Introducing: Product Tours – The Definitive Guide

When a new student comes to the class, the teacher assigns someone to give them a school tour.

When it’s your first day at your new job, someone gives you an office tour.

When you go to a theme park or a national park, there are signs that lead you in the correct direction for you to get the most out of your visit.

When there is something new going on, there is someone or something to guide you.

The same applies to online products, whether it’s SaaS or not, B2B or B2C, doesn’t matter.

If you want your product to be sticky and your customers to be loyal, you need to give them all the necessary information as well as a warm welcome as soon as they interact with your product.

product tours: warm welcome

Here’s what we will dig into detail in this article:

What is a product tour?

A Product Tour is virtually guiding your users through the basics and necessary features of your product. Product tours are meant to be definitive, clear, and simple so that the user reaches the ‘’Aha!’’ moment quickly, without being overwhelmed.

Product tours help increase feature and product adoption. Therefore make it more likely for the customer to decide whether your product is the best for them.

Also, if your product tour has tracking features, seeing where the user abandoned the tour or went through the tour more than once will make it easier to understand where the users have difficulties.

How effective are product tours?

As I said before, almost any online product needs a product tour.

But beware: an over-complicated product tour might backfire.

As I said before, product tours must be:

  • Definitive
  • Clear
  • Simple

in order to work as intended.

So yeah, please don’t walk me through the whole product at once.

Let me digest the basics first.

I’ll talk about ‘’how’’ and ‘’why’’ in detail.

Let’s clarify the 3 basics of product tours:

1/ Make sure the tour is Definitive

This is the most obvious one within the three.

The whole point of a product tour is to introduce the product (or the new feature) to the new user/customer.

product tour ajar
Ajar’s product tour

If your users are exposed to a product tour that goes like ‘’click here’’ 10 times in a row, without explaining why and when they should click there the next time, you will get an unbearable number of complaints.

Having said that:

2/ Make sure the instructions are Clear

The information on the onboarding pop-ups or screens shouldn’t be long, either.

When I’m taking a product tour, I’m trying to understand how to use the product.

Show me where the important buttons are and how I can get further information.

I really don’t want to listen to a story while trying to figure out how to create a new task in your team management software.

Right now, while I’m onboarding, I need to know how I can add members to the task that I created, not how to customize the dashboard.

But I need to know how to seek help when I need it.

So folks, make sure to be straightforward.

Just like vieworks:

product tour - vieworks
Vieworks’ product tour

Last but not least:

3/ Make sure you keep it Simple

Please, please keep the first tour simple.

As I said before, I won’t remember anything by the end of the tour if I’m overloaded with information from the beginning.

Let me share a simple personal experience with you:

I used to love offline games that are smaller than 25Mbs, the basic games, you know, those cheesy but addicting games.

When I opened the games for the first time, I would be bombarded by constant pop-ups.

They would show me where I need to click to see the menu, achievements, goals, tasks, store, settings… all after one another.

I never completed any achievements 🤷🏻‍♀️.

Because I never remembered where to click. If only a pop-up showed up after I unintentionally cleared an achievement.

Therefore, I used the game only to fill some time on the train and never spend any money on it.

This is the case with a teeny tiny game.

So imagine how many people and how much potential profit you would miss just because your product tour is too complicated, aka crappy.

Instead, make the additional info accessible.

Try using a checklist. Viework did that too:

product tour - vieworks checklist
Vieworks’ product tour checklist

Why does your product need a product tour?

People need a bit more than a great and clear design.

You might think that your product is clear enough without a guide but don’t forget that you are the one who created the product and you know every single punctuation mark that’s in it.

Your potential customers know nothing close about it to what you do.

They might not figure everything out in a glance.

For instance, when you sign up for UserGuiding, you are welcomed with a product tour.

Some features are pretty obvious, though the guide makes it easier to locate the features.

userguiding product tour guide
UserGuiding’s product tour

Like this one.


But if it wasn’t for the guide I would never know that UserGuiding had a chrome extension.

userguiding product tour guide effectiveness
UserGuiding’s product tour

And my clumsy ass accidentally clicked ‘’exit’’ before I managed to finish the steps.

Until I realized:

userguiding product tour help center
UserGuiding’s help center

Along with being extra helpful, these buttons don’t cover a lot of space either. They are pretty functional.

For those geniuses who understood the product without the guide, congrats. The product tour guide button is just sitting there anyways.

For those who needed the tour, it’s an accessible option no matter what time it is or whether you’re sitting in the toilet.

It saves a lot of time.

A product tour can spend you AND the customer a lot of time.

According to a survey, 67% of customers prefer self-exploring rather than spending a lot of time with a representative.

I myself hate, hate, hate phone calls.

I also have pretty bad experiences with in-app messaging tools.

Once I was trying to ask a question to Sprintax to find out why I can’t e-file my return and I spent 20 minutes to find out that one of the PDFs were not clear enough.

If only this was stated in the FAQs…

As for the time that you’ll save:

Cuepath managed to reduce support calls by 72% after 6 months of creating product tours with UserGuiding.

The customer support department must have taken a deep breath after integrating a product tour with UserGuiding into their platform…

Just like getting rid of an elephant that you were carrying on your back 🤤.

It saves you a lot of money too.

Actually, it saves you money in 2 different ways:

  1. Since the potential customers are more likely to engage with your product thanks to the product tour, you will have a lesser chance of losing potential income.
  2. You will have lesser load on human resources and won’t have to increase the number of employees.

Also, you don’t have to hire developers or computing engineers to create a guide for you every single time.

If you’re not looking for something extremely specific and completely original, there are customizable tools that help you create product tours.

You don’t even have to know one single thing about coding for some of them.

I’ll be talking about those options later in the article.

It makes you seem more reliable.

Let’s think:

If you went to a restaurant, asked the waiter/waitress for a recommendation, and they just stared at you, would you be likely to go back there?

I wouldn’t if I have an option that is way better.

I once went to a Turkish coffee shop in İstanbul.

There were like 15 different types of Turkish coffee, which I didn’t even know that existed.

I asked the waiter which one they recommended if I wanted to drink something soft, he did not only recommend me a perfect fit, he also gave me information about the background of different types of Turkish coffee and how they were made.

I never drank any Turkish Coffee outside that shop.

They accidentally spilled a bit of water on my clothes once…

… but still, I had already fallen in love with the place.

The same applies to good product tours.

How effective are product tour

Leading the customer straight to the point that they need will make them trust you. Saving them from the burden of trying to figure out everything will make them want to stick to you.

If you have prepared a good product tour, of course.

I mentioned that a bad product tour can backfire.

So let’s see how to create a good product tour:

3 Key Steps to Creating the Perfect Product Tours

#1 – Know and move in accordance with your key features

Throughout the article, I already mentioned that a good product tour is supposed to be definitive.

So what should it define?

The product, yeah, but what part exactly?

Definitely not the whole thing at once.

A good product tour guide must focus on the key features of your product.

What does your product aim to accomplish?

For instance, if I were to make an introductive product tour guide for YouTube, I would:

  • Point out where the search tab is,
  • Where the library is,
  • Where the subscriptions are listed,
  • And how to subscribe to channels.

I definitely wouldn’t guide someone who just downloaded YouTube through Youtube Creator Studio, unless they click on it and activate a click-to-action item. Which is the Studio guide.

Which actually takes us to the second point:

#2 – One size doesn’t fit all

Not everyone might need to use the same features of your product.

To put it in the simplest way possible, a product manager and a software engineer might need to know different aspects of the product.

So what do you do then?

You create a button or a window within your product tours that leads to the necessary next step.

Product tours UserGuiding's ''next step'' modal
UserGuiding’s ”next step” modal

Just like that.

This helps you avoid loading unnecessary information and increases the chance of the guide being actually useful.

After all, not everyone is a fan of product tours.

⭐️ Therefore, you should also keep in mind to add a ‘’skip’’ button to your product guide.

It is better to abandon the guide and walk freely in the product than abandoning the product because of a boring and long guide.

Well obviously, those stubborn and needy customers will need to come back to you for help when they’re stuck. 

What do you do then?

I got you:

#3 – Make sure to provide further help

Since you’ve read this far, I don’t feel the need to make long explanations.

I don’t want to be the boring guide myself.

So let’s make a quick list:

  • Checklists help to divide a long tour into steps which makes it possible to take breaks and take a free tour in the product.
Product tour UserGuiding's locked checklist
UserGuiding’s locked checklist
  • Help Centers are more eye-catching and friendly than ‘’contact us’’ or ‘’FAQ’’ pages that are hidden at the bottom of a website.
Product tour UserGuiding's resource center
UserGuiding’s resource center

Linear product tours are not the only option. You can do more than just showing automated popups here and there. Be a little more creative. Use hotspots, for instance, add some spice to your already amazing product!

The #1 Way to Creating Perfect Product Tours

Everything about creating and having a product tour sounds undeniably amazing, right?

So why not turn creating the tour into even more fun?!

In most cases, creating a product tour requires two out of all:

  • A spare developer who is ready to create and maintain the product tour,
  • A lot of time and patience,
  • A good budget that could even afford hiring a new developer.

But hey, I know a way to eliminate all three 🤫

Let me introduce you to UserGuiding: the simplest product walkthrough tool that does all.

Create The product tour you need in minutes!

Before I say anything, you might want to hear it out from actual customers.

And to make it clearer, here’s why UserGuiding is the best Product Tour Tool:

  • You can create modals, tooltips, and hotspots all with only one tool.
  • You can create checklists, resource centers, and in-app messages to further strenghten the tour with UserGuiding.
  • You can fully customize the tour and the additions according to your will and needs.
  • You don’t have to know anything about coding, UserGuiding is 100% code-free!
  • You can segmentate the tour according to your customers’ needs, just in a few steps.
  • UserGuiding is the most affordable Product Tour tool that does the most!

What is holding you back? ⏱ Step your product game Up right now!

Top Examples of Product Tours from Iconic Products

I mentioned companies who did a good job with their product tours such as Vieworks and Cuepath aand the outcomes already.

Plandisc

Remember the sphere-shaped calendars we used to have as a child? Imagine that being an online platform where you can see a whole year of plans in a sphere planner. This is what Plandisc is.

A product that can be used by everyone such as Plandisc gets hundreds of new sign-ups every day.

It shouldn’t be a surprise that they need an online product tour since they wouldn’t want to schedule 1-1 tours for thousands of people.

And they were aware of this situation.

So, they started using UserGuiding and created fully customized product tours.

First step of Plandisc's product tour
First step of Plandisc’s product tour

First, a popup asks you your field of work to provide you the best plandisc option.

Then, you get the warm welcome.

Plandisc's product tour
Plandisk’s product tour

It’s important for the guide to be in sync with the theme of the product.

Then, you start your tour.

Initial steps Plandisc's product tour
Plandisc’s product tour

Only 8 steps, just the most important things described such as how to create a note on the disc. Nothing fancy included.

But if you accidentally close the guide or need more than just the basics, they have a tour checklist too that helps you get in track whenever you want, again and again.

Product tour Plandisc's checklist
Plandisc’s checklist

Product tours are not only meant to be during onboarding, I’ve mentioned using hotspots to announce updates, remember?

Plandisc used hotspots too.

Product tour Plandisc's hotspot
Plandisc’s hotspot

While their retention gradually grew thanks to the product tours that made user onboarding easier, the hotspots showed immediate results and the company had 15% of increase in a feature they highlighted with a hotspot.

Heap

Heap is a product analysis tool, and let me tell you, for someone who is a newbie in the product analysis world, setting up a tool like Heap might even be extremely difficult and complicating…

… if it weren’t for their amazing product tour.

Let’s get right into the details:

First step of Heap's Product tour
First step of Heap’s Product tour

Just like every great product tour, this one starts with a warm welcome and a quick brief.

Along with the brief, the tour asks you for very specific information such as:

Heap's product tour
Heap’s product tour

Such questions both helps you to put your goal into words and the company to give you exactly what you need.

Only after that starts the detailed guide:

Heap's product tour further steps
Heap’s product tour

The definition is pretty short and straightforward.

Just how it’s supposed to be.

Heap's product tour further popups
Heap’s product tour

It is important for a product tour guide to keep helping you when an additional screen pops up.

Heap made an excellent job by telling its users to only type the name and not struggle with the details.

Also, it is important to clearly tell people where they can find further help.

Heap's resource center / product tour
Heap’s resource center

This is what comes at the end of their product tour.

It was relieving to see a ‘’further help’’ screen.

I really don’t know why it’s not common, but it should be used more.

And another must-have feature of a product tour:

Heap's help center / Product tour
Heap’s help center

I already explained a few times why a ‘’help center’’ or ‘’checklist’’ is vital.

To sum up, Heap did a really good job with their product tour.

They made it possible to simplify a product that has way too many features, and helped the user through their first steps.

Flourish

Flourish is a tool that allows you to collect feedback, but not with an additional tool, rather via Microsoft Teams, Slack, and Facebook Messenger.

If you were to use the tool, you would expect it to be simple.

You would expect it to simplify every process.

Product tour included.

That’s why their product tour is definitive, simple, and clear, aka a good product tour.

You already know what the first must-have feature is: The warm welcome.

Flourish's product tour
Flourish’s product tour

And after the welcome module, you don’t have to digest everything at once.

You get to go back within the tour pages.

Additional features from Flourish's product tour
Additional features from Flourish’s product tour

And from the checklist, you get to start different tours.

product tour Flourish checklist

I am sure that you already got the point:

  • A product tour must be friendly
  • A product tour must be definitive, simple, and clear
  • A product tour must be easy to access

But do you need to know how to code to add all these small details?

No.

Do you need to have stacks of dollars to afford it?

Absolutely not.

But how?

If you feel like you need to build a product tour, or maybe, a better product tour, here are 3 ways to build one for your product:

Best Interactive Product Tour Software and Tools in 2021

best interactive product tour software tools

I used to think that I had to learn coding to have a place in any technical industry.

Thank goodness many people including the CEO of Flourish proved me wrong.

No one has to be an expert developer or engineer, at least not to create product tours for your product.

Let’s see the code-free, low-code, and fully code ways to create product tours:

The No-Code Way: UserGuiding

UserGuiding is a code-free product walkthrough software that 2000+ companies trust in their user onboarding.

One of the founders, John Ozuysal, not having a technical background himself, did an excellent job with creating a no-code product walkthrough software.

I hear you asking:

So how does UserGuiding work?

You basically choose what kind of a popup you want. If you want a welcome modal, you just choose the type of modal you need, type in the info and add the images, and get going.

If you want a CTA triggered walkthrough, you can do that too. Without having to code at all.

If you want to customize the product tour popups, it’s fully customizable.

fully customizable product tour - UserGuiding
Userguiding’s customization screen

And simple.

I’m not the only one saying this

“I didn’t have to have any coding knowledge to get things started. In the end, I was the one implementing UserGuiding into Flourish.”

Marten Andersson from Flourish

“UserGuiding gave us a great demo when we were looking at other players. The team was very helpful and was ready to answer any questions we had.”

Marina Matta from Ajar

“We’ve used Intercom, WalkMe, and Pendo; but they were trying to do so many things at once it felt overwhelming. UserGuiding felt like a simple strategy that we could easily adopt for our solution.”

David Palmer from Canopy inc.

If you need a quick solution that can be created and implemented in hours, UserGuiding should be your choice.

It will take the off burden of time-consuming coding or huge spendings for developing and maintenance.

But if you still feel like you want to do a bit of coding – though not all of it, that’s possible too:

The Low-Code Way: Intro.js

Intro.js is an open-source library for those who want to create their own product tour, with a little bit of help.

Once you download Intro.js, it can be set up in 3 steps.

After the set up, their website gives you all the information you will or might need during setup and use.

Since you need to put a bit more effort into it, it comes with a cheaper price than using a fully-coded ready-to-use product.

Even though it requires coding knowledge to an extent, it makes the process a whole lot faster.

Here I leave a written guide on how to use Intro.js, and a video tutorial too.

Video Tutorial for Intro.js

The DIY Way: Javascript/HTML/CSS

And of course, the traditional way.

The cost of building your own product tour is totally up to you too.

If you do all the work by yourself, obviously you won’t have any extra costs.

But it will take time. A lot of time.

And keep in mind that creating a product is not where the journey ends, maintenance, bug fixes and testing will take additional time and effort.

I personally am not a software engineer, therefore I won’t be able to tell you how you can create a product tour that will save the support team from the burden of guiding every user 1-1.

But I found some guides for you that will help you during the process.

If you still feel like you want to dive into it yourself, here I leave you a video guide on how to build product tours for your product:

Video Tutorial for coding a product tour from scratch

Conclusion

I don’t know if you ever tried knitting, if you have you know that hours and days of work will be for nothing if you don’t knot the end.

Adding a Product Tour to your product is that final knot, that tiny peace which keeps the whole thing together. If your users can’t use your product, it’s probably not their fault.

It’s not yours either. It just means that a binding factor, an explanation is missing.

So why lose customers instead of just adding a guide to your product?

You can but don’t have to code the tour yourself. There are affordable options, there are customizable options, and then there is UserGuiding…

Both affordable and fully customizable. Just like heaven…


Frequently Asked Questions


How do you convince your customers to tour your product?

Not everyone loves taking product tours, therefore, making it possible to skip and re-open tours will be a convincing factor for your customers to take the tour when they need, not when you decide they need.


How do you design a product tour?

Each product needs different kinds of tours, along with different kinds of customers needing differentiation in the tours that they take. The article explains this phenomenon in detail.


How can you create a product tour on Intercom?

First, go to Outbound, then choose ‘Product Tours’. Then, create a new tour. Next, give your tour a short and snappy title and description. Intercom is solid for product tours, but UserGuiding is more capable and more affordable than Intercom for this use case.


Hilal Yıldırım

Hilal is the Creative Content Writer of UserGuiding, specializing in onboarding and growth. When she isn't writing, you probably can't find her: she could be anywhere, taking photographs on her motorbike.

Copy link