How to Create an Effective Product Onboarding in 2024

Harry McKay
4
min read
December 27, 2023

If you are suddenly thrown into a new product without instructions, won't you feel clueless about using it?

You may feel lost and confused. Even if you can figure out what's going on—it could still be a frustrating experience. You will just exit the product and never think of using it again, no matter the quality of the product itself.

If your users are not provided with an informative and helpful onboarding experience, this is exactly what they will experience.

That’s why it's essential to create an effective onboarding experience for your users, especially if you want them to stay on and use your app regularly.

In this article, you will learn what an onboarding experience is, why it's essential to create one for your software, and how to do so.

Let's get started!

What is Product Onboarding?

Product Onboarding is the process of helping new customers understand how your product works and get value from it as quickly as possible. It provides a step-by-step process that helps users get started with your product immediately.

The Product Onboarding process is an integral part of a product-led growth strategy. It should be smooth and efficient, allowing new users to adopt your product quickly while training them on incorporating it into their regular routines.

Importance of Product Onboarding

Product Onboarding is essential because it helps you achieve your growth goals. It can convert new users into long-term customers while increasing customer retention rates.

Approximately 10% of SaaS businesses lose revenue due to churn every year—which amounts to roughly 0.83% each month. Product Onboarding helps you reduce churn by making users more productive with your product right away and, in turn, increasing their lifetime value (LTV).

Apart from these numbers, better product onboarding can also helps in,

1. Enhancing customer satisfaction and loyalty.

If customers find it difficult to set up or use your product, they will likely become frustrated. In fact, a whopping 55% of people say they've returned a product because they didn’t understand how to use it. It means your effort and money spent on these customers have gone down the drain.

The best way to avoid this is by creating a great product onboarding experience. This will help your customers understand how to use your product and provide them with the resources they need to get started immediately.

2. Increasing customer acquisition rates.

A strong product onboarding can help you get more people to use your product in the first place. It increases user engagement and satisfaction, which ultimately leads to more retention and conversions down the road.

Moreover, the cost of acquiring new customers is 5 to 25 times the amount it costs to retain existing ones. So creating a great user experience will help you acquire more users without spending too much on advertising.

3. It keeps your customers engaged.

It is important to remind your customers regularly of the value added to their lives by using your products. With an interactive onboarding process, you can give your users a few quick, fun interactions that help them immediately understand how they can benefit from using your product. This helps to keep them engaged in the long term.

4. It enhances trial conversion rates.

Most B2B buyers won't commit to a product until they've tried it out for themselves. If you are also offering a free trial service, it's essential to provide a user-friendly way for them to learn how to use your product.

The best way to do this is with an interactive onboarding process that allows users to experience the benefits of using your product first-hand. This helps them understand how they will benefit from using your product and makes it more likely that they will convert into paying customers.

5. It lowers customer queries.

When your customers can get a better understanding of how your product works, it's less likely that they will have questions about the functions. This is especially important for B2B products because there may be more complex processes involved in using them.

If users don't know what to expect or how to use your product effectively, they will likely send you support requests for help. By providing an onboarding process that gives users a chance to experience the benefits of using your product first-hand, you can lower the number of customer queries that come into your support team.

3 Stages of the Product Onboarding Process

Product people who are truly invested in driving growth metrics and key performance indicators know that new user onboarding is just one aspect of their products' overall health.

If you want to improve your activation, adoption, engagement & retention rates – think of onboarding as the first step in a ‘continuous user education loop.’

user journey userpilot

The most successful onboarding programs include multiple checklists, guides and flows before, during, and after a customer’s first experience with your product. Always keep users in mind and give them something of value, even after you’ve onboarded them.

Here are the three stages of a product onboarding process:

Stage 1: Primary onboarding.

This is the first touch point between your product and a user. It happens when someone signs up for your product. Your primary onboarding experience should be designed to get new users up and running as quickly as possible.

The goal of your primary ‘new user’ onboarding is not to push new users through every part of their journey on the first try; it's simply cultivating an ‘AHA Moment' and guiding them past the 2-3 most essential activation points.

The ‘AHA!’ moment occurs when your user first sees the value of what you are offering but has not yet experienced how it works.  

Stage 2: Secondary onboarding.

Unlike the primary onboarding experience, secondary ‘onboarding’ is not about getting users up and running. It's about making sure your new users understand how to use your product, and it's all about creating value for them from a user experience perspective.

Secondary onboarding is often referred to as “tour-based” user onboarding because it involves showing users around the product to help them familiarize themselves with its features.

You can incorporate secondary onboarding into the experience by adding checklists and flows to help your users become familiar with specific features or actions.

Stage 3: Tertiary onboarding

At this stage, your users get value from the app and become active. They may even be able to use most of its features without problems. Some of these customers will become power users or advocates, spreading the word about your product's greatness.

Is it time to stop your user onboarding?

Not yet!

You still need to ensure that your users continue getting value from your product and fully realize its potential.

When your product grows, you will be adding new valuable features. Sending them an updated mail isn't enough to get them to take advantage of the new features. You will also need to guide them on how to use those features.

You can do this by embedding an interactive product tour in your mail and getting the users to complete it. This will help them become more familiar with the new features and get them to take advantage of them.

Storylane helps you create and embed an interactive tour that allows your users to navigate the product and familiarize themselves with its new features. The best thing is that you can consistently deliver a personalized experience to all the users with the help of the auto personalization feature.

Here is an example of how you can embed your interactive demo into your emails, 

If a power user learns that upgrading will unlock even more value and be profitable, they will be more likely to upgrade their plans, and you can increase your revenue.

How to Create an Effective Product Onboarding?

There are multiple things that you need to consider and keep in mind while designing your way of introducing your customers to the new product.

Here are some tips that will help you create a successful onboarding experience for your users:

1. Determine the Goals of Your Product Onboarding

You need to know what you want your customers to achieve after they use your product. If it’s just basic information, it will be easy for you to design a simple onboarding experience that acquaints them with its features and functionality.

To begin, ask yourself these questions:

  • What do your customers want or need?
  • How can you use language to resonate with them?
  • Which features should be highlighted when a customer launches the app for the first time—and why?

Once you figure this out, you can start designing your user onboarding experience.

2. Start with a welcome popup.

This is the first thing your customers will see when they open your app for the first time.

It’s an excellent opportunity to introduce them to your brand and product by giving them a quick overview of what they can expect from you. Create a simple message explaining what your app is and its value, and then offer a call-to-action button that directs users to their first experience with your product.

Here is an example from Zenhub,

Source.

3. Showcase your product’s value and benefits.

Once you’ve created an onboarding experience, it’s time to get your customers excited about the benefits of using your app.

This is where you can introduce users to all the amazing things they can do with your product—and how it will help them achieve their goals. You can also use this opportunity to explain how difficult it would be for them to accomplish these tasks without your app.

4.  Keep the tour short while touching all the features

Not all users intend to take the product tour, as nearly 67% of customers prefer self-exploration instead of walking through a product tour. 

To make your product stand out from the competition, it's essential that you highlight its main features as well as explain how those features set it apart from similar products.

Often highlighting why certain features stand out from others can help users decide whether they're worth exploring further. 

5. End with a CTA.

Don't leave your users blindfolded about the next step; help them to get started and start using your product without any further delay. The best way to do this is by including a CTA that asks users to take the next step. This will help you get more users on your list and allow you to start building relationships with them as soon as possible.

Here is how Zenhub ends its tour with a CTA that pushes the user to use the product immediately,

Source

6. Ensure you have the right tools and resources ready.

To create a better product tour, you need suitable software that eases the process for you. There are much of software that you can choose from, but one of the most effective ones is Storylane.

Storylane is an all-in-one solution for creating and publishing product tours. It comes with everything you need to create simple yet effective product tours, including drag-and-drop functionality, auto personalization, and more.

It also has a built-in editor to create and edit your product tours. In addition, the software comes with an analytics dashboard that lets you know how many people view your tours and their interests.

Insert the analytics gif here

Even after creating a product tour, you need to ensure that your users always get enough support from you. To help them solve their queries, create a knowledge hub with explainer videos, written guides, FAQs, and more. You can also create a support center that offers 24/7 assistance to your customers.

7. Analyze and optimize.

Once you’ve created a product tour and made it available to your customers, it is essential to monitor its performance. You can do so by measuring statistics such as bounce rate, time spent on the page, and a number of clicks on each step in the tour. This will help you determine what works well for your users and what doesn’t.

You can do this by using demo software like Storylane. It gives you an overview of what your users are doing and how they interact with your product tour. Once you’ve identified areas that need improvement, you can optimize them by making changes to your content or design.

Best 3 Product Onboarding Examples

1. Zenhub.

Zenhub is a project management tool that allows you to create boards, organize tasks and collaborate with your team. The product tour on their website is simple but effective. It offers a quick overview of the application’s essential features, such as task management, collaboration, reporting, and analytics.

The end of the tour allows users to integrate their Github and start using the product immediately. This ensures the flow of the product tour is not broken and provides an opportunity to get users started quickly.

2. Grammarly. 

The name Grammarly itself speaks about its feature - Oline grammar Checking! Most writers know this tool very well, with 7 million active users per day.

You will get a video tour when you sign up with this tool. Animated GIFs help users better understand how the product operates while allowing them to browse at their own pace.

Source

When you upload some documents, you get a tour of how to do the corrections. First-time users get prompts in Chrome Extension to customize their settings.  

Source

It uses beacons and hotspots to make onboarding a more engaging experience so that users are more likely to retain what they learn and take action. There's a lot of activity going on at the same time. 

Grammarly presents itself as a helpful asset regardless of whether the user is new or old. This ensures that people from all walks of life and with varying levels of experience can enjoy Grammarly's benefits. 

3. Slack. 

Slack is a messaging platform that has grown in popularity over the last few years. Its features make it a great tool for businesses to communicate, collaborate, and accomplish tasks more efficiently. But Slack's onboarding process isn't just about showing users how to use Slack; it's also about helping them understand why they should use it. 

Source

Slack's onboarding is a great example of how to show users the value of your product without bombarding them with information. It's simple, fun and engaging. They focus on getting people started right away by showing them how to use their main features in plain language rather than technical jargon.

Getting started with your perfect onboarding process.

When designing your product onboarding process, remember that it should be simple and easy to follow. The goal of product onboarding is to show users what they can do with the application and how they can accomplish these tasks.

Though creating a product onboarding experience may seem daunting, it will be much easier with the aid of Storylane. This tool eases the process and reduces the time and effort required to create an effective product onboarding strategy. You just need a Chrome extension to get started.

Just take the product screenshot, edit it, and share. This also comes with a no-code builder and an auto-personalization feature that allows you to create a dynamic onboarding experience with just a few clicks.

Want to convert your free trial users to paid users with the help of an effective product onboarding experience? Then schedule a free demo, and we will show you how to build a high-converting product tour for your business.

"Previously, there was scope for error and we’ve gone from a process that could be time consuming and painful to a process that’s super quick."
—CHRIS LANCASTER, SUPPLY CHAIN PROJECT
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"Previously, there was scope for error and we’ve gone from a process that could be time consuming and painful to a process that’s super quick."
—CHRIS LANCASTER, SUPPLY CHAIN PROJECT

"Previously, there was scope for error and we’ve gone from a process that could be time consuming and painful to a process that’s super quick."

—CHRIS LANCASTER, SUPPLY CHAIN PROJECT

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