How to Make a Great First Impact With Your User Onboarding


User onboarding is a crucial step in the customer journey. Before customers get acquainted with your product and become loyal, they first need to understand how to use it well.

Considering this is the first encounter users have with your product, you want to provide a memorable user onboarding experience.

However, most product owners tend to overlook this important step. They create an amazing product and don’t take time to create a smooth experience when the users start using the app.

If you don't want to lose the new subscribers you've worked so hard to acquire, then you need to work on your onboarding experience. This article shares the tips you can use to improve your retention rates and drive product success.

Why Is It so Important to Provide a Great User Experience First Up?

The user onboarding experience refers to the feeling a user gets when they use a product for the first time.

According to Attrock's post on ClickFunnels alternatives, once users sign up for a product, it’s important to guide them through the onboarding process in a simple and engaging way.

Else, it often leads to a frustrating user experience which results in apps losing newly acquired customers. A recent CRO audit found that most apps lose 77% of their users in the first 3 days.

By providing your users with helpful information about the product, tutorials to teach them how best to use the product, and prompt support when they are stuck, customers will feel more confident and satisfied about their initial experience with your app.

Such a memorable user onboarding experience will make the users more likely to use your product over the long term, thus improving your SaaS conversion rate and helping you achieve your business goals.

But beyond activation, a memorable user onboarding experience helps with user retention. Once customers know how best to use your product to solve their problems, they are more likely to continue using it over the long term rather than trying out other products in the market.

As such, beginners who have been impressed by your onboarding experience become regulars who use your product often. The regulars who cannot get enough of your product become brand advocates who promote the app to their friends and family.

As you can see, a memorable user onboarding experience is crucial to product success. Let’s now take a look at what you can do to provide a great user experience that will help you with your activation and user retention needs.

5 Tips to Provide a Memorable User Experience

Here are 5 tips to provide a memorable user onboarding experience.

Use Simple Messaging and a Chatbot to Engage Users

Clear messaging is at the heart of a memorable user onboarding experience. You need to communicate the value of your product clearly to help users understand how it works and to get maximum value from it.

The landing page and subsequent resources should be designed to get the users acquainted with your product in the best possible manner.

Slack is one tool that uses clear messaging to provide a memorable user onboarding experience.

After signing up on the platform, the app takes users to the messaging UI and drops them into channels so they can get a feel of the app.

It then uses simple messaging to inform users how to use the app. The image below shows the prompt that appears when users create a workspace and add their first Slack channel.

Image via Slack

Throughout the onboarding exercise, Slack uses a bot (Slackbot) and helpful microcopy to help users understand the basic functions of the app.

Lead with Product Experience

A short signup process is ideal if you want to provide a memorable user onboarding experience. Users will abandon your app if they have to spend a lot of time registering their details and filling in confirmation codes.

To appeal to your users, you can even defer the signup process and jump straight to the product experience.

This can be scary for marketers of products where the onboarding is being done for the free trial.

If your product is good and solves your customers’ needs, users will not shy away from registering for your product so they can access its full features.

Duolingo uses this strategy very well to provide its users with a memorable user onboarding experience. The app’s onboarding flow takes users through a quick translation exercise before they even give their details.

Image via Duolingo

With these exercises, Duolingo can demonstrate how easy it is to use the app to learn a new language.

Unlike other apps that collect user details before delivering the product experience, Duolingo focuses on getting users to the “aha” moment before asking them to sign up.

Take a “Learning by Doing” Approach

The best way to learn is by doing. As such, if you want to provide a memorable user onboarding experience, you should consider taking the “learning by doing” approach.

Grammarly uses this approach to simplify its onboarding and get users comfortable with the app.

Once users sign up on the platform, they are directed to an onboarding demo document that contains hotspots they can explore to learn how to use the app.

Image via Grammarly

This, alongside the onboarding explainer videos, do an excellent job of encouraging self-discovery and educating users about the tool's important features in a controlled setting.

Notable features and suggestions are highlighted with pulsating hotspots to get the attention of users. And when a user corrects the errors highlighted on the document, they gain all the knowledge required to use the tool to improve their writing.

With more than 30 million daily active users, Grammarly is proof enough that taking a “learning by doing” approach is a great way to provide a memorable user onboarding experience.

Use Aha Moments to Increase Signups

Surprise is a powerful emotion that will help you provide a memorable user onboarding experience. When potential customers read about your app on your Google review widget, you want to use surprise to build an emotional connection with them.

To achieve this, get them to perform certain tasks that have impressive results when they land on your onboarding page. You can even use animations to congratulate them when they complete the tasks.

Such playful tactics will help you make an emotional connection with your prospects and get them to sign up on your app to enjoy all the features.

Understand Your Users

For all these strategies to work, you need to ensure your onboarding exercise is tailored to your users. Without a clear understanding of what your users want, you will not know how to create experiences that motivate them to use and retain the app.

That’s why it’s important to take time to understand your users before setting your onboarding exercise.

How old are your target users? Which type of content do they enjoy? How do they like learning about new stuff?

The answers to these questions will help you provide a memorable user onboarding experience that drives activation and retention.

For example, if you are targeting young people, you will realize that they don't like filling out long forms when signing up for a product. This information will empower you to simplify your onboarding process into a few simple steps.

You could, for instance, go for multi-page forms while onboarding customers to customize the app experience for them.


User onboarding plays an important role in the success of a product.

By focusing on providing value early on and using simple messaging to engage customers, you’ll be able to provide a memorable user onboarding experience.

Make sure you customize the product experience from the get-go, give your customers a “learning by doing” experience, and create “aha! moments” to make the onboarding even more enriching. Finally, understand your customers well to personalize the onboarding process to their needs for best results.


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