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August 3, 2022

Your PLG company will NOT grow without an elite onboarding experience. Here’s why

Farhana Rahman
Senior Content Manager

Growth marketing is more about just plain old growth. These days, it is more so about profitability. Granted, there are some who may feel that focusing on profitability equates to acquiring less users. However, as we stated in a previous post, profitability is not the opposite of growth. It is more about thinking more strategically, and building on your budget to match your goals. 

To this you might say, “Well the goal is to get more users!” And hey, that’s great, but this is also where the element of strategy comes into play. I mean, wouldn’t you rather attract users that are less likely to churn? Now I have no doubt that your company is super amazing, and that you and your team know the ins and outs of all it has to offer. But how quickly can your new users grasp the scope of the value that your company has to offer?

My friend. This is exactly why you need to place the onboarding experience front and center. 

The benefits of elite user onboarding

I’m sure you have some kind of user onboarding set in place, but here are some reasons why it really needs to be elite:


It will increase your retention rate

Let’s go back to talking about churn for a sec. Now we know that some of the main reasons for churn include scenarios such as users no longer needing your product, or opting for an alternate option. There is also the possibility of your product not fully meeting their requirements. Your users might even find it challenging to use your product in the first place. That last scenario is totally avoidable, with an elite user onboarding experience. A thorough user onboarding experience can set your entire customer relationship, and also increase your product adoption speed, thereby enhancing user engagement and resulting in customer loyalty. WIN! 🏆🏆🏆

You will see an increase in revenue and LTV

Now what’s the sweet reward of an increase in retention? An increase in revenue, which will naturally compound over time. That makes elite onboarding experience an actual revenue multiplier because the CAC of acquiring new customers is higher than retaining an existing one. By onboarding users properly, you increase their chances of staying loyal to your brand. Naturally, it makes sense to actively guide your users towards greater product adoption until they can’t imagine solving their problem, or simply living their life, without your product. Also, when revenue increases, it enhances your customer’s LTV. And once you have that sweet LTV data, and act on it with a predictive growth platform—the sky's the limit when it comes to sustainable profitability. WIN! 🏆🏆🏆

It’ll spare your customer service team from a lot of heartache

Providing new users with all the info, steps, and guides they need early on will significantly reduce the number of queries your support team receives. By extension, it will also increase the product experience, and the user no longer has to wait for a customer service agent to answer a simple question. WIN! 🏆🏆🏆

Elements you need to consider

Okay, so we established the whole chain reaction that comes from an amazing onboarding experience, now what’s the special formula?

As stated by Toplyne, there are multiple onboarding methods available. These include:

  1. Guided Onboarding - Pop-up tutorials, bots, wizards, persona linked intros
  2. User Welcome - Video tutorials, product tours
  3. Purpose-driven onboarding - Chat windows, tooltips, how-tos, progress bars
  4. Self-service onboarding - Automated knowledge bases, tutorials

There are also some additional elements here that need to be factored.

More/less friction

What do you think? Should your onboarding process have more, or less friction for your new users? I know the instinctive answer may be “less,” but context is key. For a PLG SaaS company, you might need some friction early on, so new users don’t get overwhelmed by a bunch of menus, and a ton of icons. That doesn’t mean the friction needs to be invasive. It needs to provide value. For instance, the point of friction needs to direct users to the next step, add to their experience, and genuinely be delightful. 

For example, Gmail does an excellent job with their guided walkthrough for new users, despite the friction.

On the flip side, PLG subscription, and eCommerce brands in general are better off with less friction. Reducing obstacles makes a great impact on conversion rates. This includes incorporating elements such as one-click registration, and one-click access through social logins. Let’s not forget, users feel friction when they perceive the need of creating yet another password. Eliminating this stress can help your numbers greatly, and it comes with some extra benefits, like more security. And one of our most favorite things—signing in with social media allows you to access certain information gathered in the user’s social account. This way, you can get demographic information which will be very useful for a variety of UA campaigns, without hurting user experience.

Ali Express serves as a great example of a brand that offers new users a ton of options to make onboarding quicker and easier for shoppers.

Progressive user profiling for data enrichment

For many brands, especially DTC’s, it is in the best interest of the company to get to know each customer to offer a more personalized service, and also for internal data enrichment purposes. A good progressive profiling strategy will ensure that you get sweet zero-party data about the user’s interests, while also tailoring their experience accordingly.

Dollar Shave Club is a great example of this dynamic experience.

The dynamic element ticks many boxes, from offering just the right amount of friction, to offering a more personalized and delightful experience, to data enrichment thanks to the input from the forms/surveys.

Don’t forget—you have only one chance to make an impression, and you need to make the best use of it. A great onboarding experience ensures that your customers gain the most value from using your product in an effortless manner, and a smooth onboarding experience is the key to winning customer loyalty. There’s no denying that it has a snowball effect on your growth. With a positive onboarding process, you can provide the inherent value of your product to the users while their interest is super high, and ensure they will keep coming back for more!

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