You know what’s harder than acquiring SaaS users? Converting those users into paying customers. User onboarding is probably one of the most important pieces when it comes to successfully converting them into a customer. But it also may be the trickiest part to get right.
Depending on the complexity of your app, if your onboarding flow isn’t air-tight you may be exposing leaks where users can easily drop off. When you actually look at the data when this happens it can be extremely frustrating as no business wants to see visitors they’ve worked so hard to acquire abandon their app because of subpar user onboarding.
User onboarding is usually pretty specific to the app in question. That said I’ve identified three tips for successful user onboarding that should work for any SaaS app.
1. Signup Forms Can Look Nice
I get it, it’s just a form. Not to mention it’s where the actual software application starts, meaning modifying the UI is a bit trickier or even out of the question unless you have access to the developers.
But you have to understand the user’s point of view. They come to your website and are impressed by the beautiful UI, the detailed copy, and the helpful data points. Then they attempt to sign up and are confronted with a long form (more on that below) on an empty page that doesn’t match the pages they were just viewing. If it weren’t for the logo, how would you even know what service you were signing up for?
The signup form is arguably the first step in the user onboarding process and is one of the last steps you have to dispel any objections a user may have. This is where you can include bullet points about the support you provide or how long the trial is or reinforce “no credit card required” statements.
I have a software engineering background, and I know how annoying it is to modify your app to fit the ever-changing requests of marketers, customer experience managers, product managers, or anyone else who’s NOT a developer. But it’s very important to make your non-developer voice heard! It’s simply not good enough to allow your user onboarding to drop the ball where it counts the most.
Now about the actual form fields. Please, please, please, keep them to a minimum and only collect the data that is necessary. You can easily gather other information within your user onboarding flow as long as it is nicely integrated while keeping your actual signup form concise. When you ask for too much information up-front, you risk visitors abandoning your signup form over objections to providing what they may consider personal information and out of sheer laziness.
2. Get To The Point, Quickly
Okay, so they have completed the short and beautiful signup form and are ready to jump in to using your software. Unfortunately, they’re at step 7 of 10 and their patience is running a bit thin.
Guiding new users along a determined path before using your app is oftentimes crucial, but attention must be paid to ensuring that this path is as short (and effective) as possible. There should also be a clear indication to the user how long the initial setup process will take, typically in the form of displaying what step in the process they are currently in.
The basic idea is to allow users to start using your app as soon as possible. Your marketing efforts, sales pitches, landing pages, and ads finally got them to sign up, so keep the train running smoothly with a short and sweet user onboarding process.
3. After They Sign Up, Talk To Them
This is usually where good things can happen. Instead of assuming your new user will eventually navigate their way to providing their credit card info, you need to take proactive steps by engaging with them after their initial onboarding.
Common approaches to this include sending a personalized automated email at some point after they initially sign up. This email is a great place where you can quickly talk about product features or better yet, request user feedback with a survey.
Let’s be honest, sometimes we really don’t know why one user decides to become a customer while another does not. It could be luck or it could be something that is more within your control. The only way of attempting to find that answer is to ask your users directly. Linking to a short (1-2 question) survey within your onboarding emails or embedded on your website or within your mobile app is a great way in finding that answer.
Always Look For Areas Of Improvement
As mentioned earlier, the user onboarding process can vary greatly from app to app. This is why it’s important to fully understand user behavior in your app so that you can have an effective plan to improve your user onboarding.
Hopefully you can at least use and and learn from these three tips to make even minor improvements in your SaaS user onboarding flow. Good luck!