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What is onboarding and how to conduct it?


What is onboarding?

Onboarding is a good way to show a person how to use your product. The purpose of onboarding is to involve the user, to make a registered client from an unregistered visitor, and an active and satisfied user from the registered one.

Onboarding literally means involvement, adaptation

For example, a person enters a new cafe, if he is not met by a hostess, he does not know what he needs to do: approach the waiter, sit down at the table or make an order at the checkout. In such a situation, a new visitor may feel stupid, just like a user of a new application or a site visitor.

And at this point you need to give him a hint. This hint will be part of the onboarding process.

If a hostess gives a hint in a restaurant, then one of the onboarding techniques comes to the rescue on the Internet. This can be a welcome tutorial video, a welcome newsletter, an interactive tour, a chatbot, a pop-up text that appears when you hover the cursor over a certain function.

Below we will tell you more about each technique. But first let’s figure out why onboarding is needed.

Why do you need onboarding?

To get more customers and retain existing ones

A new user comes to you to solve a problem. And the sooner he understands how to do it, the more likely he will be satisfied with the service and become your regular customer. To do this, you need an onboarding. Future buyers should see the value of the product from the first steps of the client’s path.

According to a study by Sixteen Ventures, a person who didn’t immediately feel the benefits of the service will leave for competitors within 30-90 days. It won’t be possible to create a first impression a second time.

Onboarding will help to create the right first impression — to immediately show the user the advantages and main functions of the application and make him a satisfied user.

But onboarding doesn’t end with a greeting. Don’t forget about active users. Many of them use one or two functions of the product, but do not study the rest. This means they may miss out on the benefits of the product that would make their work easier, save time and money.

Set up hints to let users know about different features of the service or product.

Onboarding audiences

There are two groups of users who visit the site: those who know what they want to get — motivated. And those who are weakly interested, but they have learned about the product somewhere and are ready to try it.

Each group needs its own approach: it’s important to show the value of the application to the motivated and make the first steps in it as clear as possible, try not to scare off the weakly interested and turn them into motivated ones.

Motivated user

He will need hints and information about hidden functions. But it’s not worth reminding about the basic ones, which he has already figured out, it will only distract.

Weakly interested

It’s important to show why he should stay on the page or download the application — to explain what problem the company solves and why it’s better than competitors.

Before choosing an onboarding technique, clearly define what exactly is needed and can be shown to each audience in your case. And write down the ideas in the table.

Onboarding audiences

  • – Registration forms;
  • – Emails;
  • – Bots;
  • – Tips and interactive tours;
  • – Chat consultant;
  • – Videos.

How to start planning onboarding?

  1. Define your goals

What do you want users to do in your service. How do you want them to do it: via bot, video, hints.

  1. Get to know your customers

Who is she/he?

Often the desired and the real client are different. Understand who your real customer is.

  1. Where did they come from?

It depends on how motivated clients are. For example, targeted and motivated customers already come from Google Ads.

  1. What do they need?

Find out what customers want to solve with your product.

  1. What are the difficulties?

Think about what difficulties clinets may experience when working with the service.

To understand who your client is and what he really wants — ask users what they pay you for, why your product is valuable for them. You can send a questionnaire or a link to it.

Offer something as gratitude for the answers: a gift card, an extension of the trial version or an additional month of a tariff in your application.

How to understand that onboarding works?

Onboarding is a strategy and continuous improvement of the user experience, so it’s important to monitor its effectiveness.

For example, you have an interactive tour: analyze the conversion rate — how many users complete the tour and sort the process by stages. Look at the step at which customers stop watching the tour and think over hypotheses why.

Now think about what needs to be improved in the tour to change the situation.

What data can be measured to evaluate the effectiveness of onboarding:

  • – Conversion to a target action;
  • – User retention;
  • – Outflow of users;
  • – Revenue.


Engage and retain your customers with the help of various onboarding techniques. Measure efficiency and compare what works best in your case. And remember, everything is individual, and if one technique doesn’t work, continue experimenting.

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