5 Ways to Optimize Your Onboarding Funnel & Increase Conversions

Ayushi Rajbhatt
4 min readNov 8, 2022
Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

When you think about onboarding, you probably imagine a bunch of happy new users who signed up for your product and are now happily using it. But the truth is that onboarding is usually much more complicated than that. Users don’t just sign up and magically understand how your product works. Instead, they experience a lot of friction at different points: They might not understand what your company does or how your product can help them solve their problem; they might get confused by all the features, or they might feel lost when trying to figure out where to go next after finishing one tutorial. To make matters even more challenging, user abandonment rates during the first hour of usage are as high as 70% for products with complicated UIs and low-quality onboarding experiences. In this article, we’ll look at five ways to optimize your company’s onboarding funnel and increase conversions.

Run a usability test

Before you start building anything, it’s a good idea to run a usability test and see how your users would react to the onboarding flow you have in mind. To get the most accurate results, choose people who are similar to your target customers and invite them to do a live usability test with your product. In addition to watching how users interact with your product, you could also ask them a few questions after they’ve tried it out: What do they think the product does? What are they trying to accomplish? What’s confusing or difficult? By asking your beta testers questions like these, you can get a better idea of what your onboarding flow needs to do in order to get first-time users to the “Aha!” moment as soon as possible.

Use clear calls-to-action

When users first log into your product, they should have a pretty clear idea of what to do next. This means you need to have strong calls-to-action (CTAs) and onboarding copy that clearly tells users what to do and why they should do it. For example, if your product is a service for managing team projects, the first screen inside the onboarding process should have a big button that says “Get started with a project now” or something similar.

Show users what’s most important right away

If you want your product to be adopted by users and not just be a tool that sits idly on the shelf, you need to show users the value of your product right away. Most products have a value proposition or a core benefit that explains why people should use them. But in order for users to see this value and understand why they should keep using your product, they need to experience it for themselves. And the way to do that is by having a guided onboarding flow that displays your core value right away.

Don’t ask too much at once

Asking new users to sign up for a paid subscription, create a detailed profile page, and complete 50 different tasks before they can actually start using your product is a surefire way to lose them. In order to keep your onboarding experience short and easy, you need to prioritize the tasks that are most important for getting new users up and running as quickly as possible. This means asking users to create an account, but leaving a lot of the other features and settings until they’ve already experienced your core value and know your product inside out.

Ask for the smallest commitment first

When users first start using your product, they’re most likely going to experience a lot of friction. This means you need to provide them with as much support as possible and make it as easy as possible for them to keep going. One way to do this is by asking users to take the smallest possible commitment and then rewarding them for doing so. For example, if you have a video-editing platform, you could ask users to upload one video (the smallest possible commitment) and once they do that, give them access to premium features like special effects, music, or an editing tool.

Bottom line

The key to successful onboarding is to get new users to experience the core value of your product as quickly as possible. While this can be done in a number of ways, it all starts with understanding your core value, setting up the right onboarding flow, and removing as much friction as possible.

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