Everything You Need To Know About User Onboarding – The Ultimate Guide

If you decided to go on a cruise vacation, what would your first and most important expectations be?

You wouldn’t like to learn about the trip during the cruise, rather before it, right?

Would you like to wait in a queue for hours to get a ship tour, or would you prefer having a flyer – or even better – an interactive tour app?

What would you think of your vacation if you needed help after the tour but couldn’t get it?

I’ll most likely ask these questions again within the article because they summarize this 30-minutes-long long article perfectly.

We’re talking about: User Onboarding. The very base of success. The first impression. The warm welcome. The first checkpoint. Or whatever you might want to call it.

Here’s a quick list of what we’ll cover:

Before we start: user onboarding terms you need to be familiar with

Ps: I know the struggle of not being able to read an article without visiting google every 30 seconds so, you’re welcome 😄

‘’Aha!’’ Moment:

The ‘’Aha!’’ Moment is when your user discovers how your product works. It makes it more likely for your users to turn into customers, therefore the ‘’Aha!’’ Moment plays a great role in terms of increasing revenue and retention, and also lowering churn.

Don’t get me wrong, the ‘’Aha!’’ Moment doesn’t happen when they read a manual about your product. It is when they fully understand the benefits of your product and decide ‘’this is the one.’’

Aha moment example
The sooner the ”Aha!” moment is, the more likely the customers are to adopt the product easily.

For instance, if you know a few people who use Twitter, you probably know at least 1 person who couldn’t use it or gave up using it right after signing up.

Do they not know how to use it? Don’t you simply share and like visual and written content there?

Umm, no.

To be able to fully use Twitter, you have to be able to engage with other users. You have to follow people to have some relevant things pop up on your feed, and you have to get likes to the content you share to find the courage to keep posting.

So, Twitter found out that following 30 people and getting 10 of them to follow you back is where the user gets the ‘’Aha!’’ moment and becomes a frequent, loyal, and promoting user.

There are many aspects of the ‘’Aha!’’ moment. For instance, you don’t set your product’s aha moment; the customers do. You have to find it afterward.

Or you can’t just expect every user to reach the aha moment without guidance.

To make things easier for you, here I leave A Guide to ‘’Aha!’’ Moment.

Product Adoption:

Product Adoption is the process of users learning about your product and eventually becoming recurring users of it. The main goal of User Onboarding is actually to increase the likelihood of Product Adoption, which is, to get them to adopt your product so that they stick with you and increase your CLTV rates.

It’s getting more and more difficult to get a customer to stick around one product, as you know.

One single mistake, and they’re gone to a competitor. Sad story…

Don’t be surprised if I said that every single comma on your product affects the adoptability of your product. The design, the features, the pricing, the onboarding, the support…

This is because Product Adoption doesn’t happen at a glance, it’s – as always – a process.

Product Adoption Process
Product adoption is a process that goes simultaneously with Onboarding.

This is why you have to please the customer at every step of the process.

I have 3 quick tips for you to keep in mind in terms of Product Adoption:

  1. Don’t try to please everyone and get new customers every day. Your main focus should be your specific target audience and the needs of your existing customers.
  2. The first impression always matters. Keep your advertisements friendly, your product tour definitive, and your support ready.
  3. Don’t be afraid to make major changes if you feel like you have to. No giant company’s success line is straight.

And if you feel like you want to dig deeper into product adoption, here is your guide to Product Adoption

Time to Value:

Time To Value (TTV) is the necessary time for a customer to get value from your product. In other words, making it quick for your customers to get benefits from your product will allow them to stick around your product more because your product proves useful and beneficial for them. The quicker the customer gets to benefit from your product, the shorter the TTV is.

So, the goal of your business should be to reduce the Time to Value statistics of your product.

After all,

It’s better to waste money than time, you can always get more money

Hal Sparks

To decrease the Time to Value, there are a few simple things that you can do:

  • Know your key features and help your customers understand those key features first, instead of getting them to use every single thing at once.
  • If your product offers quick solutions, make sure that you differ from the rest of your competitors in terms of efficiency to attract customers.
  • If your solutions require customization and segmented actions, make sure that your customers get the most value out of it instead of trying to cut the process short.
  • A newer trend is to underpromise and overperform to increase customer satisfaction. (Do not undersell yourself, just don’t reveal all your secrets to get more sales)
  • Set checkpoints and benchmarks for the process to give your customers the feeling of accomplishment even before a task is fully done.

Here is the definitive article about Time To Value, strategies, and solutions; just in case you want to learn more about it.

User Experience (UX):

User Experience is how your users interact with your product, your services, and your company. 

User Experience Design, on the other hand, is how you manipulate this experience through your design. The choice of colors, words, shapes, all effects the effectiveness and outcomes of the UX design.

Going with UX design is pretty difficult and requires a lot of research on your customers.

Every UX design is special to a company or product, so you can say that UX design is a customized design, developed for a specific range of people who are potential users to improve the quality of their interactions with the product.

This is the part of UX that we need to know to understand User Onboarding. If you feel like you need to know more about UX and UX design, you can start here.

If we’re clear on the terms, let’s start with our main topic:

What is User Onboarding?

User Onboarding is the process of introducing the product to the users and assisting them to the point where they will become loyal customers. User Onboarding is neither leaving your users with the product tour alone nor getting involved in everything they do and ‘’teaching’’ them what to do.

The onboarding phase is:

  • Where you introduce yourself to the customer,
  • Make a good first impact,
  • Make sure they are feeling at home with your product
  • And the phase where you probably have the most contact with your customers.

Most people confuse ‘’User Onboarding’’ with a product tour. But it consists of many additional elements.

The best proof for this will be the fact that User Onboarding starts before the user interacts with the product.

As soon as they read an article on your blog without knowing who you are, they are actually making the first step into the onboarding process.

  • So the quality of your content affects the onboarding process

Because that increases the possibility of them signing up for your newsletter.

  • So the quality of your copy affects the onboarding process.

If they like you, they will dig deeper into who you are, and if they’re interested, they will sign up for a free trial or for the freemium version.

  • So the quality of your website and sign-up form affects the onboarding process.

Only then comes the product tour. If you lead them to the ‘’Aha!’’ moment quickly and smoothly, they would want to stick around.

After all these, if you still think that you shouldn’t care so much about the onboarding, let me explain myself in other words:

Why is User Onboarding Important?

Why user onboarding matters

The onboarding phase is probably the most important phase that determines your future with every single customer and user.

Remember the cruise example? That’s why.

It’s 2021, and as I always say, the competition is higher than ever.

There are thousands of companies who treat their customers as if they were diamonds.

If you’re not one of them, the customers won’t be yours. No matter how cheap or perfect your product is.

Would you eat at your local McDonalds again if a manager yelled at you as soon as you enter it? Would you ever drink boba again if you found no one to help you get served?

Nope.

Everything has to be nice, neat, and close enough to perfect. Being a SaaS, PaaS, B2B, B2C, doesn’t matter.

To be more precise, nearly 63% of customers say that onboarding is an important consideration in whether they make the decision in the first place.

Also, 55% of people say they’ve returned a product because they didn’t quite understand how to use it, so if you have a subscription-based product, don’t even think about retention or profit without providing a good onboarding experience 😊

I know that you’re now fully sure that you have to work on your onboarding process.

Let’s separate the User Onboarding Elements and take a deep look into each of them:

What are the elements of User Onboarding?

So, what are the elements, the ingredients of this highly-important User Onboarding process, don’t you wonder?

Come aboard since you don’t want to miss out on this recipe!

Awareness:

So I hope that we’re clear about the fact that User Onboarding starts as soon as the potential customer learns about your product.

There is not much to say and do about it, just make sure that people aren’t talking bad behind your back, and that you are accessible to the right people. If your product is for designers, make it for designers, not photographers, writers, and managers.

Being aware of your user-persona is just as important as making sure that you reach out to enough people.

After you are aware of your users, and the right people are aware of your services comes the:

Signup:

Did you know that short sign-up forms allow you to increase your conversion rates? A 2008 study by Imagescape reported that signup forms with 4 or fewer fields have the most signups.

So what will you do if you need to ask more questions?

Easy, divide your questions into 2 pages. In 2015, Formstack found out that having a 2-page sign-up form that is clear and simple increases the sign-up rates by 9%.

Onboarding emails:

There are 2 aspects to take into account about Onboarding Emails:

  1. Keep your emails short, clear, definitive, and friendly.

    This email will be the first personal interaction with you and your potential customer, no matter if the email is automated or not. Include images or visuals. Leave some white space on the email to make it more likable. Just like this one on the right.


  2. Give them some space and contact them at the right times.

    Follow-up emails are okay and even necessary at a point, but leaving your customer with an inbox that got 5 unread emails from you in a few days will make them run away. For instance, when they finally complete a key task, or when they don’t log in for a long time. 
Headspace onboarding email
Headspace’s onboarding email

In-product guide (product walktrough):

The purpose of the Product Tour is to take the burden off of the support team’s shoulders and speed the process up a bit. And yet, some people forget that they have to be an assistant during the onboarding process and not a teacher.

I’ve seen product tours that show me all the features at once and by the time the tour ends, I feel overwhelmed, and I find myself in a state where I don’t know what the first step was.

Onboarding Checklists and Progress Bars:

Checklists are a great way to avoid overloading your customers and users with a heavy product tour.

Dividing your product tour into steps and putting them into a checklist will give them a feeling of accomplishment and freedom.

onboarding checklist example
What a good onboarding checklist looks like

The same applies to progress bars. Look at the progress bar of this article, the blue line at the top. I know it’s kinda short for now, but check it at different times while reading this article, and you will understand what I mean.

Tooltips:

Tooltips allow you to get rid of the visual crowd and put your page into order.

A good Onboarding has to be appealing to the eye to be simple, so, instead of putting random writings or boxes everywhere, you can hide the unnecessary (or secondary) stuff in tooltips.

These can be hotspots, info buttons, resource centers, etc. Here is a good article on Tooltips, just in case you might need to know more.

Conversational Tools:

First things first, 73% of people prefer live chat in online tools and 63% said that they were more likely to go back to a website that offered live chat.

Live chat, in-app messaging, any kind of conversational tool built into the product will make it seem more sincere. Such a feeling is what people need within all the zeros and ones.

As I mentioned before, making the customer feel at home is one of the main goals of user onboarding, therefore, leaving them with soulless instructions and expecting them to solve the rest themselves will cost you more than adding a conversational tool.

Further help and FAQ:

Not likely, but just in case the customer is an introvert like me who doesn’t even want to ask for help via the live chat tool, or if you don’t have such an option, you have to make sure that your customers get answers when they are stuck.

Or just in case your external tools crash, it’s always a good plan to have an additional page where you answer your customers’ questions.

Mazars help center
Mazars helps their users with their help center.

This is also essential to keep your customers engaged with the onboarding process if they need help after a long gap of no interaction with you.

I’ll be going into deep detail in terms of usage, dos, and don’ts; but first, let’s see some important statistics to make what I said and what I’m going to say even more convincing:

User Onboarding Statistics and Benchmarks

  • 86% of people tend to become loyal customers of a company that provides a good onboarding experience and invests in user onboarding. (Wyzowl)
  • More than half (55%) of people say that they felt the need to return a product just because they didn’t understand how to use it. (Wyzowl)
  • 92% of people say they would switch a company is they had 3 (or less) bad experiences with it. (Gladly)
  • 82% to 90% of people say that an immediate response is critical when they have an issue. (Hubspot)
  • Only 4% of people complain when they have an unresolved problem. The rest just churns. (Groove)
  • Customers who are impressed with the onboarding of a company show a 12% to 21% higher willingness than the median to spend more money on it (SaaS Brief)
  • 68% of people indicate that they would pay more to a company that has better customer support, and 8% of those will pay up to 20% more. (Gladly)
  • 65% of users indicate that videos are their favorite method of user onboarding. (Wyzowl)
  • Highly engaged customers are 6x more likely to try a new product of the same company. (Groove)
  • 67% of churn can actually be prevented if the problem is solved at first engagement. (Groove)

User Onboarding Metrics and KPIs

I know there are too many metrics that can help you, and it can make you feel overwhelmed.

If your  TTV is increasing and Product Adoption rates are getting lower, there is a good chance that your onboarding needs a little push.

The onboarding metrics that I listed will help you learn more about your product’s onboarding, whether it’s good, boring, efficient, long, etc. You get the point.

Never forget to not to focus on more than a couple metrics at the same time. Not every metric is for everyone.

Completion Rate

This metric will help you find out how many people completed a certain task.

It’s extremely important to make sure that customers reach the ‘’Aha!’’ moment quick. Tracking this metric will allow you to know if your customers use the key features or if there’s a problem before they reach that point.

They might not even be completing the signup process, who knows?

Daily Active Users

How are you going to know that people give up on your product?

Simple:

The number of daily active users can give you deep insight into whether people understood the purpose of your product or if they need help.

If your product is supposed to be used on a daily basis, you would expect people to log in in a daily basis so that they complete their onboarding and solve their problems ASAP.

On the other hand, if your product is to be used once in a week or month and your customers log in almost every day, there might be a problem. It’s best to make sure that they understand the purpose of your product.

Stickiness (DAU/MAU Rate)

It’s no surprise that you would want to increase your stickiness so that people engage with your product more and in the end, turn into promoters.

You can calculate the stickiness of your product simply by dividing the Monthly Active User count into the Daily Active User count

Stickiness formula

Retention

The retention rate shows you the percentage of users who kept using your product for longer than a determined product.

You can calculate your retention rate for different period lengths to see if you improved within that period, or made a mistake an led to higher churn rates.

Here I’ll leave the formula for you:

Retention rate formula

But there are also free retention rate calculators to do the job for you.

And we’ve had a webinar on how to Maximize Retention rate, feel free to watch the recording.

Churn Rate

This is the black if Retention rate is the white.

Churn rate simply tells you how many customers you have lost in a certain period of time. 

Well, obviously, a Churn rate that is no different from 0 churns is every company’s dream. If your churn rates are continuous at a stage and you constantly keep losing customers within a certain period of usage, you had better revise your onboarding process. 

Also, feel free to check this article out to learn how to reduce churn rates.

Ps: Here I have another article about Product Success Metrics that will be helpful for you if you want to know what to track after user onboarding 😉

How to Onboard New Users Successfully

I hear you saying ‘’oh, right, that’s what I was looking for’’

I promise you that all the info I gave above is extremely important and relevant. You’ll see how.

Let’s break it down into 3 simple steps:

#1 – Know your key features and be direct

Do people perceive your product the same way that you do?

I’ll be direct to the point, just like your onboarding materials should be.

What people think of your product is what matters.

You should improve and optimize your product according to the outcomes of the metrics and KPIs, not to what you have foreseen it to be.

Your first users will show you what they like the most about your product. Just track their actions and get their feedback.

After you get answers, hold tight onto those features, because they’re your key features.

And leading the users directly to the key features will both give them a feeling of accomplishment and also awake trust in them towards your product (and you).

They’l look for those feelings elswhere if you don’t give it to ‘em. 🤷🏻‍♀️

Then, proceed to the next step:

#2 – Know the ‘’Aha!’’ Moment and make it the first goal

Your customers are where they wanted to be within your product, all that’s left to do is showing them how to benefit from it.

Important: Don’t teach them what to do!

If you tell them where to click and what to drag every single time,

  • They will feel overwhelmed,
  • They will forget some of the steps and quit,
  • They won’t feel the same feeling of accomplishment they would if you let them find some obvious things themselves.

Make reaching the ‘’Aha!’’ Moment the first goal of your new user for the best onboarding experience. This way, they will find value in your product, and stick around for longer.

#3 – Make the experience as personalized as possible

Simple explanation with our cruise vacation example:

I know we’ve said that almost everyone would prefer a quick tour with definitive flyers over waiting in a queue for a one-on-one tour.

But imagine that the flyer has your name on it and shows the activities that you like first.

Fascinating…

You can do the same with your user onboarding.

Try sending personalized emails to your users if you can.

If not, you can include their names in the emails and even in the product tour.

You can also customize the product tour according to their needs or profession since the key features of your product for different segments can differ.

customized product tour question
Asking personalization questions can make a big difference.

Another way to make people feel special is to let them know that they’re being heard.

Asking them for feedback at certain points of their journey, replying to these feedback via live-chat or email, and taking the feedback into account can change the way your customers think of your product.

Personalizing the experience as much as possible will awake a feeling of sincerity in the potential customers and end-users. This will inevitably increase your NPS scores, and your reputation. 

And this, ladies, gentleman, everyone, how to onboard new users in 3 steps.

The Easiest Way to Onboard Users and Increase Activation Rates by 25%

I have a secret 🤫 and I’m finally ready to share it with you.

  • I know how to increase your retention rates without spending a fortune
  • I know how to reduce friction between the onboarding process and the user without spending days of coding.
  • I know how to take off a huge burden (up to 72%) from your Customer Support team’s shoulders.

Let me introduce you: UserGuiding, the #1 Interactive User Onboarding tool, trusted by 2.000+ customers all across the world.

Create step-by-step guides without a semicolumn of coding!

Here’s why UserGuiding is your to-go choice:

  • UserGuiding is 100% code free! No technical knowledge needed at all.
  • UserGuiding lets you create modals, tooltips, and hotspots – all in one tool.
  • With Userguiding, you can create multiple interactive checklists according to your users’ needs.
  • UserGuiding is fully customizable. You can use your logo, your color palette, your font, and your visuals as you create YOUR USERS’ interactive onboarding experience.

To top it all, UserGuiding is the most affordable tool of all, with prices starting from $99/month.

I’m not the one saying this, I have proof, I have all those customers that owe their revenue to the tool.

So what’s holding you back? Start creating the best experience for your users now!

What to Avoid While User Onboarding

Along with things you should do, the things you shouldn’t do might confuse you. So here is what not to do in order to not to ruin your onboarding phase in 6 steps.

 Poor Onboarding experience is hard to come back from and is the fastest way to lose a customer.

Paul Philp

#1 – Don’t make the purchase too difficult

Let me give a quick example:

Think that there are 2 coffee shops on the way from home to work, and you love morning coffees.

One of them is pretty popular and has always has a long line in front of customers. The other one is less busy, and the coffee is good enough.Would you risk being late to work, just to get the popular coffee?

Didn’t think so.

Complicated websites, unclear directions and definitions, a never-ending sign-up form, asking people to activate their accounts, all these things are proven to be retention killers.

The customer is not buying the biggest diamond of the world, therefore, it’s not likely that they would spend a whole day just to sign up.

Don’t get me wrong, of course it is essential to take safety mesures.

But don’t ask people to repeat their password if they are receiving an extra email to activate their accounts, don’t add captcha on top of all this and turn your signup form into an unbreakable locker.

As for the worst part: this is not the only problem that occurs in terms of signup and email mistakes:

#2 – Don’t send nagging onboarding emails

If I recieve more than a couple of emails in a week from a newsletter I just signed up for, I simply unsubscribe from it after the first week. Sometimes the second week, if I didn’t get irritated enough on the first.

onboarding emails

This isn’t just the case of me and my emails.

Emails are now a part of everyone’s daily tasks and I don’t know one single person who reads the emails just because they like them.

It’s all about usability. Including why we sign up for newsletters. Sending a subscriber or a customer constant emails will make them think of you as an unprofessional who’s trying to desperately sell their product.

Instead, try sending one email per week, except for the notification emails.

Keep the content of your emails definitive and as direct as possible.

Also, you should know when to send automated emails. People don’t think positively of a company who asks them to ‘’complete a task today!’’ that they’ve already completed.

To solve this issue, instead of sending timed emails like a broken alarm clock, try action trigerred emails.

Along with making you seem more professional, you will see a significant difference in the TTV rates.

#3 – Don’t assume that the user knows everything

This must have happened to you too, have you ever been in a situation that you read a message, don’t understand it, and when you ask the sender to clarify it…

… and they are like ‘’It’s obvious! How did you not understand?’’

Such people are the reason that my therapist needs a therapist. It might be obvious for the one who wrote the message since they know the backstory, the thoughts, and the details that are actually important.

The same applies to New User Onboarding.

First of all, you shouldn’t assume that people will memorize the whole product or even the feature after the first product tour. Make sure that they have access to such tools more than once.

Also, make sure that you show your customers where they need to look for further help.

If I have to spend 45 minutes just to find out what to do next, I’d rather pay a little more to get better support and a good onboarding experience. And I’m not the only one. Check the statistics.

#4 – Don’t assume that you know everything

Yet another common mistake: people that are too lazy or afraid to change.

If your rates are going down, if you are not making progress in terms of new customer acquisition, if you can’t attract new people, there could be something wrong with your existing onboarding process.

It might be your reputation, or it might be your customer support.

Assuming that everything will be smooth right after finishing a design or launching a product is a dangerous delusion.

Try to observe your customers, talk to them, get their opinions, and make changes accordingly. Try to be a bit more customer-centric rather than ‘’self-centric’’.

#5 – Don’t overload too much info in a short time

the risk of information overload

Just like assuming that the customers know everything, you should avoid loading a huge ton of information at once.

Don’t guide them through the whole product at once, Don’t tell them every single detail unless they ask for it.

Instead, point out the most important features once at a time. And the first thing you should do after the first product tour is showing them how to find and activate the rest of the tours.

the importance of further help notice
You should make sure your customer can get help anytime.

The same goes for your website. Don’t put everything you like on the landing page, or else you will be left with something that looks like this:

User onboarding - landing page

Try to use simple words, short sentences, and no more than 2 consecutive sentences.

Make it feel like they are talking with someone.

But never forget:

#6 – Don’t leave the customer alone with interactive guides and AI

Sometimes there will be problems that are even new to you, or there are going to be people who just can’t find the answers they need in your product tour, website, or resource center.

So you should make sure that you have a real person to help them.

It’s best to have a support line and a live-chat feature built in your product.

Having at least one is better than nothing, though.

It would be sad to find out that you didn’t spend $99 per month for a live-chat tool that could make you convert 3 customers, $250 each.

Think of the profit instead of the expenses so that people will think of using your product over your competitors.

Checklist for User Onboarding

It’s best to keep things tracked and organized, right?

Let’s divide the checklist into 4 steps:

  1. Onboarding steps before signup
  2. Onboarding steps after signup
  3. Onboarding steps after reaching a checkpoint
  4. Onboarding steps towards the end of initial onboarding

It wouldn’t be fair to write unactionable words here and expect you to fully understand it.

Therefore we prepared a throughout User Onboarding Checklist that is ready for you to use.

It’s free, we’ll send you a notice for you to download it. Don’t forget to let us know that you want it.

User Onboarding Examples/Teardowns

As I always say,

The competition has never been higher, the people have never been more demanding.

Here are 3 amazing user onboarding examples that I really really like:

#1 – RAM

RAM is a South Africa-based delivery company that is still growing.

Even though the onboarding process I will show is the employee onboarding process of RAM after IT changes, it’s a perfect fit for user onboarding and end-user onboarding.

Because it’s the employee onboarding phase, I’ll skip the pre-sign up steps for this one and focus on the rest:

What was our must-have first element after signup? A warm welcome.

ram onboarding welcome
RAM’s welcome modal

Using an avatar does not only feel sincere, it’s also eye-catching and definitely heart warming. 

Just like Samsung’s new virtual assistant. She made me fall in love with a virtual character…

Uhm, anyways, their avatar, Sam is the one guiding them throughout the platform, and Sam is a smart one: another crucial step of a successful user onboarding process is leaving no space for mistakes. That’s why I found this step genius:

ram onboarding
RAM’s avatar introduction

After introducing himself, Sam shows us where he lives – where we can get further information.

This step works better when it’s towards the end of the guide since that makes it easier to remember the last details, but at least his way of introducing his home does the job:

ram onboarding lighthouse
RAM Sam’s home

After every necessary introduction, we get to the product tour:

RAM product tour modal
RAM’s product tour modal

And after getting to the first checkpoint, you get your sip of encouragement:

RAM well done modal
A sip of encouragement from Sam


This is not where the onboarding ends. They also have a checklist of product tours for you to track your progress and get help whenever you want:

ram onboarding checklist
RAM’s onboarding checklist

To sum up, they have:

  • A nice introduction
  • A detailed product tour
  • A ‘’Further help’’ option
  • A checklist
  • A sincere design
  • An original idea

They could have:

  • Put the ‘’Further help’’ to the end
  • A more detailed checklist
  • A resource center

The positive aspects outdo the negative ones, and this one is a definite pass ✅

#2 – Zakeke

Zakeke is a 3D designing tool, which you can tell is complicated.

Even the simplest design tool – Canva – is pretty complicated at some point. So it’s not a surprise that such a tool needs an amazing onboarding to be successful, right?

You know what to begin with: the signup form. Here is Zakeke’s perfectly simple signup form:

Zakeke signup form
Zakeke’s short signup form with clear instructions

Then comes the welcome – as it’s supposed to be:

Zakeke onboarding
Zakeke’s product tour

What I really liked about this first step is that it’s direct and informative.

Also, the product tour is not the same thing as a good user onboarding. Zakeke was apparently aware of that.

Instead of forcing people to memorize every step of the tour, they used tooltips to improve efficiency, and add a bit spice to their functionality:

Zakeke tooltips
Zakeke’s tooltips

Also, unlike many companies, in order to keep the onboarding process going after the product tour, they cleverly used flashy hotspots to highlight changes and updates. Using hotspots allows you to draw the attention organically instead of popping a nerve-racking popup:

Zakeke hotspot
Zakeke’s hotspot notification

Some information, though, that is too big to fit in a hotspot, needs another method to be delivered to the user.

You can send an email to the customer to notify an improvement but they might not see it. You can also call them, if you have enough nerve, people, and a personal service provider.

Or you can show an in-app message:

Zakeke in app message
Zakeke’s in-app message

This way you will both catch the attention of the users and get rid of a huge burden.

To sum up, they have:

  • A good signup form
  • A warm welcome
  • A simple product tour
  • Nice touches with tooltips
  • Highlighted information with hotspots
  • In-app messages to improve communication

They could have:

  • A checklist to track progress
  • An outro from the product tour
  • A resource center

Yet, the combination of many useful parts of user onboarding made me put Zakeke into my favorites list.

#3 – Plandisc

Plandisc is a calendar in the shape of a disc. It helps you organize your tasks while being able to see a whole year right in front of you.

To be more precise, it’s a calendar that is more useful but also more complicated. So, it needs to be guided through to be useful.

You know the drill. All starts with a well designed signup form:

Plandisc signup form
Plandisc’s signup form

Then comes an amazing feature of this onboarding: they ask for your profession:

Plandisc personalized questions
Personalized questions will make you seem more reliable.

Since I don’t personally use the platform, I don’t know if this helps in terms of personalized recommendations, but, I know that it makes me feel valued and ensured.

Then we start the product tour:

Plandisc welcome modal
Plandisc’s welcome modal
Plandisc first step
First step of the product tour

The first tour is a pretty short one with only 8 steps, which is good because guides that have up to 8 steps have a higher completion rate than longer guides.

But can you explain enough in only 8 steps?

I don’t think so

That’s why they have a checklist:

Plandisc checklist
Plandisc’s checklist

And Plandisc also used hotspots to highlight notifications:

Plandisc hotspot
Plandisc’s hotspot notification

I couldn’t find a resource center in this one either, so to have an idea about what it looks like and how it works, just check ours at the right of the screen! (It says ‘’👋 even more content here’’ )

To sum up, they have:

  • A nice signup page
  • A personalization feature before the product tour
  • A short and clear product tour
  • A detailed checklist
  • Hotspots

They could have:

  • A warmer welcome
  • A resource center
  • A clarification in terms of further help

Instead of listing all products that got the hang of user onboarding, I’m leaving this article for more examples. 

So, do you have to code all the tours and implementations yourself?

No.

Do you have to know how to code?

Nope.

Do you have to leave the user alone with a tour?

Absolutely not.

Let me introduce you to the most useful tools and software for you to build an irreplaceable onboarding experience:

Best Software for User Onboarding

No-Code Interactive Onboarding Guide – UserGuiding

You may have noticed that the product tour is one of the most important elements for a successful user onboarding.

If your signup form has to suck in a way, if you don’t trust your newsletter, having a 10/10 product tour is likely to save you.

Another good aspect of a product tour is that: it’s one of the easiest things to set up without having a big audience. As long as you know your hey features and ‘’Aha!’’ Moment, you’re good to start building the perfect product tour.

And as I said, you don’t have to code a tour from scratch.

There are tools to save you time and money. Such as UserGuiding.

UserGuiding allows you to build product tours, checklists, conduct NPS surveys, and track certain metrics such as DAU and of course, NPS score.

Let’s dig a bit deeper into the product:

The main advantage of UserGuiding is that it’s 100% coding-free. All the templates are ready to use. Here’s how to create a guide with it:

Also, the whole product is fully customizable. You decide on the colors, shapes, fonts, and that part is pretty easy to do too:

userguiding customization

We’ve talked about how important it is to create different tours for different segments. UserGuiding made it too easy to create segments that you will want to do it even if you don’t have to:

UserGuiding segmentation

UserGuiding allows you to create tooltips and hotspots, which are of course, code-free and customizable:

UserGuiding tooltips

And here is what the analytics page looks like:

UserGuiding Analytics page

Giving the time of effort of coding into improving your product tour instead – or even your product – might be what you need to have fully engaged users who adopt your product.

As for the price, a basic subscription starts from $99/month while saving you hundreds.

Still, if you feel like you can handle the coding, here’s another alternative:

Low-Code Interactive Product Walkthrough – Intro.js

Intro.js is an open-source library to create interactive product walkthroughs.

If you have a spare developer and you want to save money, you can use this tool to create simple product tours.

It’s pretty easy to set up, their official website explains everything in detail, along with interactive examples.

It’s free for personal use, but you have to buy a lifetime license, which starts from $9.99.

Keep in mind that the library only offers product tour codes and not a whole user onboarding experience. For surveys, hotspots, tooltips, checklists, and analytics, you would have to spend more time or use different products.

I’m not a developer, so I leave this written manual here for you to understand the tool better.

And for visual learners, here is a video tutorial:

The onboarding consists of much more than the product tour. Let’s get to the other relevant tools:

Keeping users engaged with Emails – Intercom

So, another important aspect of user onboarding is keeping users engaged even when they’re not using the product as you know.

The best way to do this is by sending them useful emails that are interesting – and personalized, if possible.

Thank goodness it’s 2021 and you don’t have to send all of them one by one… Think of the struggle.

Intercom allows you to set and schedule automated emails and keep track of them.

That’s not all, though.

intercom use cases

You can also integrate a live-chat feature into your product using Intercom. This way, people wouldn’t even have to search for a ‘’further help’’ page, or go away.

A live chat feature that’s right in front of their eyes will make them feel a bit more comfortable with your product since it reduces the possibility of unsolved problems and unanswered questions.

Video onboarding for visual learners – Wyzowl

65% of users say that videos are their favorite onboarding method.

I haven’t seen 1 person who prefers reading 10 to 100 articles instead of watching a crash course.

Same with onboarding.

Personally, videos that explain the complicated or long steps are my personal favorite. If I can’t find a YouTube video on what I’m trying to do, then I’m not doing it.

If there is a YouTube video, I’ll be happy.

If there’s a video guide that takes the burden of searching for it away from me, I’m buying the product.

This video doesn’t have to be a 5-minute-long definition video. Even a gif or small animation is enough to make my day.

Wyzowl is a visual creation tool that helps you make different kinds of videos for your product such as short animations, longer introductive videos, onboarding videos, and so much more.

Let the product speak for itself and see their video about demo videos:

Wyzowl charges you according to the length of your video, so how much it will cost is a bit more up to you. But it’s costly, that’s for sure.
The average price in the market for a 1-minute animated video is $7972.  However, this doesn’t change the fact that the profit can be great if your customers consist of visual learners.

Conclusion

When you want to go on a vacation, you want it to be worth the time and money. And the smiling face of the hiking tour guide or hotel doorman can make that happen.

The same goes for your customers. When they decide to use your service, they want to feel welcomed, along with a good experience.

This is how important a good User Onboarding is.

Creating a good User Onboarding experience isn’t difficult, as long as you know the dos and don’ts. Don’t turn it into a nightmare for you and your potential customers.

We’re here to help. 🚀


Frequently Asked Questions:


What is the goal of user onboarding?

The goal of User Onboarding is to engage with the customers in the best way possible and make them adopt the product. To be able to do that, you have to keep them excited and informed from the start, till they reach the ‘’Aha!’’ Moment.


How do you create a good user onboarding process?

The Onboarding process of users doesn’t start or end with the product tour. You have to remind them that you care about them with emails, make sure they reach the ‘’aha!’’ moment with product tours, and make them feel heard with surveys and good customer support.


What is new user onboarding?

New User onboarding is the process of introducing your product to the new user, making sure they get the hang of your product and how it benefits them, and turn them into promoters by getting them to like the product.


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.

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