How to create your first user onboarding strategy

Successful customers stay longer, spend more and generate positive word of mouth. They are also much less of a drain on your resources.

Your aim should be to plan the easiest route from discovery to becoming successful, removing roadblocks and providing timely positive encouragement.

User onboarding is a process for increasing the likelihood new users become successful when adopting your product.

In this post I will give you the framework for creating your own user onboarding strategy.

Why does it matter?

A poor onboarding experience makes every part of your company work harder unnecessarily:

  1. Your support team has to spend more time answering basic product queries or misunderstandings, slowing down their response times.
  2. Your marketing team have to spend more acquiring new customers to prevent churn outstripping growth.
  3. Your developers have to fight fires rather than having the time to develop a cohesive platform

Creating a cohesive strategy

The first stage is to audit your existing collateral. What is their purpose and how successful are they? There is a good chance you already have elements of user onboarding dotted around. E.g.

Your objective at this stage is to identify how well they are doing their job and where are the gaps?

There are five stages to consider when putting together your user boarding strategy.

I would recommend getting help from people you know, but who do not have the same intimate levels of knowledge about your website as you do.

This fresh perspective will help you to see how new prospects interact with your product, from website to usage, highlighting road blocks and points of friction. Ask them to make notes at each stage of how easy it was to:

a) Progress along the conversion funnel
b) Login
c) Use your product

Once you have created a list of touch points and gaps in your information, you can start developing ideas to increase the likelihood of users’ success.

Getting started

Here are some ideas for each of those stages to help get you started.

Sign up process: Remove friction and simplify

First use of product: Guide them to an important quick win for a positive first step

Recurring use of product: Give them the tools and ideas to become successful

Advanced use of product: Prompt and nudge to turn regular use in to a habit

Userboarding is a really useful framework

A lot of this really falls under common sense, but how much of this do you actually do? User onboarding provides a systematic framework for identifying each stage along a user’s journey with your product, and then working out how to increase success.


Hello! My name is Matt and I have a serious passion for anything marketing related, both academically and professionally. I started writing this blog as a way of expressing my thoughts and opinions on marketing, and in response to the number of theoretical blogs out there that presume unlimited resources. My focus is on providing realistic and practical marketing advice you can apply to any business and campaign.

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