Square-ish building in a round hole. There’s no single way to get your message across to all your users. Text, images, video, sound are all tools you can use to help people know the next step in any online process.

Yesterday morning I read a post from the Ghost team where they talked about increasing the number of people who sign-up and log-in to their blog on Ghost.org.

Right now their conversion path is someone visits ghost.org > Sign up for a new account > Create a blog > start writing. Here's a pic of the process, followed by the Ghost team talking about the performance of this funnel.

Ghost onboarding process
Down to the 3rd screen, the conversion rate is 97%. Pretty good. However, only 60% of people ever made it to the 4th screen. A clear indication of a problem, and one which had been bothering Hannah for a long while. The recognize the best technical solution, having a single sign-on for your ghost.org account and all of your ghost.org blogs. However, this means a ton of work on three separate parts of their ecosystem.

They recognize the best technical solution, having a single sign-on for your ghost.org account and all of your ghost.org blogs. However, this means a ton of work on three separate parts of their ecosystem.

Instead, they tweaked their blog management screen a bit for first time visitors. They added an emphasized text welcome with a link to a more in-depth tutorial, changed the background color of the blog section, and added a visual callout to their “Write a post” button.

The result? A big improvement in the performance of their final conversion step. Day-over-day comparisons showed improvements of 10%–25% the first week, and have shown the same level of improvement consistently over the last few weeks.

This 30 minute change added $61,000 in yearly revenue.

Maybe you can’t find a way to increase your revenue $61,000 in 30 minutes, but the key lesson here is people need you to explicitly guide them through your message.

I’m reminded of this all the time when someone sends my wife a video. She hates watching instructional videos on YouTube. Everytime she asks me why they couldn’t just write a blog post, instead of making her sit for five minutes and watch a stupid video. I tell her I really like how-to videos and we playfully tease each other for a few minutes while she gets the info she needs from the video.

I know from experience over the last 6 years of working on conversion funnels, it’s really easy to get caught in the trap of familiarity and assume everyone will understand the design and copy decisions my team has made.

The danger for all of us is to assume our “show don’t tell” is flawless, and we end of leaving piles of revenue on the table.

Every user won’t be excited by your message told in the way that makes sense to you, or makes you most excited.

Some users will get it if we just show them a great design, but we still need to explicitly tell people how to get the most from what we’re selling.