Why Marketers Need to Pay Attention to Registration March 5, 2013 by Cory Huff registration Image by @Rantz My apartment building has several important doors. The front and back doors to the building, the door to my laundry room and the storage room. Fortunately, I have a single key that opens all of these doors in the same way. Can you imagine how frustrating it would be if I had to use a different key for each entrance? In my previous blog post Five Most Common Mistakes in Social Login, number two was inconsistent registration flows. After reviewing hundreds of implementations of social login, I’ve identified this problem as far and away the most common, and needing of attention. Inconsistent registration flows are a problem because they lead to confusion for your site visitors, which could cause them to leave your site. If your registration process looks and behaves differently across different points in your website, you can lose as many as 50% of your new registered users. Many marketers have a habit of thinking about registration as a check-box on the website feature list. Registration is actually really difficult to do well, and when it’s done poorly it can: kill an otherwise effective marketing campaign by discouraging people from completing a download or registration call to action on your website cause shopping cart abandonment because your checkout process is too hard, long or confusing cause a customer to decide not to return to your website because they couldn’t get what they want in the first place Marketers need to partner with their UX and technology teams to ensure that the registration, sign in and checkout processes on your website are easily understood, easy to use, and operate quickly and efficiently. The image below illustrates what happens when registration flows aren’t thought through. These are all from a single website. If the user is logged in, they don’t stay logged in from page to page. The site’s commenting login is completely different from the main site login, and the checkout process has two different buttons that lead to the same place. Here is the definitive list of all of the places that marketers should pay attention to ensure registration serves the purpose of acquiring more users, gathering the right data, and engaging users in interesting ways. Site-wide registration and sign in On entertainment, media, and news sites, site-wide registration usually sits at the top of the page. Quite frequently there is no call to action inviting people to register there, but web designers and marketers feel a need to put the registration link because of “best practices.” The first thing that is needed in site-wide registration is a clear call to action that explains two to three benefits for registration. Yamaha does a great job of this with the modal overlay when their page loads. Ideally, registration and sign in should look nearly identical, with the exception of the registration process possibly asking for a password. With social login, you can even use conditional logic to indicate the remaining fields that they need to complete after you pre-fill data from their selected identity provider. Commenting, forums, and chat sign in It is very common to use third-party tools for interactive website elements. Many people fail to realize that these can be registration points that are the first step in getting a site visitor on your mailing list or into your marketing automation flow. Third-parties build registration functionality into their interactive tools to make using them easy. When someone clicks Log In within your commenting section, they should be routed through your main website registration flow so the data goes into your database instead of or in addition to the commenting vendor’s database. Backplane is an open-source technology that enables interactive elements to easily interact with each other and your primary site registration process. The resulting user experience is one point of registration for all technologies on your site, along with one user profile in your database. You can see a list of Janrain partners who use Backplane here. eCommerce checkout It is very common for ecommerce websites to think of their site registration and checkout flows as two distinct entities. In some ways this makes sense. Checkout is where all of the attention goes, and any disruption can potentially cost millions of dollars. Even as they are increasingly using social login for engagement experiences, online retailers have been somewhat slow to implement social in their checkout flows because of this sense of caution. In order to unify registration flows, it makes sense to implement the same login or registration options as the rest of the site. As a bonus, social login is proving to be very valuable for commerce marketers. L’Occitane recently showed that social login users have nearly 11% higher average order value (AOV). Contests and sweepstakes Contests and sweepstakes can drive a lot of traffic. Giving away the right product can get people excited and willing to give you their contact information. Take it one step further and put contest entrants into your registration database and opt them into your mailing list. By creating an account for contest entrants you make brand, content and experience engagement seamless. There is often a post-contest glow for new entrants where they view a brand favorably. Encouraging them to comment, share, and otherwise participate deepens engagement with your brand, encouraging long term loyalty. 7 UP’s Every Bottle Wins campaign is a great example of how to use social login in a contest, and it has the added benefit of appearing inside a Facebook campaign page. Lead generation forms We are seeing Janrain clients roll their lead-gen pages into their registration flow as well. This is commonly accomplished by putting user data into the user database after the lead gen form is filled out. Janrain actually published a guide on how to integrate social login with Salesforce landing pages. Once someone has given you their information in return for a download or registration, there is no reason to gate additional engagement points, and many benefits for you both to make it easier for them. Just like having a single key for all of the doors in my building, working to integrate all of your registration points into a single cohesive flow makes things much easier for your customers. Doing these sorts of integrations is certainly becoming more complex as websites are being developed with many moving parts, with more technology from a variety of vendors. Pay attention to keeping your user experience easy and quick, and consistent if you want to keep your campaigns effective, improve conversion rates, and keep customer loyalty. Where have you seen a registration experience done well?