What is Product-led onboarding?

DEFINITION
Product-led onboarding introduces users to features according to their needs and position in the customer journey. This means users are shown features that are best suited for them, rather than trying to familiarize them with everything at once.

đź’ˇUnderstanding product-led onboarding

As the SaaS industry is driven by self-service, it’s tempting for brands to show all their interesting features to new users.  

But if it’s irrelevant to the customers, it only pushes them away. 

The reason: users don’t want to know all about your product—they want to understand how your product can help them solve their core problem.

This is where product-led onboarding comes in.

It allows customers to experience the product in a way that will benefit them the most and use the product to its full potential. 

In the absence of such an experience, churn rates can shoot skywards A large number of signups doesn’t necessarily mean high profits. In fact, it may lead to a greater churn rate.

But you’ll only be able to create this experience when you know who will benefit the most from your product. If you don’t, the next steps won’t work because the product-market fit is not aligned. 

Product-led onboarding ensures that your products attract the right customers. Targeting the wrong customers leads to a whole lot of wastage in terms of the efforts involved. It can also bring about a host of other problems such as constant customer criticism, negligible leads conversion rate, and decreased sales and revenue. Instead of making your product the right fit for seven billion people, it’s better to focus on the people who are in dire need of your product already. 

đź–‹ Takeaway

Product-led onboarding is key to retaining lifelong customers, as the first experience leaves a lasting impact. It allows brands to focus on creating an ideal journey for their target markets, rather than wasting time customizing the product as per the requirements of the masses.


Tell me more

What is product-led onboarding?

Product-led onboarding is the method of onboarding users based on their behavioral, purchase, demographics, and firmographic data. 

It’s a revenue multiplying strategy that aims to attract more customers by giving users a delightful (and personalized) first experience with products.

While PLG businesses focus on the “try before you buy” strategy, product-led onboarding focuses on making that “try” a delightful and memorable experience to convert users into lifelong customers. 

How can product-led onboarding transform your business?

Product-led onboarding has a number of benefits:

  • Reduced churn rate: Churn rate, the number every SaaS company dreads, is significantly reduced when onboarding is done right. If the customer understands your product’s value for them, they’ll keep coming back. 
  • Lifelong customers: Focusing on the right users and making your product work for them will turn leads into lifelong customers for your business. Making your customer’s first experience engaging helps you establish a long-term relationship with them. Satisfied customers also become an advocate for your business and help in further expansion. 
  •  Increased customer activity: When customers know exactly how to use your product to solve their problem, they’ll use it again and again. This is visible in repeat orders and is a crucial aspect of any business, no matter the industry.

How to onboard users successfully?

Humans are skeptical of change. And when it comes to using a new product, it’s even more difficult to get past that skepticism. You need to make that first product experience so impactful that the user doesn’t need any more convincing about the usability of your product. In other words, the product experience should sell the product on its own. 

Here’s how you can go about doing this:

Step 1: Understanding user success

How will your product transform the life of your user? What need or want will your product fulfill? Look at your product experience from the user’s perspective and tailor it accordingly.

For example, if you have a product that helps identify profitable ad keywords for your clients, you’re helping them solve their lead generation problem. Keep the end goal in mind before starting to design your product onboarding process. 

Step 2: Segment and design user journey

Not all users are the same, but some have a few similarities. Identifying the similarities and creating cohorts based on them help you design the user journey in a personalized way. 

How did the lead discover your product? Was it through a Facebook ad or a beginner’s workshop? Focusing on metrics like this will help you cater the onboarding experience to the needs and motivations of the customer.

Step 3: Craft each step carefully

Create each and every step in your product experience with intention. 

Do you think pointing out each and every symbol on your homepage will serve the user or are they easily identifiable on their own? 

Taking your customers through unnecessary steps will only delay their first valuable experience, which can negatively impact conversion rates. The sooner your customer experiences value from your product, the better.  

While the phrase “the first impression is the last impression” isn’t always correct, it’s definitely true when onboarding a new customer. A terrible first experience with your product may turn a potential lifelong customer into a lifelong critic. 

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