SaaS User Onboarding: How To Drive Activation & Retention

Learn how to boost user activation and retention for your SaaS business with effective onboarding strategies. Discover the importance of valuable resources, tutorials, and documentation, along with a tool like Folge for creating step-by-step guides. Improve user experience and unlock your SaaS solution's true potential.

July 30, 2023 - Oleksii Sribnyi


SaaS user onboarding strategies can make or break user activation and retention.

If you are trying to build up the value of a SaaS business, the last thing you want is for your user base to resemble a leaking bucket.

Sure, user churn is a natural part of any subscription-based business. However, if you are consistently haemorrhaging users, developing effective user onboarding is the best way to support user retention and provide users with what they need to unlock the value proposition.

Any effective SaaS user onboarding strategy is built on useful resources.

From tutorials to documentation, the right resources can drive user activation and enable users to fully explore the potential of your SaaS solution.

Folge is a great example of a tool that enables SaaS teams to develop useful step-by-step guides and tutorials with screenshots.

We’ll tell you more about Folge later, but first, let’s take a step and consider what SaaS user onboarding is and how it’s typically structured.

What Is SaaS User Onboarding?

User onboarding is an essential facet of the SaaS user experience, warranting careful attention from SaaS founders.

SaaS user onboarding involves a carefully curated process designed to guide new users in their exploration of your SaaS product, from their initial encounter and signup to continued usage.

There are two core aims to this process: firstly, to help users understand the features and navigational aspects of your software, and secondly, to accentuate the benefits that make your truly product indispensable.

In other words, the user onboarding process should equip users with a solid understanding of your SaaS product and how to begin unlocking value from it.

With just a few useful resources, you can transform newbies from novices to adept users.

Why Does SaaS User Onboarding Matter?

The significance of SaaS user onboarding stretches far beyond an introductory process.

It plays a pivotal role in the ultimate success of your product by influencing user engagement, retention, and overall satisfaction.

If your SaaS business is suffering from high churn, a VC will likely tell you to look at your user onboarding processes.

Promote User Activation

A well-implemented onboarding process serves as the catalyst for user activation.

By seamlessly guiding users through your software and showcasing its value proposition, you enhance the likelihood of users transitioning from sporadic engagement to regular usage.

Promote User Activation

Comprehension breeds comfort, and users who are comfortable navigating and extracting value from your SaaS solution are less likely to abandon it.

A purposefully-structured onboarding process that educates users about the tool’s features and its value can greatly enhance user retention, driving sustained usage over the long term.

Here’s an analogy for you to consider:

Imagine your SaaS tool is like a theme park. Once visitors pay for their tickets and enter through the gates, the first thing they will want to do is look at a map to understand where all the main attractions are and how they can have the best experience possible.

The onboarding processes for your SaaS should enable users to navigate through the tool with ease and immediately start unlocking value.

Onboarding SaaS Users: Best Strategies

Crafting a robust onboarding strategy is not a one-size-fits-all task; it requires a blend of various tactics tailored to your users and your product.

After all, SaaS tools have unique features that are leveraged in different ways to unlock value.

Here are two essential strategies for onboarding SaaS users:

Provide Useful Tutorials & Guides

Interactive tutorials and step-by-step guides can ensure new users hit the ground running with your SaaS tool.

These resources provide a hands-on approach to learning that enables users to grasp the functionalities of your product without delay.

I recommend using a solution like Folge to kickstart the tutorial/guide creation process.

Folge is a free desktop tool designed to create, manage, and share processes and knowledge.

This tool allows you to capture workflows, customize each step with details, and then export your guide in seven different formats to share with your users.

Folge's intuitive and secure solution makes creating tutorials a breeze, empowering users to learn at their own pace.

Folge is a perfect tool for creating guides, training manuals and documentation.

Offer A User Onboarding Call

Pre-made tutorials and guides form the foundation of an effective onboarding process, but complementing them with a personalized user onboarding call can significantly enhance user understanding and engagement.

Nothing beats having the ability to ask questions directly to a human and receiving nuanced answers that account for the user’s specific use cases.

These calls provide an opportunity for users to voice their queries and receive personalized help, fostering a sense of trust and connection while speeding up their learning process.

If you can develop these relationships from the outset, this may help you to prevent churn further down the line.

SaaS User Onboarding Checklist

An effective SaaS user onboarding process is characterized by a blend of strategic planning, personalized engagement, and continuous optimization.

Here's a clear checklist to guide your onboarding process:

  1. Welcome the user warmly and provide a clear roadmap of the onboarding process.
  2. Early on, demonstrate the value that your software brings to the user.
  3. Develop interactive tutorials and guides using tools like Folge for a hands-on learning experience.
  4. Offer personalized assistance through an onboarding call.
  5. Align your onboarding strategy with sales to ensure consistency in user experience.
  6. Incorporate customer success modules into your sales training to emphasize the importance of onboarding.
  7. Conduct detailed research on your customer base to tailor your onboarding process to their needs.
  8. Engage with prospects before they sign up to gauge their needs and expectations.
  9. Dedicate specific times in your teams' schedules for 'New Customer Welcome Time' to make new users feel valued.
  10. Maintain an open line of communication, being readily available to assist the customer.
  11. Strive to deliver value quickly to maintain user interest and engagement.
  12. Continually follow up with users to ascertain their progress and to extend support if needed.
  13. Track user engagement metrics and leverage these insights for continuous improvement of the onboarding process.

How Can I Improve My Onboarding In SaaS?

Improving your user onboarding is a continuous process which is underpinned by a deep understanding of your users, a systematic approach to measuring their engagement, and a commitment to making data-driven decisions.

Folge helps you to create detailed, step-by-step guides that can serve as comprehensive manuals for users. With multi-language support and compatibility with both Mac and Windows platforms, Folge serves as a versatile tool to cater to a diverse user base.

The key to a successful onboarding process lies in maintaining a user-centric approach.

Always consider the needs, preferences, and feedback of your users when developing your user onboarding process.

This will enable you to create an onboarding experience that resonates with users, fostering engagement and loyalty.

You can download Folge for free today and start using Folge for your user onboarding documentation.

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