This whole article could have been a tweet.
It could have even been an Instagram post, and it would still convey all the information I needed to deliver.
Are you ready?
Here it goes:
When should you start working on the onboarding experience?
Now! Like right this minute. If we are even talking about it, then it’s probably too late.
There! 155 characters, and we can wrap it up. If you need some more convincing, oh boy do I have the article for you.
In fact, here it is. Hit that like button if you want more content like this.
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The best time to focus on the onboarding experience ⌚
It’s usually about the same time you start building the product.
Now before you go get the pitchforks out, I know the product is the most important thing.
The onboarding process is part of the product. You👏 won’t👏 have👏 one👏 without 👏the👏 other.
Before anything else, the user has to get started with your product, and that’s only done through a proper onboarding process.
Think about it for a second. Most SaaS companies get, on average, between 20 to 40 % of signups to activate. If you aren’t familiar with user activation, I’ve got a great link for you.
So even before you can think of converting signup, you have to win the activation battle, which is where, statistically, you lose 2 out of 3 times.
To increase user adoption, you have to build your product with the intention of making it easy for your users to start using it.
Nobody likes signing up for a product and then getting hit in the head with a 10-page manual on how to get started.
You can quote me on that.
Where to start?🤔
It’s not as difficult as it may look. You have to put yourself in the shoes of your customers.
Run the signup route once every week and try to be as critical as possible.
Look for reasons to fail. Poke at it until you break it and then run it back and fix it either in the product or on the onboarding process.
I personally like to use hotjar.com to see how new users use the app for the first couple of times.
You’ll see where people stop, where they go back and forward, and soon understand where your checkpoints are.
The other best thing to do is actually to talk to them and listen. Really listen.
Write down what they think and put it up on a board. If you see the same issue pop up multiple times, then you know it’s no isolated case and that you should intervene.
How to fix bad onboarding? 🛠️
This can vary depending on how complex your tools are and how many products you have to offer. A good rule of thumb is: get the user to the “aha movement” as fast as possible.
What’s the “aha moment” in a SaaS product, you ask? It’s the moment your user realizes the value in your product. More often than not is the solution to the problem you are addressing.
While there’s one universal recipe you can apply to fix your onboarding issues and increase those dreaded adoption rates, I do have some pointers depending on different scenarios.
1) SaaS product offering multiple products
I have worked at this developer tooling SaaS that had multiple products.
The product was great, and they even had an onboarding checklist, but the issue was that every signup was directed through the entire onboarding process.
While most of their users could have all their monitoring products, they were coming in from landing pages that were created for a specific product from their suite.
See the problem?
Imagine having to go through a 4-course meal every time you want dessert. Now you get my point.
The solution to this issue can be solved quite easily with Eyelet.io.
For each product you offer, you create an onboarding guide.
You then pass a URL parameter to the signup page from each product landing page, so when the user lands on the dashboard, it would start seeing the onboarding for the specific solution he was after
This will cut the fat out of the equation allowing your user to get straight to that “aha moment” I’ve been talking about earlier.
It will dramatically increase your chances to have him give your product a fair chance instead of running away scared.
2) SaaS product with the complex onboarding process
A client of ours was in this particular situation.
They had a great product that did one thing in the developer tooling space.
The issue was that the tool had a complicated onboarding process that had the user set up a project in the dashboard, connect to third parties, and then add an agent to their development environment.
Clearly, this can’t be done with a simple onboarding guide. It’s always smart to onboard your user in as few steps as possible.
In this case, we solved the issue with a Checklist
It’s an elegant solution to a complex onboarding solution where you have to split the onboarding into multiple steps.
3) How to handle onboarding on complex products
I know what you are thinking.
What about the other cases left unaddressed?
For those specific scenarios, I recommend using the Bots.
The Eyelet Bots are a great way to customize the onboarding process in the most effective way possible. By asking the customer.
Based on the selected choice, it can launch a different onboarding tool that fits the need of the user.
It’s that easy.
Bots can do a lot more things like segment users, get feedback on the product or fill out a form. But I won’t bore you with those details right now.
It’s not just onboarding 🙋
Successful product adoption goes beyond onboarding.
You need to take care of your current users long after they’ve signed up. Thinks like guides for new features should be on the top of the priority list.
Customer support is another important aspect.
You can replace a lot of the scripts that you answer to customers when they land your tickets with interactive guides that will feel more human and help them fix the problem faster than ever.
How many users should you have before creating an onboarding sequence? 0️⃣
You should have it done before you launch.
There is this pattern I’ve seen where SaaS owners think they have time to fix their onboarding later down the line and instead focus on adding more features, more tools, and more bells, and whistles.
The problem with that is that if you can’t onboard the first dozen users, how are you going to do it for the next 1000?
I could argue that you should invest even more time trying to land those first few users since losing 1 user when you have 10 signups a day is equivalent to losing 10% of your potential customers.
That’s a huge loss!
In conclusion 💫
Onboarding is no longer a luxury only big products can take advantage of. The fact of the matter is that you can’t afford to have the best possible onboarding.
So jump on over to eyelet.io and signup for a free account, and get those first-time users the love and attention they deserve with a fully interactive step-by-step onboarding process.