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What Exactly is Software Product Onboarding and Why Should You Care?

In this article, we are looking at what product onboarding is, why it matters, some great examples, and best practices.
User Onboarding
Written by
Selman Gökçe
Published on
February 22, 2023

Product onboarding is where you showcase your product or service to your users or customers. What's next is product onboarding where your audience gets to know your product or service. Throughout the customer journey, you must prove that your product or service is easy to learn and worthy of a purchase. 

When one mentions "Product Onboarding," what I visualize is a movie trailer

It's because they are very much alike. 

Regardless of the fans of the movie, critics, and actors, I tend to watch the trailer before seeing the movie. 

This is due to the fact that I don't want to invest my time in something that won't satisfy me. Thus, I need to watch the trailer to see if it's to my liking or not.

The same goes for product onboarding - you simply cannot take anybody's word for it. 

You have to experience it yourself and decide whether the product or service suits your interests or not. 

Before going in deeper, let's check what product onboarding is. 

What is Product Onboarding?

Product onboarding is where you showcase your product or service to your users or customers.

As a part of the product adoption process, product onboarding displays the product features, shows the audience how to benefit from them, and makes it easier for the audience to get familiar with the product or service.

During this onboarding process, the main purpose is to make sure that your users or customers get to their "Aha!" moment as soon as possible so that they completely know how to make use of your product or service without any problems. 

It would be safe to say that both product onboarding and the whole product adoption process play an important role in the onboarding process. Therefore, it is quite essential to utilize it the right way for a satisfactory onboarding experience.  

Why is Product Onboarding So Important for Software?

Each onboarding process is valuable in terms of being able to change the business for better or worse. So is product onboarding

Therefore, your approach to onboarding definitely matters. 

If you use an advantageous onboarding tool and provide your audience with a successful onboarding program, then it is highly likely that your customers will be happy about one thing: your user onboarding. 

What's next is product onboarding where your audience gets to know your product or service. Throughout the customer journey, you must prove that your product or service is easy to learn and worthy of a purchase

Since customer satisfaction is directly related to churn rates; the higher your churn rate is, the worse your customer satisfaction is. Therefore, you have to deal with customer churn

Though, this is not the case when you ensure customer success. Provided that your users see the value of your product or service, they'll be pleased with the product experience. Thus, churning won't be a problem of yours anymore. 

To sum up, each and every SaaS business should acknowledge user experience's importance as it forms a part of revenue, and improve their product onboarding accordingly. 

3 Great Examples to Product Onboarding

After indicating the importance of product onboarding, we should take a look at some great examples to reinforce the concept. 

1- Typeform

Firstly, Typeform offers an onboarding flow that starts with a welcome modal.  

Then, you face a modal that asks the audience questions to obtain personal information to make the user journey smoother.

At this stage, it displays your progress in the right corner below. Also, it makes the process convenient by letting you go back to the questions you've already answered.

After answering these questions in regards to your company and company needs, the end of the user segmentation form appears. 

It directly takes you to the main page where you choose a template and name your file.

Right after you name your file, the product tour, which is an interactive walkthrough, starts. It skips the first step; thus, the step you see at the beginning is the second one. A tooltip explains what the step requires as a hotspot that points you in the right direction accompanies it throughout the entire process. 

After helping you add a question type, it offers a preview for both mobile and desktop versions. 

Once you check both, a hotspot emerges to take you back. 

Now, it's the fourth step with which you make your typeform public and share it with the world. 

Once you click on the button Publish, which is easily seen thanks to the hotspot, it generates a link that you can share online as well. 

Also, you can check how it congratulates you after publishing via a small pop-up and benefits from using a checklist that stays on your screen for a few seconds after each step. 

At the last step, it asks you to take a look at the apps to which you can connect via the hotspot that appears on the Connect section.

After this step, it congratulates you for finishing the tour via a tooltip on the right corner. 

2- Vidyard

Vidyard offers a short yet structured onboarding process. It starts by asking about your plans regarding the use of the product. 

The last step gives the start signal of the product tour and makes you choose between two options about the video you'll record. 

Right away, an empty state in a modal shows up for you to hang in there. 

After landing on the main page, an onboarding checklist comes into sight. Each onboarding task has its respective elements right below, which eases the process. 

After setting up your camera, you can start recording. When you finish recording, a modal shows up to start the product tour.

The place where you can edit the name of the video is focused on while a tooltip emerges to explain the onboarding goal. 

The second step offers you two options for your video's thumbnail status: static and animated. 

The last step includes a hotspot showing you the place where you can share your video after you're done with editing.

Once you are done with the product walkthrough, you can see which tasks are left to do in order to complete user onboarding. 

3- Paperform

Paperform mostly benefits from tooltips throughout the user onboarding process. Also, it puts forward a  memorable onboarding experience for its audience as it contains an interactive product walkthrough.  

After the signup process, it obtains your personal information to make sure you get to go through an outstanding user onboarding experience. 

After obtaining your data, you are directed to the main page, where you'll have many options to choose from. 

Instead of a template, I chose to start from scratch, and a walkthrough start modal emerged immediately. 

The first step is shown on a tooltip, and the place where you get to write "My form" is highlighted. 

The second step requires you to change the form of the text you've just entered via a tooltip. 

Then, it praises you for successfully performing the last two steps. 

After you add the question, it wants you to type your question into the bar.

The next tooltip shows you where to change the type of the question.

Then, an area of tools is highlighted with a tooltip explaining the tools. 

Right after, the Theme section is highlighted with another tooltip describing its function.

The next tooltip highlights the View button and explains its function as well.

Another step of this product walkthrough includes the menu of the page which is highlighted with a tooltip below. 

After you go through this structured onboarding process, this modal, which congratulates you for finishing the tour, appears.

4 Best Practices for Onboarding Users to Your Product

In order to onboard your users to your product successfully, you need to follow some practices. 

1- Introduce a Well-structured Onboarding Process to Your Users

In order to possess the ability to showcase the features of your product and display the value of your product to your audience, you must offer them a great user onboarding experience.

Regardless of your company having an onboarding process already, you should check the whole process in order to see if it fits your users' needs. 

This is due to the fact that as long as your customers are willing to learn about your product or service, they will spend more time using it. Hence, this procedure brings forth a higher "Return on Investment" (ROI). 

2- Make Use of Customer Feedback

Not only do people get to improve themselves after feedback, so do SaaS products. 

Obtaining insights and data from your customers in regards to your product onboarding can help you see the onboarding process from their perspective - which could only prove to be useful for the customer onboarding process. 

By doing so, you'll witness the errors lying within the process and items that are in urgent need of improvement. 

In addition, data and analytics might help you with:

  • evaluating your onboarding process from a different point of view,
  • managing user engagement,
  • obtaining insights on your product design,
  • enhancing and optimizing the onboarding funnel. 

3- Be Mindful of the Users 

Every little creation in today's world is related to humans somehow.

Therefore, it is your duty to think of them while designing your onboarding strategy and choosing a suitable onboarding tool. It would be most beneficial for you to take a step further in terms of providing user value, thus improving the user experience. 

One of the easiest ways to improve user experience is to maintain a user-oriented product onboarding strategy since it helps you in the long run by ensuring a satisfactory practice for your users in terms of onboarding.

Also, it is safe to say that the customers should be the ones running the business during the product experience and its parts, such as product adoption, product design, and product onboarding.

4- Stay at the Top of the Game by Making Changes 

The world never stops spinning, and changes never stop happening. 

What to do in order to keep up with the changes and challenges of the world could be different for each individual, but it is primarily the same for the SaaS businesses: Learn what's changed and find a way to adapt to it

The only way to successfully execute this step is to check what your users' needs, goals, and expectations are when using your product or service and switch the flow of the product onboarding process accordingly. 


As product onboarding and adoption process are two indispensable items for SaaS businesses, you must make great use of them during the onboarding process. 

Promoting the value of your product or service via product onboarding is the ultimate goal for customer success. As long as your audience sees the worth of your product or service, they'll keep using it and even recommend it to other users. 

That's exactly why you should invest in your product onboarding as soon as possible. 



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