Over the last several months, Helen and I have had the pleasure of reviewing the onboarding experience of over 60 B2B SaaS products.

In doing so, we’ve developed an in-depth understanding of what should be included in a product’s onboarding process.

We sat down to put together a short checklist of the key questions we ask ourselves when we review the product onboarding.

What started as a ‘short’ checklist quickly snowballed into a 88 point checklist of all the questions we ask or think aloud as we review the website, signup flow, first-run experience, product adoption, and welcome emails.

Before you read on, you might think that some of these questions sound extremely obvious.

And they are.

The challenge for you as a founder or product owner is that you have your own biases and you simply can’t read the label from inside the jar.

As Jan, Head of Growth at SatisMeter commented after purchasing one of our reviews:

“Now I see I have my own dark areas or different kinds of observation skills. It’s interesting because some things TPO highlighted are obvious but I didn’t ever change them. I pushed some of my least favorite areas/responsibilities to the bottom of my list. And so I stopped actively looking at it with fresh eyes.”

We hope you enjoy the onboarding checklist and we encourage you to signup for your own product and run through each item.

And of course, if you’d like for us to review your onboarding process and provide a 20-35 minute video that identifies how you can increase visitors to free trial users and happy, paying customers, please order your review here.

Website

As product onboarding starts before a new user completes your signup form we spend time looking at your website as a user would.

In fact, user onboarding starts before a user even visits your website, but we’ll save this for another guide in the future.

During our Product Onboarding Reviews, we typically review the home page and pricing page so we can save more time for the product itself.

The Home Page‎‎

  • Is there a clear value proposition that alludes to the outcome (not the product features)?
  • Is it clear who the product is for?
  • Does the copy allude to the pain points of the customers?
  • Is there social proof above the fold?
  • Is additional social proof shared throughout the page or just at the bottom?
  • Are there multiple CTA’s on the home page?
  • Are the CTA’s consistent throughout the page?
  • Is the copy on the home page about the outcome or results rather than the features?
  • If Capterra/Trustpilot/Facebook reviews are embedded on the site, do these open in a new tab?
  • Can I see images of the product or are they just illustrations?
  • How is the aesthetic design of the page? Does it look credible?
  • If live chat is on the site, is there a proactive message?

‎The Pricing Page‎‎

  • Is the value of the product reiterated?
  • If no credit card is required, is that communicated?
  • If the credit card is required, is that communicated?
  • Does the CTA contain action-worded copy?
  • If a learn more / contact sales button exists – does this actually work?
  • Is the copy addressing common objections?
  • Is the feature list worded simply or does it use product-specific terminology?
  • Is the pricing actually simple enough to understand?
  • If live chat is on the site, is there a proactive message that is different to the home page?

Signup flow

For the purpose of our reviews and this checklist, when we refer to the signup flow, we’re looking at the process from the signup page to when we land in your product.

This is where we see the most opportunity for B2B SaaS products to improve their conversation rates.

  • Does the copy handle objections around time/effort?
  • Does the copy mention if a credit card is required or not?
  • Are all the form fields necessary?
  • Are there any social login options (Google/Facebook etc?)
  • Does the password need to contain specific characters? If so, is this communicated before the user experiences an error?
  • Is there additional social proof/testimonials on the signup page?
  • Is the copy formal or more casual?
  • Have other distractions from the page been removed?
  • Am I forced to verify my email?
  • If email verification is forced, where did the email end up (probably in updates/spam)?
  • Is their personalisation based on the details collected during the signup form?
  • If there are additional form fields to fill out, does it tell me how long/which step I am on?
  • Are all the questions actually relevant to me?
  • Does it explain why it needs to ask me some of the questions?
  • Am I asked, “what are you trying to do today?”
  • Do I know what I need to do next?

First run experience

Perhaps the most important part of the overall product onboarding process is the first run experience.

This is the first time a user will see your product and is most motivated to try your product. Unfortunately, their motivation often dissipates if the first-run experience is underwhelming.

The first run experience must immediately allow your user to experience meaningful value and help them achieve the job they are hoping to complete.

  • Is there a welcome message and does it set expectations?
  • Does the welcome message use personalization?
  • Is the next step clear?
  • Am I being helped to achieve a quick win and experience the value of the product?
  • If there is a video, is it short and concise?
  • Are there links to additional onboarding resources like a help doc or blog post?
  • If using in-app messaging are the messages relevant based on my progress?
  • If I need to connect the product to a 3rd party data source, is there an easy way for me to do this / send instructions to someone else?
  • Did I get sent a welcome email? (see the Welcome email section)
  • Are there just icons or are the icons on the dashboard accompanied with text?

Product Adoption

Depending on your exact onboarding process, you may use different onboarding UX patterns (or product adoption tools). Below we’ve outlined the most common product adoption tools.

First Look Tour

  • Does the tour load the first time I land on a page?
  • Is the copy short and concise?
  • Am I being asked what I am trying to achieve first (aka the job to be done)?
  • Is the product tour free of other product elements in the background?
  • Is this tour actually going to help me experience the value of the product?
  • Is it clear how many steps this tour will take?
  • Can I skip the tour if I want to?
  • Can I go back a step if I need to check the previous content?
  • If using video, is the information also available in text?
  • Is it clear what I need to do next?

Product Walkthrough Tour

  • Am I being shown the rest of the product to increase familiarity with the product?
  • Is it clear how many steps this tour will take?
  • Can I skip the tour if I want to?
  • Can I go back a step if I need to check the previous content?
  • If using video, is the information also available in text?
  • Is it clear what I need to do next?

Tooltips

  • Is the tooltip explaining the value of the feature of how to use it?
  • Is the tooltip actually helpful?
  • Are there links to read more in the help docs if I want to?
  • Does the tooltip stand out enough or is it easily missed?

Checklists

  • Does the checklist start with an already completed step (like signed up)?
  • Are there around 3-5 items on the checklist?
  • Are the checklist items easy to complete (a quick win)?
  • Are these checklist items actually helping me experience the value of the product?
  • If I’m being asked to invite a team member / friend, is this really the right moment for this?
  • Will the checklist show me where I left off if I return to the product?

Progress Bars

  • Does the progress bar start with an already completed step (like signed up)?
  • Is the progress bar in an obvious position and not easily missed?

Demo Content

  • If I need to connect the product to a 3rd party data source, is there demo content for me to explore and see the value?
  • Is the demo content relevant for my use case?
  • Can I play around with the demo data?

Empty State

  • Am I being shown what I need to do to experience value during my free trial?
  • Is the empty state educating me on how to use the product?
  • Does the tone of voice match the brand?

The Welcome Email

In this case, we’re referring to the first email that a new user receives after signing up for a free trial.

  • Is the welcome email sent to me immediately after signing up?
  • Does it come from a person or a “[email protected]” email?
  • Is it using personalization like {first name}?
  • Does it have one clear CTA explaining what I need to do next?
  • Is the CTA copy action-oriented?
  • Does it feel personal or transactional?
  • Can I reply to the email if I want to?
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