. Lumen5 teaches us a few key lessons about a fundamentally good user onboarding experience. 

  • They completely understand the utility of their product, both from a market and user perspective
  • They learned from their past and adapted. They divided and conquered by streamlining the self-serve side and having a “white glove service” for enterprise-level clients
  • They built a team that would adapt and improve this new approach

The word I want to emphasize here is “adapt.” Lumen5 took the time to recognize their weakness and build new strengths.

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