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Published October 20, 2023
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Onboarding checklists are the personal to-do lists for SaaS platforms. They guide users through their first interactions with your platform — which will either make them stick or churn.

Understanding how to craft strong onboarding experiences with a tailored checklist will increase conversion rates for free trialists, improve the user experience, and lead to a longer customer relationship.

Let’s dive into the in’s-and-out’s of checklist features for your SaaS, and how checklists are a game-changer for your onboarding goals.

What is a SaaS onboarding checklist?

A checklist is a key feature every SaaS should have during its user onboarding process to guide users and provide immediate value to your platform. It outlines the steps needed for the successful onboarding of new users.

A SaaS onboarding checklist is designed to help users navigate a platform and quickly discover its value, with an emphasis on self-guided exploration.

Checklists usually involve a set of key tasks that users need to accomplish to be set up for success.

Here’s an example of how Product Fruits includes checklists for our new users. It guides them through the initial steps to make an impact on their onboarding.

Screenshot of Producr Fruits checklist feature

Image source: Product Fruits

Checklists guide users to become more familiar with the platform’s interface, features, and value.

Fruity Tip: By creating an onboarding checklist, you control the steps users take in interacting with your platform. That means you control and curate the optimal onboarding experience.

Benefits of using an onboarding checklist

Checklists break down the onboarding process into manageable pieces, which remove user frustration and guarantee an optimized user experience.

As a result, SaaS companies that include checklists in their onboarding are likely to:

Overall, having a comprehensive SaaS onboarding checklist is key in providing customers with a smooth experience when working with your product or service.

Best practices when creating a user onboarding checklist

Creating a successful user onboarding checklist is essential to providing an effective customer experience with your SaaS product.

To craft a checklist that meets the needs of your customers, here are some best practices to keep in mind.

1. Create different checklists for each user segment

Goal-specific checklists that align with the user’s role or objective make onboarding highly targeted. A targeted onboarding flow means users get to their “aha” moment directly, which helps them recognize the value an app provides.

To create goal-specific checklists, you need to segment your users.

Each user segment will have a different goal and app functionality that best fits their needs. Using a checklist to reach that action helps keep users on track.

To segment users, introduce a welcome survey at the start of onboarding. This categorizes and identifies each user into different roles. This can be done through a process known as survey branching.

Product Fruits can help you seamlessly connect your welcome survey answers to the appropriate checklist trigger. This will give users a personal user journey tailored to delight, engage, and retain users.

2. Include tours within your checklist

Checklists serve as roadmaps to lead users to actionable next steps. it gives them the freedom to play around and self-learn a platform’s functionalities. However, it is good practice to include feature tour triggers within your platform.

These tour cards are very helpful for users who are trying to navigate a new app. They provide a great deal of extra information, secret features to surprise users, and useful guidance on how to use the app so that users can accomplish their objectives.

👀 Take a peek: Stop Losing Customers During Your Free Trial – 10 Ways to Improve our Onboarding Tours 

3. Keep additional support a click away

Checklists educate users on their next steps. However, depending on the complexity of the platform, a little more contextual onboarding and information is required.

Include tooltips, hints, and buttons that reactivate tours. that way users can always get the information they need to use your platform to its full potential.

It’s good practice to include a Life Ring (help center) button on the checklist at all times. that way if a user encounters a moment of confusion, or needs additional information, they can quickly find the resources and tutorials they need directly from the knowledge base.

4. Motivate users with visual progress

Include progress bars or rewards in your checklist to motivate users to finish their onboarding tasks.

Incorporating game-like elements into onboarding, such as badges or points, creates an enjoyable experience for customers and helps motivate them to stay focused and complete their tasks.

Studies have found that gamification elements, like visual progress bars, rewards, or leaderboards help motivate users. This is because it taps into the intrinsic motivation of users and leads to higher engagement.

Cartoon man climbing up a block of stairs to reach a trophy, orange background. motivation and gamificaiton reference

Simple things like ticking off accomplished tasks, adding completion percentages, or progress bars give users a visual cue of how much users have accomplished.

Gamifying the process can make it more engaging. Which leads to higher completion rates.

How to create a SaaS onboarding checklist

Crafting an effective SaaS onboarding checklist requires a deep understanding of both your product platform and user segments.

  1. The first step is to identify the goals for each user segment.
  2. Create the pathway of actions to achieve segment goals. Make the flow as direct as possible
  3. Identify the steps and format a checklist
  4. Include additional resources like Hints, Life Rings, and features tours triggered by the checklist.
  5. Test and optimize to continuously improve the user onboarding journey.

Product Fruits offers customizable checklists that can be triggered from welcome tours. Each checklist can be customized to your brand’s tone and needs with a few clicks– no coding required.

Your onboarding is only impactful with the right tools

Your platform can be aesthetically beautiful, feature-packed, and at a great price point — but none of that matters if your onboarding is subpar.

Onboarding is the one factor that will connect the value of your app to a user. And for that to happen correctly, you need a whole toolbox of onboarding features.

Product Fruits acts as an invisible layer. This means it sits on top of your platform without interfering with any code. You can add tours, checklists, hints, and tooltips with a few clicks.

Product Fruits comes with a knowledge base you can customize and include throughout the onboarding process.

Improve your onboarding and see the positive results in conversion and business growth.

Talk to our onboarding specialists today to learn how to reach your business goals. Or try Product Fruits for free — no coding required.

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About the author

Tamryn Mounier
Tamryn is a B2B SaaS content wizard, with over five years of experience working internationally with companies of all sizes. She's passionate about understanding how technology is transforming businesses, and how it shapes the roles needed to support this growth. When she's not working, you'll find her outdoors busy surfing, running, hiking, or climbing.

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