User Onboarding Meaning and Definition With Examples

Believe it or not, there are only two types of businesses.

The first just sells the product and forgets the customer soon after. But the second type is different because it supports the clients during the entire pre- and post-purchase period.

We call this concept user onboarding.

User onboarding has recently turned into an industry standard. Surveys show that 76% of consumers would consider doing business with a company with a poor customer experience.

If you are interested in the user onboarding definition and the way it impacts your company, you will learn a lot from this post. We will uncover its true meaning and show you how Eyelet turns user onboarding into a simple process.

Let’s take a look! 

What is user onboarding?

User onboarding is the process of optimizing the experience new users have with your product from their first interaction. Simply put, it is how you help clients get used to the product. 

Without it, you can easily face the dark side of user activation. The goal of the user onboarding process is two-fold:

  • Reduce user churn, which is the percentage of users who stop using your product or service after signing up
  • Increase conversions—the percentage of users who take the product tour and continue using your product or service after signing up 

User onboarding mainly focuses on three aspects, with clarity being the first. It means ensuring that new customers understand what your product or service does and how it can benefit them.

The second aspect is engagement, which means you should encourage users to play with your product or service. 

The third one is education because you need to teach beginner-level clients how to use your product.

The only surefire way to achieve these three goals is to create a smooth, intuitive user onboarding experience that is both informative and enjoyable. Simply put, the ultimate goal is successful product adoption.

Why is user onboarding important?


Source: Freepik

If you can get users to stick with your product, they will likely become paying customers. This is why it’s important to implement user onboarding. The whole point of the process is getting new customers to understand how to use your product and see its value.

If you can successfully get them to enjoy the experience, they’re more likely to convert into paying customers. The idea is to make user onboarding as easy and painless as possible so that users can quickly get up and running.

UX design is not user onboarding

The user onboarding process is typically associated with user experience, but it is much broader than that. UX focuses solely on simplicity and intuitiveness, while a good user onboarding experience is also about motivation, learning, and engagement. It’s about ensuring that a new user has a positive experience with your brand from the very beginning.

The more value a user sees in your product, the more likely they are to keep coming back to it. On the other hand, a poor user onboarding experience costs businesses a lot. According to the report, eight in ten users say they’ve deleted an app because they didn’t know how to use it.

That’s how strong user onboarding really is. 

Key elements of user onboarding

Good user onboarding depends on many elements that vary from business to business. But some aspects of the user onboarding process remain the same for all companies. Let’s check them out here:

1. Awareness

Perhaps it sounds counterintuitive, but user onboarding starts before potential customers become daily active users. It is the awareness stage that can help your business attract clients.

If a person never knew your product existed, they couldn’t become a paying customer. Likewise, if they don’t understand what your product does or how it could help them, they won’t be motivated to sign up. 

Once users are aware of your product or service, they can think about giving it a go.

2. The signup process

The signup form is the very beginning of the customer lifecycle. It is the stage where curious SaaS managers, marketing executives, and customer service professionals become active users. 

By keeping the process straightforward, you will ensure that potential customers are not deterred by a lengthy or complicated signup procedure. Additionally, a streamlined signup process prevents client frustration and increases customer satisfaction. 

And it’s easy to find great user onboarding examples—just take a look at how Eyelet makes the signup form incredibly simple:

All it takes is three entries to start a brand new user journey. That’s in line with the demands of modern competitive markets—SaaS businesses must do everything they can to attract and retain customers. A simple signup procedure is one way to give your business the edge.

3. Onboarding emails

Onboarding emails welcome new users to your product. They often come in sequences to introduce all the features of your service, providing different types of helpful tips and resources. For instance, you can do it like this:

  • Send a thank you note
  • Provide customers with learning resources
  • Deliver a case study or success story
  • Send referral links to try and earn more clients

When designing onboarding email campaigns, it’s necessary to make messages relevant to the needs of a given client. Besides that, keep them concise and easy to understand—it will increase customer lifetime value. 

And finally, be sure to include a call to action in each email so that your users know what they ought to do next.

4. Product walkthroughs

A product walkthrough is a guided tour of a product or service. It’s a vital marketing tool because it allows potential customers to see the value of your service before they make a purchase. It also helps them understand how to use the product. 

Here’s one of the nice user onboarding examples that shows how PayPal does it in just over a minute:

The goal of a product walkthrough is to get your users to learn about what you can do for them without being overwhelming. The key is to focus on the features and benefits that will be most useful to them.

5. Tooltips

A tooltip is a little pop-up box that appears when users hover a mouse cursor over a certain element of the product interface. Tooltips provide additional information about a given feature or show new users how to take advantage of a particular interface element. 

Tooltips provide additional information that does not concern the main content of the page.

6. Checklists

Checklists help users understand what they need to do to get started with your product. Such lists ensure that new clients don’t miss any important steps in the user journey. That way, users can track their progress on the go easily.

In addition to reducing support calls and churn, a well-executed checklist and a progress bar improve the overall user onboarding experience. In other words, it increases product usage and satisfaction, extending the customer lifecycle.

7. Conversational tools

Do you know that 85% of customers find live chat the most satisfactory form of communication with a company? The availability of conversational tools has become one of the key user onboarding metrics that can drastically increase satisfaction rates.  

Of course, live chat is not the only option you have. There are also voice assistants, in-app messaging systems, and chatbots. A report shows how powerful they really are:

  • 40% of millennials chat with bots daily
  • Nearly 70% of millennials purchase from brands through a chatbot

All these types of conversational tools enable instant communication, making it easier to provide clients with an effortless user journey.  

Tips for a better onboarding experience

The main elements of the user onboarding process should be clear by now, but what about the best practices? 

Here are the best tips to impress new users with your onboarding strategy:

1. Analyze the user journey

You probably have a lot of customers already, so you might as well start by analyzing the average user journey. How do they interact with your product? What are the key features for new users? 

By mapping out the steps that a user will take from first contact to becoming a loyal customer, you can ensure that each stage of the experience is smooth and intuitive. User testing results in a better user experience, successful onboarding, and a prolonged customer lifecycle.

2. Make it a cross-team project

If you want to design a smooth onboarding flow that meets the needs of new users, you must make it a cross-team project. The entire user onboarding process requires input from multiple teams, including those responsible for product design, user experience, sales, marketing, and customer support.

Only by working together can these teams create an onboarding flow that will flatten the learning curve. That way, you will deliver great user onboarding experiences and help new clients get the most out of your product.

3. Segmentation is a big deal

You don’t truly understand user onboarding if you don’t realize the power of audience segmentation. According to the report, marketing to specific audience personas generates two times the sales pipeline. But what does it mean in terms of the user onboarding process?

It means avoiding generic messages and focusing on features that matter to the specific group of new users. After all, you don’t expect sales managers to be interested in customer support tips and tricks, do you? 

The bottom line is that segmentation represents an essential part of the onboarding flow as it helps businesses to better understand, serve, and convert their customers.

4. Be clear and direct

New users expect you to be as straightforward as possible. If the instructions are clear and direct, it’s easy to get up and running quickly. But if the onboarding flow is confusing or convoluted, it can be enough to drive users away for good. That’s why it’s so important for developers to take the time to create concise user onboarding instructions. 

By keeping things simple and straightforward, new users will have a positive experience from the very beginning, so you can maximize the customer lifecycle.

5. Keep it personalized

Surveys reveal that over 70% of customers will only engage with personalized messaging. What does it mean for onboarding new users? 

Simply by including their name, company, or industry in the onboarding process, you can create a more relevant and customized experience that will resonate with the client. Plus, personalization means providing customers with different content based on their needs. 

Personalized content means that you provide the right kind of content to the right client at the right moment. It is how you ensure that everybody gets the information they need without feeling overwhelmed. 

6. Keep improving your user onboarding practices

Last but not least, you must remember to keep improving and adjusting your user onboarding practices. New users can have different demands and expectations, so it’s up to you to tailor the approach for first-time clients. 

The same logic applies to regular users. They also require fresh instructions and user guides, particularly if you keep adding features to the product. 

If you have a new checklist, make sure to point it out. If you add extra commands to the dashboard, why wouldn’t you let the clients know about it? Details like these simplify the customer journey and minimize time to value. 

Mistakes to watch out for

User onboarding is an all-encompassing process, so it can get messy if you don’t pay attention. If you avoid omissions, you can grow retention rates and build an army of loyal customers. 

But you can also jeopardize user experiences if you make one of these mistakes:

Overloading clients with too much information:

The goal of every onboarding experience is to reveal the core value of your product. If you add too many features and elements to the equation, you might as well ruin the onboarding experience. 

Beat around the bush:

Source: iStock

Less is more in user onboarding. Don’t beat around the bush, but rather focus on the most important tools, tips, and features. The simpler you make it, the higher the retention rate. Business or education cartoon showing a man on a blackboard filled with complex equations and symbols. They all equal ‘Keep It Simple.

Not making it intuitive enough:

Human beings learn best by discovering things on their own. That’s why you need to design an intuitive user onboarding strategy. Instead of teaching clients, you should give them an easy way to figure out everything on their own.

Not being available 24/7:

You can craft the finest checklists and user guides, but some clients will still want to talk to you directly. In such circumstances, you must be available around the clock to answer user inquiries. The goal of user onboarding is to be as efficient as possible, so try to avoid these mistakes at all costs. 

How can you improve user onboarding with Eyelet?

The best thing about user onboarding is that you don’t have to do it all by yourself. On the contrary, there are dedicated tools that make it easy to improve product adoption and maximize customer acquisition. 

Here at Eyelet, we help brands like yours improve customer success through effortless user onboarding.


But how exactly do we do that?

We do it by enabling partners to design powerful product tours, walkthroughs, in-app announcements, checklists, and customer success surveys. Our options cover all aspects of onboarding, but we will point out the four major features:

User onboarding tips assist clients in activating the service in record time, reducing the average time to value

On-screen guides help customers operate your task management app or any other software effortlessly, which is the main goal of user onboarding.                                                                                                                                                           

In-app messages and hotspots
make it easy to point out new features in a single onboarding session

Onboarding guides simplify the customer journey and increase user satisfaction


But do you want to know the best thing about Eyelet? It allows you to do all that (and much more) without any coding skills required. 

Try it now to unleash the true potential of user onboarding!


The only way to onboard users successfully is to develop an intuitive onboarding strategy for your SaaS business. Some companies form entire sectors that deal with this issue in particular, but we bet you don’t have enough manpower to do it like that.

And that’s where Eyelet steps in to save your day. Our company has a single purpose—to help you engage new and existing customers without overloading your customer support team. 

On average, Eyelet clients enjoy 70% fewer support tickets and 80% less user churn

If it sounds good enough to you, give it a shot right now!

What is the purpose of user onboarding?

The purpose of onboarding is to assist new users in learning how to use your product or service and to ensure they have a positive experience with it. By providing clear and concise instructions, guided tutorials, and informative videos or articles, you can help beginner-level customers get up to speed quickly and confidently. 

Onboarding can also help reduce customer churn. It does so by ensuring that clients are able to get the most out of your product or service from the start. 

What is onboarding user experience?

Onboarding user experience is the process of orienting and acclimating new users to a product or service. The goal of an onboarding procedure is to minimize frustration and maximize efficiency. 

What is the meaning of onboarding?

Onboarding is the process of engaging potential customers with your product or service. That way, you can convert them into customers who sign up for a premium account. The first step is getting the user to log in, after which you can show this client how to use your product. The ultimate goal is to convert the user into a paying customer.  

What is user onboarding checklist?

A user onboarding checklist is a step-by-step guide that helps first-time customers with product adoption. The checklist includes all the steps and tasks that users need to complete for successful onboarding.