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Avoiding the biggest onboarding mistakes.

Updated: Jul 16, 2023

Optimizing your product's onboarding flow and maximizing the value for new users is crucial for product-led growth.

We're going to teach you how to get new users to see the value of your product as fast as possible by creating a powerful product-led onboarding experience.

Why is this important?

You’ll be able to reduce the churn rate of your new users, increase the lifetime value of your customers and create a self-sustaining growth engine for your business.

Unfortunately, many SaaS businesses struggle to onboard new users effectively. Here are some of the reasons why:

  • Insufficient support and training resources

  • Inadequate product activation strategies

  • Poor conversion optimization practices

  • Complex and confusing user interface

  • Lack of clear value proposition

Don’t worry, though. We’re going to show you how to overcome these challenges and create a successful product-led onboarding process.

Let's dive in!

Step 1: Clearly Communicate Your Value Proposition

The journey begins with the very first interaction a potential user has with your brand - whether that's seeing an ad, visiting your website, or hearing about you from a friend.

As product builders and marketers, it's crucial to keep this in mind and guide the user toward the problems your product solves for them and how it provides value to their life or business as early as possible.

Your homepage and messaging should prove to people that you understand what they’re looking for and know exactly how your product can help.

Where onboarding actually starts

Step 2: Streamline Your User Interface

Many SaaS businesses make the mistake of designing user interfaces that are too complex and confusing. This makes it difficult for new users to understand the product’s functionality and how it can benefit them.

Don't fall into this trap. Make your users' lives as easy as possible and build the steps to their success.

Focus on creating a clean and intuitive user interface that guides new users through the key flows, features and benefits of your product.

Aha moment

  1. Grab your users attention.

  2. Make their life easier.

  3. Give them a quick win.

  4. Continue adding value.

Try dabbling with some of these:

  • Personalized Product Tours

  • Ready-Made Templates

  • Welcome Messages

  • Empty States

  • Checklists

  • Tooltips

Without the appropriate onboarding steps, your users will be left thinking “Huh?” instead of "Aha!"

Step 3: Solve Problems, Don't Push Feature Adoption

99% of SaaS products make this mistake when designing their onboarding journey.

They focus too much on features without highlighting how their product solves a user’s problem or provides value.

The result?

Users don’t know why they should care about your product.

What onboarding should look like

The key to successful onboarding is defining a goal.

You can’t skip this step.

You need to have a clear idea of what you want the user to do and experience in order to find value in your product.

How do you define that goal?

  1. Map out your user personas and their pain points.

  2. Identify how your product can help them.

  3. Build the steps towards that solution.

  4. Cut away the rest of the noise.

Solving their problem is the goal. The solution is your product’s value proposition.

They’re NOT here to learn about your product.

They DON’T care about your product’s top features.

They ONLY care about how your product can solve their problems.

New users are evaluating your product.

❌ So don’t show them every feature you’ve got.


✅ Guide them through a realistic flow and give them an experience of how they would solve their problem using your product. Get them to activate.

Getting users to activate

Step 4: Provide Self-Service Support and Training

Self-service support and training resources are critical for product-led growth because they enable new users to try and buy your product without having to talk to a sales rep.

Make sure you have a comprehensive knowledge base, FAQs, and video tutorials available for new users.

You can also use chatbots and in-app messaging to provide real-time support and answer any questions they might have.

Step 5: Run Experiments to Improve Product Activation

Finally, it's important to continuously run experiments to improve product activation and conversion rates. This includes testing different onboarding flows, pricing models, and product features.

Don't forget to measure your results to understand what works and continuously optimize for maximum impact.

Here are some great examples of metrics to track the success of your onboarding flow. (Link to Priya Bhatia's full article below):

Product-led onboarding flow

By continuously measuring and optimizing your product-led onboarding process, you'll be able to increase the number of users who see value in your product and convert into paying customers.

This will create a self-sustaining growth engine for your business and help you achieve long-term success.


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