Haven't update for some time because I was working on a new version of OnVoard. So why the need for change?

Why Pivot?

Previously OnVoard is positioned as an online presence management. Initially, I took the obvious path of trying to add as many features as I could to make OnVoard a preferred option over my competitors. The problem with this approach is that it would be an uphill battle when you are up against companies that have raised millions. Companies that have 10X, 100X more employees competing against you in this tug of war.

Back to drawing board

I knew that despite spending the majority of my time working on product development, OnVoard doesn't have a strong sense of identity. So I took a step back, brainstormed over a few days on what OnVoard's vision and identity would be. If you aren't convinced of how important a startup's vision is when it comes to building products, read this article by Des Traynor from Intercom.

A strong vision allows your startup to move in a single direction. Each feature you add will serve to make your identity even stronger. This way, a startup can win against large companies by being focused and better at solving one specific problem that your target market cares about.

Relaunching as "Persuasion Marketing Platform"

After burying myself with deep thoughts and innovating for a few days, I came up with the vision of positioning OnVoard as a persuasion marketing platform. Instead of being a platform that tries to do-it-all, OnVoard will now be focused on helping businesses to persuade users to choose their brand by getting others to say good things about it. After-all, what others say about your product holds much more weight than how you express it yourself.

What are the removed features?

  • Knowledge Management for Locations
  • Aggregated Analytics from Facebook and Google My Business
  • Social Post
  • Mentions

What's New?

Almost everything has been rebuilt from scratch - this includes our home page and blog design. I will briefly describe the new additions and give an in-depth walk through for each of these new additions over the next few posts.

Surveys

Surveys have been added so that businesses can collect feedback from their customers at various touchpoints. We support 4 distribution methods for surveys:

  • Web Survey
  • One-Click Email Survey
  • Email Survey
  • Link Survey
How a web survey widget looks like.

One thing we did differently for web survey widget was to support the addition of agent. This adds a "human touch" to your survey.

How one-click email survey looks like

Most people skip email surveys because it's such a hassle. The average person's attention span has fallen from 12 seconds in 2000 to 8 seconds today.  Shouldn't we make it easier for users to complete their survey with a single click?

Custom rules and logic can be used for surveys to trigger automated actions like review request. This will be further elaborate over the next few posts.

Custom Email Domains

OnVoard now supports custom email domains. Businesses now can have better control over their email deliverability by using their own domains to send emails. Another advantage is that emails sent from your own domain will not have "via onvoard-mail.com" message.

Sending from OnVoard's Domain (default)
Sending from your own verified domain

Setting up is straightforward - just add 3 CNAME records to your DNS config.

Review Request

Preview of review request attached with incentives

Rewards can now be attached to review request to incentive users for leaving reviews. For example, giving out $10 Amazon gift cards to users for leaving reviews on Capterra or G2. Rewards can be tracked and managed within OnVoard's platform.

Preview for review requester and reminder emails

Requester and reminder emails can also be themed according to your brand colors.

Interview Request

There's no lack of software vendors that supports sending of review requests to users. To differentiate, OnVoard has to innovate and bring the game to the next level.

I figured why not take the next step and help businesses to automate the process of conducting customer interviews. Currently, customer interviews are conducted manually either via back-and-forth emails or field trips down customers office. A programmatic approach to help businesses conduct and manage customer interviews in a more efficient manner would be an interesting moat for OnVoard.

In general, the setup for interview request is similar review request. The key difference is that businesses would need to include a list of pre-specified questions that will be used for customer interview.

User can answer to interview questions via a rich-text editor. Interview rewards are also managed within the same page

Instead of relying on back-and-forth emails, customer interviews can be conducted programmatically with pre-specified questions. Users can answer to interview questions within the same rich-text editor in a collaborative fashion. On top of that, rewards can be attached to interviews to incentivize users for their participation.

Hosted Customer and Employee Stories

After scouring through the web and looking through hundreds of customer stories page, I am convinced that most customer stories page isn't optimal.

What's missing from most customer stories page is that they aren't exactly searchable. One advantage of customer stories is that it allows your prospects to relate to your products based on companies that share similar traits.

Let's assume I'm a startup that wants to look for email marketing solution. The first thing I would do when I'm on Mailchimp's customer stories page would be to filter by "SaaS" and "Startups" customers so that I can understand how similar companies are using Mailchimp.

Preview of customer stories page. View live demo

We're introducing hosted stories page to make it easy for you to create gorgeous looking customer stories page that are explorable via keywords and category filters. Adding a new story is as simple as adding a new blog post.

There are a few ways to serve customer stories page:

  • Use custom domain to serve via branded url like customers.yourdomain.com
  • Embed customer stories to your existing page
  • Use API to fetch stories data and fully customize how stories will be shown on your site.
Even though I mainly use customer stories as an example, you can also use stories to create your very own employee stories page! What an employee says about his or her workplace matters just as much.

What's Next

As you can see, each newly added feature is geared towards our goal of helping businesses to persuade others to choose their brand. If you're convinced by our goal, then give OnVoard a try with free 14-day trial. Our paid plan starts from $29/mo, which is by far the most value-for-money product you can find in the market.

Over the next few posts, I will give an in-depth walkthrough for each of OnVoard's products.