Improve your SaaS onboarding process

1. List the first steps on your platform that a user will need to take when signing up.

For example, a standard user might need to create a profile and import their customer contact information.

2. Ask your development team to implement event tracking on the platform that will let you capture user activity.

3. Scan your analytics from the event tracking and mark stages in the onboarding process where users tend to drop off.

Look for drops of 20-30% to know where to address the issue. For example, if you are seeing users dropping out when they need to create a campaign, you need to create better instructional material or UI for that section.

4. Run usability tests for sections with the highest drop-off rate to resolve issues that prevent users from going further.

Ask participants in your test to perform each onboarding task with any instructional material available. Note down participants’ comments and where they are on the platform when they make each comment.

5. Use the insights from your usability tests to improve the onboarding process and UI.

For example, if users are on a form page and are struggling to customize the layout and colors, include microcopy in bold at the top of the page to tell them specifically how to select the colors and layout they want.

6. Create recipient segments for users that signed up for the trial version but did not complete a purchase, and design email campaigns to offer them additional trial time and support to better understand your software.

Send friendly emails and offer to assist them if they have questions regarding the use of the platform.

7. Use your platform analytics to identify user behavior with high-time spent on the page, actions taken, and recurring visits to identify 'aha moments.'

8. Modify your onboarding process to direct the user toward these 'aha moment' pages earlier.

For example, if you notice that users who linked their contacts with an external mailing list app during the trial period were more likely to purchase a subscription, you could lead trial users through the process earlier in their onboarding, so they’re more likely to see its value and sign up.

9. Use qualitative and quantitative research to understand where users are having issues with onboarding and improve those stages using your data.

For example, add in-app surveys for the onboarding steps with the highest drop-off rates, or schedule one-on-one interviews with users who stopped using the product during the free trial, to understand why.