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Try These 13 New Member Onboarding Hacks This Week!

Providing your members with an exciting and educational on boarding process will improve community engagement.

By Mighty Team

December 30, 2023

11 min read



    New member onboarding is one of the most important aspects of any business building an online community.

    Whether you’re just starting your online community from scratch or going into your next year, solidifying a clear new member onboarding process will create a sustainable, engaging community experience.

    In this article, we'll talk about:

    • What new member onboarding is

    • Why new member onboarding is vital

    • 13 ways to improve new member onboarding

    If you want more support in building your online community, come join OUR Mighty Community for free and meet other new and established community owners! We’d love to meet you. Join for free!


    What is new member onboarding?

    New member onboarding is the process of designing a new member experience so that newcomers are quickly introduced and integrated into a community. When properly designed, new member onboarding can help those entering any community or association quickly move from adherence to belonging.

    Magical new member experience

    Why new member onboarding is so important

    Ideal Member - Ideal Journey

    You get one month at the most. That's it. For some new members, you have ten minutes. Ten minutes to make a great impression on someone. Ten minutes to help them see that your community is where they belong and where they want to be.

    If you can create a great experience and help them feel a sense of belonging, you're increasing the odds they'll stay. Doing this makes good business sense for a paid membership site.

    But it's more than this. If you want a thriving community where members show up, make friends, and engage with the content, the new member onboarding has to be part of your planning.

    Here are some of the other benefits of new member onboarding:

    • Cut down on the fear and insecurities most new members have.

    • Shorten the time it takes to integrate into and build new social networks.

    • Decrease churn

    • Helps members know where to find things and learn your community structure

    • Integrates members into community norms like rules and guidelines

    • Increases community engagement, which benefits every member!

    • Makes it more likely they'll achieve what they showed up to do

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    Mighty Networks - Challenge Fam - Feed Paired Dark

    5 Principles of great new member onboarding

    What makes new member onboarding work? Here are some of the principles to make it great.

    While there isn’t one answer that will work for every community, these principles of new member onboarding are a great approach to developing your own.

    Build platform competence

    Hopefully your community platform is easy to use and intuitive. But a new member onboarding process still needs to show people around.

    One of the most common reasons for member inactivity in an online
    community is technical issues.

    As your community grows, you’ll attract a wide swath of people who all have varying levels of familiarity with the software and technology needed to interact in your online community.

    A key way to combat this confusion is factoring in these technical questions into your new member onboarding process.

    Consider creating a short video guide, article, or email that gives people a walkthrough of the most important features and how to use them.

    Here's an example of how we use video to get people familiar with platform features!


    We believe that new member onboarding should be automated as much as possible. When you can automate the boring or intimidating stuff, you make it RADICALLY EASIER for people to start engaging.

    For example, one of the things we do with our community AI Mighty Co-Host™ is to automate profile writing: like this.

    profile assist

    This takes an intimidating process, writing a profile, and makes it really easy.

    But by using these kinds of automation, you can reduce friction for new members and create what we call people magic!

    Provide value fast

    Each new member who enters your community is asking themselves one question.

    Is this what I've been searching for?

    They've often been disappointed. They've probably tried other communities, reeled in by big promises that never materialized.

    They're right to be skeptical.

    So the job of your new member onboarding is to answer the question FAST. To show them that they are in exactly the right place.

    Provide value fast. A specific guide. A course. An event or recording of one.

    If you know who your Ideal Member is and what they struggle with, you'll have a sixth sense about what they need.

    Give them value fast.

    Mighty Networks - Graphics - Achievement Academy - Events

    Prompt engagement

    Studies show the value of early engagement for online communities. And that same study showed that community engagement and satisfaction go hand in hand.

    You need them to dive in. And that means consuming and engaging with community content.

    Mighty Networks - Graphics _ Members Paired Light Achievement Academy

    Giving them content to consume is one-directional.

    Engagement means they need to do something.

    We've learned that the single best way to build engagement fast is with a question.

    Ask them questions.

    Here's a visual for how to construct awesome questions:

    community engagement- unlocking questions

    (If you need community engagement ideas, there are some here)

    Reward their achievements

    Finally, your onboarding process should reward new members for their efforts in interacting in your community.

    People love games, and they love to be celebrated.

    Within your member onboarding process, consider creating milestones for new members to reach for and help propel them to continue engaging in your community.

    Consider making badges members can earn, a weekly celebration post where you acknowledge individual members' achievements, or something else!

    Mighty Networks - Graphics - Discovery Course

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    Secrets of great new member onboarding

    1. Welcome email drip for new members

    When a new person joins your community, welcoming them with an email drip campaign is a great way to start their journey.

    A welcome email drip can function in a number of ways.

    • It should make the member feel excited about the decision that they just made to join your community.

    • It should provide them with the most essential introductory information they need to get started in your community.

    The most important thing to remember about email drips though is that you need to keep them up to date. It’s easy to create your new member email drip and then continue using them forever, but that’s not a very effective tactic.

    Consider updating it from time to time as new and exciting content and experiences become available in your community.

    If you use an email software like ConvertKit, it's easy to set this up and put it on autopilot for all new members:

    ConvertKit Onboarding

    This is an automation sequence for a newsletter, but you can build something like this for a community welcome too!

    2. Introduce new members

    Have you ever been to a party where you don't know anyone? You stand in the corner, acting way too interested in the snacks on your plate.

    Then the host introduces you: "The two of you have a lot in common!"

    It's magic. It changes the night.

    Never underestimate the power of introductions from a host.

    You can introduce members by:

    • Posting a regular "welcome to our new members" feature

    • Doing a more fulsome intro to new members (e.g. an interview)

    • Sending a DM to a new member welcoming them and asking them a question

    3. Having evergreen welcome content

    Mighty Networks - Graphics - Content Page Paired Light

    A lot of communities have an evergreen "start here" content, either a video or post, that introduces new members.

    If you go this route, think about more than nuts and bolts.

    It's a great time to share your Big Purpose for your community--helping people catch the "why" behind what you do.

    Big Purpose- New Image

    4. Automated new member checklist

    With a modern community platform, it's really easy to create an automated checklist for members to walk through.

    It doesn't need to be complicated. In fact, it's probably better if it's not. (What new member wants 15 homework items to do when they join?)

    But gamifying the process like this is a good way to formalize intros.

    The other bonus is that a welcome checklist creates expectations. It says, "Do these steps to get the most out of your time here."

    It teaches members that a thriving community experience requires something from them too, and that's powerful.


    5. Live new member orientation

    If you have the capacity for it, holding a monthly or quarterly new member orientation is a great way to quickly connect new members with each other and you.

    As your community grows, there will be fewer opportunities for you to make one-on-one connections with your members.

    However, an orientation not only remedies it, but is a great way for you to drum up excitement in your community and allow members a more personal connection to the awesome things you’re building together.

    Student Engagemnet

    6. New member resource packet

    Creating a resource packet is a great way to get your best content in front of your new members’ eyes as quickly as possible.

    We talked about the "start here" section above... But there are different ways to give members content bundles that can boost their transformation.

    This packet could be coupled with your orientation, your email drip campaign, or even your monthly newsletter and updated as new content is released.

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    7. Lead from your story

    New member onboarding shouldn't just be a to-do checklist. New members need to get connected to the heart of the community.

    That's why sharing your story with new members can be really valuable to help them connect.

    It might be your personal story as a host. It might be a brand story or organization story.

    But be real about what brought you to do the work you do and why you care so much. It works wonders to help members know it's a community they want to belong to.

    Mighty Networks - Graphics - Body Soul - Page Paired Dark

    8. Custom video tutorials

    We've covered a bit of this above, but having a custom video to do a community walkthrough and explain what different sections are for can be really cool.

    Creating video tutorials that go over how to navigate your community website, as well as utilize the various features is a dynamic resource you can use on a variety of marketing campaigns.

    Additionally, video tutorials are a great way for you or your community manager to get in front of the camera and connect with your members.

    It doesn't have to be complicated. You could even just share your screen and talk--then post the recording to your new member welcome process.

    Mighty Networks - Graphics - Livestream Paired Light

    9. Ask for feedback

    Another great way to use member onboarding to create a thriving community is to ask your current members what helped them to connect.

    Members who have made it past their first month and become thriving community members are perfect case studies for engagement.

    • What worked for them?

    • What would they do differently?

    • What was the thing that almost made them turn around and leave?

    You can ask these questions, or create a poll or questionnaire to create some anonymity.

    10. Form a welcoming committee

    Speaking of existing happy members, why not ask them to help you welcome new members?

    Members who love your community are in the perfect place to welcome and advocate for new members.

    And often they love to be recruited. Why not ask them?

    It could look like this:

    Hey Tonya, We have a new member named Jane. Looks like you're both in Chicago and both into interior design. Would you mind dropping a note to welcome her? Thanks so much!

    11. New member mixer

    A fun addition to any new member onboarding process is to host a virtual mixer over Zoom for newcomers to meet each other. This is a great opportunity to forge some concrete bonds between members that will help sustain member engagement after the event.

    Unlike an orientation event (above), this should be less nuts and bolts and more fun!

    Again, don't forget to loop in some of your most engaged members to come and be ambassadors for the community. They can help lead small groups in the mixer and help members ease into the flow of your community so you’re not doing all the work.

    12. Make sure they know who to ask for help

    When you jump into a new community, it's important to know where to turn to is you have any challenges. This is where you can make sure your members know who to contact, especially if you have multiple Hosts or mods.

    And let them know you're always happy to hear from them!

    13. Sneak peeks of future content

    One of the best ways to reinvigorate old members and excite your most recent members is to provide them with a glimpse of the future.

    Whether it’s monthly, quarterly, or annually, giving a sneak peek of future content you’re working on is a great member onboarding practice.

    In practice, this could be:

    • teasing upcoming courses or live sessions

    • announcing guest speakers or cool contributors to the community

    • share your upcoming themes

    Ready to launch?

    Mighty Networks is the best place to grow your online community

    Mighty Networks - Graphics - Incubator

    Your new member onboarding process is a vital step in creating a lively online community for your brand. When your new members feel welcome and informed they’ll be more likely to interact with others and engage with the variety of content you post.

    If you build a community on Mighty, you get a powerful cultural software platform that gives you the tools your members will love, letting you mix content, courses, community, and commerce.

    And our flexible Spaces let you add live events, live streaming, online courses, forums, video and written content, and more!

    On top of that, with a Mighty Network, you’ll be able to offer all of these pieces together under your own brand, instantly available on web, iOS, and Android.

    Don’t underestimate the power of your members being able to access your brand wherever they are.

    Ready to start growing your membership?

    Start Your Own Mighty Network Today!No credit card required.


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