3 Scary User Onboarding Errors You Probably Make

3 Scary User Onboarding Errors You Probably Make

There’s some of pretty scary stuff around at Halloween.

You’ve got to worry about vampires, poltergeists, trick-or-treaters throwing eggs in the street and beautifully carved pumpkins jumping you at every corner. It’s never easy. But don’t worry, we’re here for you.

Frightening as these things are, none of them are quite so terrifying as the idea of losing a potential customer from your marketing funnel at the last minute. Right after you’ve invested so much to nudge them towards those precious last stages. And that’s where onboarding comes in.

Without onboarding, your average Cost to Acquire Customer (CAC) goes up and your average Life Time Value (LTV) goes down. Put another way, you need to increase your marketing budget in order to produce less profit. It’s the real Halloween for most SaaS business owners.

Pumpkins or not, it’s a tough market out there. You need a great product, a solid marketing strategy, and a lot of hard work. If you add effective onboarding to the mix, you’re guaranteed to watch your conversions increase at this all-important stage.

Here are the three most common onboarding mistakes.

1. Not doing onboarding at all

Here’s a scary statistic for you – as many as 60% of SaaS owners don’t even have an onboarding process. There’s nothing to help guide new users through the interface and nothing to help them arrive at that “Aha!” moment where they really see the value in your product.

It’s genuinely difficult to overstate the amount of money left on the table each year by a complete lack of onboarding.

When a user finds your advertising and is compelled by your value proposition, there’s a reasonably good chance they’ll sign up for your free trial. The reality though, is that there’s a big leap from a user poking around in your interface for the first time, and actually getting familiar with its intricacies.

halloween onboarding game

After all, if they don’t take the time to learn how to use it, they simply won’t get the value they expect from your product. They won’t become long-term customers and they certainly won’t come back again to check it out in the future.

How to improve onboarding and conversions in under an hour

With myTips, you can create simple-to-follow, on-screen tutorials that guide new users through your interface once they’ve signed up for a trial.

The tool can be used to draw attention to many aspects of your website that will help with the onboarding process. Tried and tested strategies for success include:

  • Creating a CTA that encourages your users to invite colleagues to the free trial
  • Telling users what to expect. For example, if signup takes just 30 seconds, let them know!
  • Your “Start Conversation” button for a LiveChat service in case they get stuck
  • An option for a short email guide to getting the most from your SaaS product

By pointing directly to strategies you know for effective onboarding, you’re more likely to increase conversions. Conversely, you probably already know which parts of your website, interface or marketing funnel, that are either slightly more complex, or have high bounce rates.

mytips step-by-step prodct tutorial

Without using any code, myTips lets you add simple pop-up windows with customizable copy to create simple but highly effective tutorials. With it, you can guide users through the tricky parts of your service and watch your LTV increase as if by magic.

2. Not following-up prospect with email

By the time one of your valuable website visitors has checked out your service, it’s likely they’re getting fired up by your marketing material. They’re reading about the features and benefits of your SaaS and are starting to build an emotional connection with your brand.

What happens, then, if something distracts your visitor and pulls them away from your excellent content before they get a chance to get hooked on your product? Well, if you have an email campaign to follow up with your prospects, it’s not a big deal.

However, if you don’t currently have an email campaign in place to send a gentle, friendly reminder to your prospective long-term customers, it’s costing you money.

How to get the most from your email onboarding campaigns

Tools such as Mixpanel offer heavily customizable email campaigns to ensure you get the right message to the right people at the right time for better onboarding. It’s a great tool and comes with a free trial.

mytips user onboarding

Tried and tested email onboarding tips include:

  • Sending email from a personal (I.E using a first name only) address, ideally the company’s founder or another senior figure
  • Follow-up on usage and asking for their opinion or feedback
  • Ensure your emails follow Can Spam Act guidelines
  • Provide helpful information a few days after signing up
  • Offer to help people link their Facebook or other social media accounts to your service and suggest a courtesy call to help and tell them why it’s useful to them.

An effective way to squeeze the most out of your custom emails is to ensure that you accompany every call to action with a solid incentive.

Whether it’s a discount, promotion, or an enticing statistic to show how the steps you suggest they follow will boost conversions, save them money or any other applicable metric. By providing a relevant incentive, people are much more likely to take action.

You can further compound the effectiveness of your email campaigns by using myTips to duplicate the same instructions with an annotated pop-up stuck directly over the specific place to where you’ve drawn their attention.

For example, let’s say your email directs someone to a certain spot on your website and gives them an incentive to do so. Once they follow the link, they’re met with a pop-up from myTips showing them exactly where they need to look.

When people sign up for your service, they expect to get the value straight away. The fact is, your interface might not be quite as intuitive as your marketing material. But if you take users by the hand and guide them through the steps to reach the value, you’re more likely to turn them into long-term customers.

3. Not showing product via screenshots, videos & demos

This mistake is a little less common but it’s such a fundamental error, it’s definitely worth a mention. Some SaaS owners these days fall into the trap of thinking that, just because they offer a free trial, they don’t need any other onboarding.

After all, if a user can sign up and check out your product at absolutely no cost, isn’t that alone enough to demonstrate it’s value?

If only it were true…

The reality is, that email address is especially important these days. And your users won’t hand over addresses unless they truly believe you’ve got something valuable for them.

How to get more prospect’s email addresses

We’ve already discussed why emails are so important. And with screenshots, results examples, demos and product videos, you can create compelling reasons for people to give you their email addresses up front. Examples include:

  • Screenshots of rising profits, traffic charts, profit charts or other relevant data
  • Demo videos of your SaaS product in action
  • A short screencast intro that demonstrates the simplicity of getting the value they expect, guiding your users to that “Aha!” moment
  • Video testimonials from happy customers saying the product is worth checking out
  • Calculations of how much money users can save or make with your SaaS

By compelling people in this way and leading with value, people are much more likely to sign up.

Arguably, the most effective method here is a demonstration. After all, without a demo showing people how to get what they need, that intricate and well-designed interface would be useless. SalesForce is a great example

Again, myTips can be a particularly effective tool with the screencast. Because, as you shoot your screencast, simple pop-ups with custom texts neatly annotate the video and complement your voice-over.

Just in case you’re unsure of where to find the best services to create these marketing tools, here’s a special Halloween list for you.

  • Fiverr
    Fiverr is a great place to find talented freelancers willing to produce demo videos for just a few dollars.

  • ODesk & Elance
    Freelancer websites such as Odesk and Elance are great places to pick up professional freelancers of all levels and professions. Elance tends to have higher calibre freelancers with more experience that can cost more money, whereas ODesk tends to have the most affordable on the net.

  • Screen-o-matic
    Screen-o-matic is screencasting software with a free version so you can check it out right away and see what you think. More advanced editing features and other options are made available with the $15/year paid version.

  • Jing
    Jing is an excellent free screencasting tool from TechSmith. It’s got a great inbuilt screenshot feature that allows you to easily annotate images and share them over the Internet. It’s not as full-featured for screencasting as Screen-o-matic, but it gets the job done

  • Skitch
    Skitch is a tool from the same team behind Evernote. It’s another great screenshot tool and, while it doesn’t have the screencasting features of Jing, it does offer a lot more options for screenshot annotations.

By combining a solid screencast with myTips , explaining the value of your product can be achieved in an incredibly intuitive way that will have people practically tripping over their Halloween costumes to give you their email addresses.


We know. It’s scary stuff when you consider how much money can be left on the table without a solid onboarding strategy that informs your users where the value in your product truly is.

But, if you follow even some of the strategies offered in this article, you’ll increase your conversions and your LTV by a significant margin. When that’s done, you only need to worry about practical-joking trick-or-treaters, vampires, ghouls, carved pumpkins, werewolves and the paranormal in general.

Happy Halloween!

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