Foolproof Tips for Top-Notch User Onboarding

User onboarding has become all the more important in recent years since it’s easier than ever for new users to unsubscribe, uninstall, and abandon software services whose value they didn’t get to uncover. Taking the right steps and implementing thought-out strategies in your onboarding process is crucial in retaining customers and actually getting users to purchase.

There are proven ways to optimize your onboarding so users can experience the vast functionality of your product, be guided through the features early on, and stick around for a journey that suits their needs best.

Tip #1 — Streamline Your Signup

An interested user looked into your services, figured the solution might appeal to their needs, and headed to the signup form … only to be greeted with a cluster of fields that span the entire web page.

A common occurrence for users during the signup process is quitting the form, never to return to the product again — scary, right? This can happen because you’re asking for too much information from the get-go. 

Keep the signup process sleek and simple by only asking users for essential information, and contribute to user convenience by including options with different platforms, such as sign up with Google.

Tip #2 — Welcome New Users

Once a potential customer has signed up, don’t leave them to their own devices and hope they jump right onto your perfect buyer pipeline. Reinforce the user’s confidence in your solution and provide helpful tips on how to utilize it in a neat and informative welcome email.

Tip #3 — Tailor the Experience

The same software can be used by a wide variety of different customer groups for slightly different purposes. Your best bet to ensure the satisfaction of as many users as possible is to personalize the onboarding journey according to their selected goals.

This way, you can optimize product demos, tools, interface, etc. to cut down the Time to Value for a diverse demographic. You can ask users about their main objectives before proceeding to your product’s starting page. Just be sure to include an option to skip this question, though.

Tip #4 — Incorporate a guide in your empty state

The “empty state” doesn’t have to be empty. In fact, users’ very first hands-on experience with your solution provides an excellent opportunity to lead them to action. 

In a place where there are no lists, documents, or files, prompt users to make one! Use a clear visual call to action here: like a “Create List!” button with big letters. You can also show a collection of templates or presets that users can start with, all designed to make the tool’s value and functionality shine through. This way, users know what they can do right away and have a ton of simple ways to get a taste of the products’ worth.

Tip #5 — Find Your Product’s “Aha” Moment

There are certain actions that, upon completion, make users realize the value behind your product and make it more likely for them to continue using it. It’s necessary to identify the point when an “exploring” user turns into a committed one. Churned customers don’t get to the end of this series of actions,  so they leave.

The goal is to walk new users through the onboarding process toward completing these observed promising tool interactions. 

Whether it be adding 10 team members in a day or creating 100 spreadsheets or lists – optimize and accelerate the path to the “aha” moment.

Tip #6 — Create an In-depth Product Walkthrough

Showing a tutorial on how to use your tool with explanations of its features and applications is a great way to give users a comprehensive view of the extent of functionality. However, plain video tours are often regarded as the less favorable option, since in-app walkthroughs tend to be much more engaging. Let users tap on the buttons, follow the guiding arrows,  click “Save” on their first project, and get a feel for what your product is like in action.

Tip #7 — Include Self-Service Resources 

Whenever a question arises, or they’re met with a technical issue – most users want to be given a quick fix to sort it out on their own. Customer service is absolutely necessary in a number of cases, however, there are questions and problems that can be solved quickly by the user, without having to devote time to reach out to a representative and wait to be connected. 

To make it more convenient for the customers and to optimize the work of your support reps, include self-service resources in your product, such as an FAQ page or a live interactive chatbot.

Tip #8 — Motivate Users with Checklists

Sometimes a checklist with tasks that need to be done within your tool gives users that extra push they need to fully embrace your product. Place the list subtly at the bottom of the screen, just for that little incentive to engage with the software.

Be sure to include an “X” button for users who don’t wish to see the checklist. 

Tip #9 — Tweak the Process and Analyze the Data 

To know what strategy and combination of steps work best to retain customers, change one variable at a time and analyze customer engagement and drop-off. Collect data each time you tweak your onboarding and figure out what approach drives the most sales and leads to users coming back for your tool, again and again.

Tip #10 — Don’t Stop Emailing 

Ensure your customers are regularly reminded of your product’s helpful functionality and updated about new versions and features by continuously emailing them. 

This tactic is especially vital for customer retention as helpful insights and content about your solution may allow users to see your product in a new light.  

Content creator at Closely. I write about marketing & B2B sales. Welcome to our LinkedIn Sales Hacking Universe ;)