What Is Product Onboarding? The Answer Might Surprise You

What is product onboarding? If you’re like me, you might have been wondering what product onboarding is and why it’s so important. I’m here to tell you that it’s quite simple and can be a game-changer for your business.

Product onboarding is the process of helping new users understand and use your product. It’s designed to give them the best possible experience with your product from start to finish.

Think about it this way: when you buy a new car, there are usually a few things that happen before you drive off the lot. The salesperson goes over all of the features of the car with you, shows you how everything works and gives you some tips on getting started. They want to make sure that when they hand over those keys, you feel confident driving away in your new ride.

This is similar to what is product onboarding for SaaS products. Let’s dive further.

What Is Product Onboarding?

Product onboarding is the process of helping new users understand and use a product. It usually involves a combination of education and support and can take many different forms depending on the software.

What Is the Goal of Product Onboarding?

Your onboarding process is the foundation of your relationship with your clients.

Customer success isn’t just about making sure customers use the product. It’s also about ensuring they stay around for a long time. A great customer experience during a customer’s first few weeks and months with your company can help ensure they stick with you for the long haul.

The ultimate goal of the onboarding process is to ensure that customers are getting the most out of your product or service. By providing them with a great experience, you can ensure that they will continue to use and pay for what you offer.

The success of a customer’s onboarding experience can be measured by whether the customer logs back into the product in the days after their first usage.

How to Streamline Your Customer Onboarding Process

Building a customer onboarding process from scratch can be a daunting task. However, by answering these questions, you can ensure that you’re covering all your bases.

Once you have your workflows and documents in place, you can onboard customers more efficiently.

1. How Do Customers Buy Your Product?

Do they sign a contract? Do they sign up online? Do they purchase from a retailer? How do they pay you?

Ensure that your customers can pay via credit card, invoice, or other easy-to-track methods.

2. How Does the Customer Receive the Product?

Is your product shipped or downloadable?

Once the payment goes through, customers can begin using the product online, or they can pick up their order themselves.

3. How Will Customers Learn How to Use the Product?

Do your clients need instructions on how to use your product or service? Do they need to read any documentation?

Explain how customers will receive information on how to use the product.

4. How Will the Customer Install the Product?

Do the customers install the product by themselves? Do they need technical assistance?

Your goal is to have a standard installation process.

5. How Will Customers Get Help When Needed?

Do you provide any online support? How will customers contact your support team?

Make sure you’re clear about when customers can reach you and who they can contact.

6. How Does Your Company Handle New Customers?

How will your customer support team know that a new customer has signed up? How will they record that new sale?

Ensure that financial integration leads to revenue collection and that sales and support teams are aware of new customers.

Why the Onboarding Experience is So Important

Showing your users the value of your product or service as soon as possible can greatly decrease the chances that they will churn. The sooner that they see the value, the less likely they are to unsubscribe.

Having a great product isn’t enough — you also need to have a fantastic onboarding process.

An excellent user onboarding experience is so important because it can help SaaS products grow, especially in 2022. Today’s users are used to high levels of user onboarding, and an excellent user onboarding experience can help them get the most out of a product.

A mediocre user experience will cause them to stop using the app and will prevent them from becoming active, engaged users.

An excellent user onboarding experience is so important because it helps users feel valued and receive a good welcome. It also perfectly handles the learning curve, allowing users to explore freely while still learning what they need to know to be proficient with the tool.

All of this will positively impact our customer retention rate, thus lowering our cost of acquisition.

The Customer Onboarding Process: Steps, Best Practices, and Examples

Here are 6 important steps and best practices to ensure onboarding success.

1. The Sign-Up Process

It’s natural to think that the onboarding process begins once your customer has signed up. But we believe that signing up is the very first step of that journey.

Heap surveyed 79 different software-as-a-service (SaaS) companies and discovered that their average conversion for their signup process is 36.2%.

If most users start signing up but do not complete the process, try simplifying your form. This may help increase your conversion rates.

The easier you make it for customers to sign up for your service, the more likely they are to do so. Only request essential information from your customers, and split up long forms over several screens. Also, allowing customers to sign in with a social account (such as Facebook or LinkedIn) can significantly reduce the number of steps needed.

Twilio Sign-Up Page

We like how simple the landing page is. It only takes a few seconds to sign up, and the page is easy to navigate. The bulleted list is also a nice touch, as it reminds potential customers of the benefits they’ll receive.

Trello Sign-Up Page

The bright, cheery colors of the landing page are welcoming. The image isn’t too sales-y and is instead more inviting. The form is quick and easy to complete.

2. The Welcome Email

After a customer has signed up, the next step is to send them a welcome email. This should direct them right back to your software so they can start using it.

After thanking your customer for signing up for your software, share helpful resources and guides to help your customers get started with your platform. The most important part of your onboarding emails is to encourage customers to log in and start using your products. This should be the most emphasized call to action in your onboarding series.

Luminary Welcome Email

Luminary keeps its welcome email short and simple with a prominent call-to-action button to get customers back into the product.

DocSend Welcome Email

The welcome email of docsend.com starts off with a strong call to action that contrasts with the rest of the email. They do a good job of setting expectations by letting customers know that there are three steps they’ll have to take to start using their products. By doing this, they make it very clear how simple and easy it will be to use their services.

3. The Initial Log-In

The first interaction that a user has with your software is when they first log in. You want to make sure they have a good first impression that helps them get set up and get started. A step-by-step walkthrough or setup guide can help them understand and navigate each process.

Make sure your customer knows what to do next. This could be as simple as providing a link to documentation or FAQs, or it could be more proactive, such as inviting them to join a live webinar or schedule a meeting with a success manager.

The bottom line is that you want to make sure your customers have a positive experience from the moment they first log in. By providing a clear path and helping them achieve quick wins, you’ll keep them engaged and coming back for more.

ClearBrain First Log-In

We love how Clearbrain provides a clear overview of their account setup. The call to action text is motivating and guides the user through the setup.

4. The Integration Process

For B2B companies, the onboarding process is more than simply learning to use the product. Your software is now part of their tech stack and it exists in an ecosystem of other programs.

To get the most value out of a product, customers may need to integrate it with other apps, import data from other databases, or allow other people on their team to use it.

To set things up, automate as much of the process as you can. This will remove any potential stumbling blocks that could stop customers from being able to benefit from your tool.

Secondly, don’t make integrations mandatory. Not all of your customers will need this feature, so don’t let it get in the way of them getting started.

Thirdly, offer lots of help. Nothing is more annoying than having to set two things up that just don’t work well together. If you’re not offering a dedicated setup, make it easy for your customer to get in touch with you if they get stuck.

5. The Product Walkthrough

A product walkthrough is a series of steps that guides your customers through setting up and completing core actions within your service.

The best way for your prospects to learn about your product or service is for them to start using it.

A product tour should be tailored to each user, so they can skip the parts they already know and spend more time on the things they don’t. The contact information should also be easy to find in case they need extra help.

6. The Follow-Up Email

Your customer’s user experience shouldn’t end with their first login. That’s why it’s important to keep your users engaged with your platform.

After your introductory message, it’s essential to keep the conversation going with a series of follow-up messages. Provide helpful tips and hints on how to use the product, and encourage them to log in again at a later date. By keeping your customers engaged with your software, you’ll ensure they get the most out of it.

Follow-up emails should be helpful and add value to your customer’s experience. Some tips for writing effective follow-up emails include sharing helpful resources, sending short emails more often, and including social proof in the form of customer quotes or testimonials.

Zapier Follow-Up Email

We like how Zapier uses their follow-up emails to include a video to help their customers get started. We also like how they include links back to their Help Center, just in case a customer needs a little extra assistance. And we also like how their one CTA directs customers to their product.


What is product onboarding? This process helps new users understand and use your product. It’s designed to give them the best possible experience with your product from start to finish. If you’re thinking about product onboarding, it’s important to keep in mind that it can be a game-changer for your business.

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