The Ultimate Guide to Product Onboarding for SaaS Companies [+Templates & Checklist]

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In this blog, you learn about creating a detailed product onboarding process to help you build a large active customer base.

If paying customers stop paying for your product, it could be for so many reasons, but one is they went through a poor onboarding process. It’s reported that 52% of customers quit using a product within 90 days of purchase because of poor engagement, customer service, and onboarding.

What Is Product Onboarding?

In simple terms, product onboarding introduces users or customers to a new product and guides them on using it for the first time. Product onboarding is done with a goal in mind; for the users, it helps them see the value of a product and learn how to use it without encountering any problems.

While, for the business/company, good product onboarding makes the users active and paying customers and, in turn, improves revenue and lowers the cost it takes to acquire customers for the company. 

But more so, in-depth, it involves using documentation, in-product features, educational content, and support services to explain a product’s value proposition and core functionality to a user or customer. So they can understand the product and its features and use it. The product onboarding process involves introducing the user to the product to the user adopting it. 

Why Is Product Onboarding Important?

Product onboarding is important for a business/company offering the product. It’s a crucial stage in the customer journey because the user is likely to adopt the product and be an active user over time, gaining a large user base and paying customers. Overall, listed below are major reasons why product onboarding is important: 

1. It creates a Good First Impression and Makes the Customer Engaged with the Product & Brand

When customers sign up for your new product and start using it, they encounter a bad user experience, confusing instructions, or unresponsive support. The user might feel annoyed. On the other hand, if they have a great user experience, they would have a good first impression of the product and would want to come back – leading to customer retention. 

All the more reason a seamless and engaging onboarding experience is important in building trust and rapport with new customers, keeping them engaged with not just the product but the brand. 

2. It Accelerates Time-To-Value 

Time-to-value (TTV) is a metric to measure how customers start deriving value and benefit from a product after their initial experience and interaction with a company. 

Customer onboarding can speed up TTV. This is done by ensuring a smooth user experience. During this period, a customer transitions from using the product for the first time to when they start realizing value. By speeding up TTV, with a good onboarding process, businesses can increase customer satisfaction, which is good for the business. 

3. It Increases The Customer’s Lifetime Value

Customer Lifetime Value is the revenue a business gets from a customer throughout the time a user is an active customer. It’s known that acquiring new customers costs more money and time than retaining them. It’s the reason why brands must increase the lifetime value of existing customers. When an effective onboarding process is carried out, it drives company growth in terms of profit and revenue. 

4. It Improves Marketing 

When users have a great onboarding process, they are likely going to tell their family and friends about it. This is the best form of marketing because it’s free and has a very high conversion rate. A study by Nielsen found that above 92 percent of people trust brand recommendations from people, and they are likely to inquire about the brand themselves.

Product Onboarding vs. User Onboarding

Product Onboarding User Onboarding 
Product onboarding involves educating users on how the product works and how to use it. For example, Canva uses gamified onboarding screens to present new users with a welcome survey. Asking them what they are using Canva for. Identifying the user persona.User onboarding involves the user interacting with the product, and it encompasses the user’s overall experience when interacting with the application.Duolingo allows users to use the product for them to experience value. Then, later, prompts users to sign up to keep using the tool.
Product onboarding is the process of having systems to assist users in learning about a product during the early stages of a customer’s journey.Ahrefs registration page has valuable resources for users to learn about the product, so they ensure they make the right purchase decision.User onboarding is when users adopt systems set to learn about a product. As it deals with the experience with the product.For example, ShippingEasy uses in-app guides that help users complete the most important tasks in their app.
Product onboarding is a process set up to know why users sign up to use a product and educate them on how to use it.For example, HubSpot collects user data, like the company you work for and your position, to learn about the user and offer a personal onboarding experience.User Onboarding is the process of radically increasing the likelihood a new user adopts and uses a product frequently.Apple encourages new users to test out its Apple Music product with a three-month free trial period. So, users can learn more about the product and recognize its value.
Product Onboarding vs. User Onboarding

Important Elements To Build Your Onboarding Process

1. Use a Product Onboarding Checklist

Create a checklist of priorities for your onboarding team. Priorities include product features that users must learn about in the onboarding experience, how you plan on helping users while onboarding them, and what mediums you wish to use to make learning easier for users – whether you choose to offer a mix of hands-on, live, and self-directed customer training.

Faqprime’s tasklist feature

2. Give Users a Product Tour to Guide Them 

Product guides are essential because users get to know more about your product, especially the essential stuff, without hassles. Product tours are for guiding users on how to use the product, which is why they are important, most especially. They should be simple to grasp and not overwhelming. 

For best practices, it should be a step-by-step guide, which shows them all the essential parts of your product. If it’s hard to understand, first-time users might not see the value in your product because they might skip the guide and not have an insight as to how the product is. 

Faqprime’s product tour feature

3. Create a Knowledge Base For Customers Who Encounter Problems Using Your Product 

Whenever users encounter problems during an onboarding process, they should be able to solve them. This can be done if you have a knowledge base, which includes how-to videos, step-by-step guides, FAQs, and detailed articles. 

Faqprime’s knowledgebase

4. In-App Training

Faqprime’s in-app training is another feature that helps you learn how to use the product while you’re actually using it. It provides real-time training within the application. This means you can learn by doing, which is more effective. The training uses different methods like walkthroughs and tooltips to explain things in a simple way. It can also be personalized based on your usage patterns, making the training more relevant and useful to you.

Faqprime’s in-app training feature

3 Stages of the Product Onboarding Process

Primary Onboarding

The primary onboarding process is when a user signs up for your product. The goal of your primary ‘new user’ onboarding is to get the user to have an ‘AHA Moment.’ Then the user first sees the value of what you are offering but has not yet experienced it. 

Secondary Onboarding

The secondary onboarding process is about making sure new users understand how to use your product and ensuring they have valuable experience. Also, during the secondary onboarding process, you show users how to explore the product to understand its features.

Tertiary Onboarding

This is the last stage of the onboarding process. At this stage, users get value from the app and become active users. In turn, they may use the product and all of its features without problems. Some customers become power users and even spread the word about your product’s greatness. 

How To Create a Successful Product Onboarding Strategy

There are strategies to follow when creating a successful product onboarding process, listed below are some of the basic steps to follow: 

1. Create an Easy Registration Process 

Your registration process should have things like screenshots with the product’s feature descriptions and a simple bulleted list to make the process more seamless. Also, to offer a great user experience when the customer onboards, if users register to start the process, request information about the user’s goals and pain points. To get an idea of how the customer would want their onboarding process to be and offer them a personalized experience. 

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2. Define Your Target Audience

First things first, understand the people who you are creating an onboarding process for. Also, understand their pain points, goals, and what they intend to accomplish with the product. When you get the information listed above, then, create user personas that represent different segments of your target audience, with each segment of your audience having similar goals, backgrounds, and challenges. 

3. Define User Pain Points For Each Personality Type

For every persona you create, every user in that group has a reason for using your product to meet a particular need or want. This means that for every persona, each user would engage with your product features. 

For users to engage in a fully completed onboarding process, you need to offer personalized features and touchpoints – welcome email, kick-off call, progress features, training session, launch email, and review meeting – to users that would normally engage with, need, or want it, for them to meet their needs and wants. 

4. Map The Customer Journey

After you have identified customer touchpoints for each persona, you can then map the customer journey – a visual representation of a customer’s first few experiences with a product. Why? So you determine ways to improve the customer experience while they are onboard. 

To create your customer journey map, you must first figure out the user’s touchpoints, emotions, milestones, pain points, and solutions that help boost activation in the users’ experience.

5. Send Users A Welcome Email When Onboarding 

Send welcome emails to your users, especially new ones, so they get the right information about your product. That way, they know what to expect. In your email, also include links to valuable resources, FAQs, tutorial videos, etc, to help users learn more about using the product and get help when they need it. 

6. Assemble the right team 

To get the most out of your product onboarding process, bring together a team of product experts to design a successful onboarding experience. Your team should consist of people in product management and marketing. To explain the product features effectively and create content that users can resonate with. 

7. Pick the Right Tool For Onboarding

For in-app product tours:

  • Pendo
  • Faqprime
  • WalkMe
  • Whatfix
  • Intercom

For onboarding emails:

  • Drip
  • Hotjar
  • Looms
  • Appcues
  • MailerLite

For knowledge bases:

  • Faqprime
  • Notion
  • Guru
  • Document360
  • Zoho Desk

8. Analyze and Iterate

If you want to improve your onboarding process, you need to constantly analyze your customer journeys and always try different versions of your onboarding process. 

The analytics you can track are user engagement, customer satisfaction, and customer loyalty data.

Product Onboarding Template and Checklist

1. Activation Playtime-tracking Onboarding Template

An activation playbook is a comprehensive framework outlining the stages of the onboarding process, the goals to achieve as users onboard, and the strategies to get users to reach the milestone. Below is a typical activation playbook customer onboarding template:

Outcome: Lead users to activate their accounts, i.e., they engage with the product and its core features. 

Taks(milestone): Engage with three features in-app

Entry point(milestone): The user signs up with an email

Entry point(milestone): The user activates the account 

2. Template For Welcoming New Users

A template for welcoming new users includes information about the product or service, how it can solve their problem, and how to use it. It can also include a personalized note and contact of the company. A template for welcoming new users should be very simple. Below is an example:

Welcome [customer name] 

What are your goals when using our product? 

Reach new customers 

Create personalized marketing campaigns 

3. Onboarding Checklists Template For New Users

It’s a template for new users to help them understand what is expected of them to gain value for using the product. An onboarding checklist template for new users can include:

Create an account 

🔲 Add two friends 

🔲 Follow five popular pages

4. Onboarding Gamification Template

This involves using game features in the onboarding process so users can complete tasks in a fun and engaging way. For example, offering users redeemable points or rewards for completing a task.


Congratulations,[customer name], for completing two new tasks. You’ve received 2 points!

5. Onboarding email sequence template

Onboarding email sequence templates are for giving the user more insights on how to use a product. For example:

Hi [customer name], 

Thanks for using our product for creating your first marketing [task] and taking a step to becoming a better marketer. Writing a campaign copy is cool, but what if it’s more engaging and can attract more leads, plus more? You can use our AI writing tool to make your copies more engaging and effective. Here is how.

6. Survey template to understand customer satisfaction

This template consists of triggering surveys after users engage with a first feature, reaching activation, or converting to a paid account. An example is:


Thanks for subscribing to our monthly plan. On a scale of 1-5, please rate the payment process. 

🔲 1 

🔲 2 

🔲 3 

🔲 4 

🔲 5

7. Onboarding template to trigger upgrades

An upgrade template can be shown when the customer needs to complete a specific action, but when the user needs an upgrade to act fully and well. 

Hi [customer name], to perform this [task] and get the most out of our [product], you need to upgrade your subscription for $300 a month. 

8. New feature announcement customer onboarding template

This template is for informing customers of new features and how to use them after product updates. a typical example is: 

Hi [customer name]

Introducing our new feature; AI writing Assistant for your marketing copies

With our new AI writing assistant[feature], transform your copies in a way that’s engaging, informative, assertive, and more. Make the most of your copies. 

Try now. 

9. Free trial email template to drive conversions

A free trial template allows users to try out a product as if they paid for it for some time. 

Hi [customer name], 

Thank you for signing up for [product name]. We hope you enjoy making templates daily and being an active user. 

Get the most out of [product name], and create templates[task] that are longer than 1000 words every day. 

Try Premium for 3 months

No credit card is required

10. Offboarding template to reduce customer churn

This is usually sent to users when they quit using your product or a feature in it. Like canceling their subscription. 

Hi [customer name],

We’re sorry to see you go. 

Why did you cancel your premium subscription? 

Please tell us why you left. 

🔲 It’s too expensive 

🔲 I got a better offer 

🔲 I didn’t find it useful

Product Onboarding Checklist

The goal of onboarding is not just to introduce users to your product, but also to demonstrate the value your product can provide them. The quicker you can get them to that “Aha!” moment, the more likely they are to continue using your product.

Here is a quick checklist:

✅ User Registration

  • Simple and intuitive sign-up process
  • Option for social media account integration

✅ Welcome Email

  • Send a personalized welcome email
  • Provide essential information about the product

✅ User Onboarding

  • Interactive product tour or tutorial
  • Highlight key features and how to use them

✅ Customer Support

  • Easy access to support resources (FAQs, live chat, etc.)
  • Provide contact information for further assistance

✅ Knowledge Base

  • Detailed documentation of the product
  • Include video tutorials, if possible

✅ User Engagement

  • Regularly update the product with new features
  • Notify users about updates and how they benefit them

5 Tips/Best Practices For Creating A Product Onboarding

  1. Simplify your sign-up process: The sign-up process should be as simple as possible. For example, asking users for their email and creating a password might be stressful. They can just use a single sign-on to create an account. For example, signing in with their Facebook or Google account.
  2. Guide users with interactive walkthroughs: This can include in-app guidance that can help users use the app effectively. Guide users step-by-step with progressive onboarding and avoid overwhelming users with the information they won’t and can not retain in a go. 
  3. Engage with an onboarding checklist: You can add an onboarding checklist for users to complete, which includes core features of the app. These can be tasks they need to complete so they can engage with the product and reach the activation stage faster. 
  4. Personalize the experience: create a personalized onboarding process that fits different segments of your user base. This makes the process smooth and easy for users. To create a personalized experience for the user, you can use a welcome survey to gather information like the user’s industry, role in their organization, and the main motivation for using your product. 
  5. Provide an in-app resource center: This is important for users who need quick help so they won’t quit the process and, worse, quit using the product. The resource center can include a FAQ page, a how-to page, and training videos. Also, you can collect surveys on why users skip their onboarding process to create a better process. 

SaaS Product Onboarding Examples 

There are lots of product onboarding tools to create a successful onboarding experience.

1. Userpilot

Userpilot is a platform for product growth, specifically for increasing user adoption, feature discovery, and in-app engagement. It has features for:

  • User onboarding
  • Product analytics
  • User Feedback

Currently, Userpilot only supports in-app onboarding tools and isn’t compatible with mobile phones. 

2. Faqprime

Faqprime is a platform for delivering personalized product education. Its software is integrated with YouTube, Vimeo, Loom, Vidyard, Daily Motion, and Amazon S3. Also, as an important onboarding tool, it streamlines every aspect of a customer journey, from onboarding, engagement, and support. Some of its features include:

  • In-app contextual help
  • Pop-ups
  • NPS, Surveys & Feedback
  • Knowledge Base

3. UserGuiding

UserGuiding is a no-code tool to create in-app walkthroughs, guides, and checklists. It is primarily to onboard, engage, and retain users. Non-programmers can use the tool without coding. One con of this tool is that it has limited analytics, as the analytics dashboard only has elements that you’ve created within the platform. 

4. Pendo is a platform for product experience. Its basic features include analytics, in-app guidance, and feedback. Based on the review, some users have found customization to be a difficult task. Because you have to understand programming languages HTML/CSS. 

5. Help Hero

HelpHero is a tool for non-coders and others alike for creating product tours that help users learn about a product and have a good user experience. With it, you can build personalized and interactive product tools. Although it has limited customization options. 

Click here for more user onboarding examples.

Many businesses favor Faqprime for onboarding because it personalizes the onboarding process for each user. Many follow this onboarding strategy for its effectiveness – it caters to the needs of every unique user, enabling them to use the product effectively.

How do you measure product onboarding success?

A great and successful onboarding experience is measured by tracking the right onboarding KPIs and metrics. 

Here are key onboarding metrics and KPIs to measure success: 

1. Retention rate

Retention rate is the number of users in percentage, who find your product valuable and use the product for a given period. Its formula is


You should use the retention rate metric to determine users who haven’t quit using the product and also determine what feature in the product makes them use the product well enough. To have a good retention rate, you should focus on improving the short-term retention rate, which could be within the first week or month of the onboarding process. 

2. Engagement rate

The engagement rate is the percentage of users in a group who use your product consistently and engage with its features.


You should measure your engagement by day, week, or month so you get an overview of how your product is creating loyal users over time.

3. Free trial conversion rate

The free trial conversion rate is the percentage of free trial users who turn to paid users during their trial.


If you don’t have the desired free conversion rate, then your onboarding flow should tell and prove to customers the value of your product’s paid offerings. Things you could do are change the trial period and improve your in-app messaging to boost engagement.

4. Completion rate

The completion rate is the percentage of users who finish your onboarding.


If users are not completing your onboarding process, then find spots in your boarding process and make changes.   

5. Time to value (TTV)

Time to value is how long it takes for users to start an onboarding to get value from your product.


When calculating the time it takes for users to get the value for your product, it could be measured in minutes, screens, clicks, etc. 

6. Feature adoption rate

Feature adoption rate measures the percentage of total users who are using a feature regularly. 


X times can be once a day, week, and month.  If your feature adoption rate is low, then include important features in your onboarding flow.

7. Activation rate

The activation rate measures the percentage of your users who get the activation points you’ve chosen as key indicators for long-term retention. 


Every product is meant to have unique activation events that show users the value of your product. An activation event is an aha moment, which shows users the products’ promised value. 

Product Onboarding FAQs

1. What Is Another Word for Onboarding Customers?

User adoption is another word to refer to as user onboarding. It’s how users adopt a product or service and commit to using it.

2. What should be the ultimate goal of the onboarding process of your product?

The goal of a product onboarding process is to help users realize the value of your product so they can continue using it. By making known to customers the key features and capabilities the product has to offer.

3. What Is Onboarding Analytics?

Customer onboarding analytics is measuring and analyzing how good the effectiveness of an onboarding experience is for new users of a product. 

4. What Is the Core Objective of User Onboarding?

The goal of user onboarding is to increase the number of users who reach activation as much as possible. so defining what your activation means for your product is an important first step to take when creating your onboarding process. 

5. What Is Saas Onboarding Completion Rate?

The completion rate measures how many customers completed the onboarding process during a specific period. The completion rate calculation is dividing the total number of onboarded users during the period by the number of customers who finished all onboarding materials.

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