3 Onboarding Strategies to Drive Higher Customer Engagement


Map the customer journey and keep them involved in a personalized proactive way to impress them during onboarding.

Onboarding is a key phase of the customer journey. It sets the tone for your customer relationships. Wyzowl found that 86% of people say they’d be more likely to stay loyal to a business that invests in onboarding content that welcomes and educates them after they’ve bought.

When done right, it brings higher engagement, satisfaction, and loyalty. For startups, this can mean the difference between rapid growth and stagnation. Customer Success professionals understand that a smooth onboarding process minimizes churn and maximizes lifetime value.

The good news is that customer onboarding doesn’t have to be complicated.

There are many strategies and tools that make onboarding a more seamless and mutually-beneficial experience for everyone involved. We’re going to talk about the most effective ones in this article.

Let’s dive in.

Focus on Each Entry Point

What Are Your Initial Interactions?

The first step to an effective onboarding process is understanding where and how customers first interact with your product. These entry points can vary widely depending on your business. Common entry points include: 

  • Your website
  • Mobile app
  • Social media
  • Referral programs

Knowing these helps tailor your onboarding approach to each channel.

Think of your product as a state in the USA and your entry points as all the highways that enter into that state. If you’ve ever driven through the USA, you’ll know that the majority of highway entries into states are met with large signs saying “Welcome to XYZ State!” Knowing where your audience is discovering you and having a way to “welcome” them is key to setting the stage for an effective onboarding process.

Mapping the Customer Journey

Once you’ve identified entry points, it’s time to map out the customer journey. This involves charting the steps a customer takes from discovery to becoming a champion of your product or service. Creating this journey map allows you to identify the following:

  • Pain points your customers are experiencing not just in the onboarding phase but also in other phases of their journey
  • Opportunities to better personalize your customers’ individual journeys by tailoring solutions and processes to their unique needs and desires (more on this in a bit)
  • Customer feedback on what they like and how they feel things can be improved

That last point brings us to the final key piece of the entry point puzzle:

Gathering Data and Feedback

Collect data on how customers are finding and interacting with your product. Utilize analytics tools to track user behavior and gather direct feedback through surveys and interviews. AI-powered tools can be helpful in gathering this data, but don’t overlook the value of speaking with your clients 1-on-1. Doing this will always be an effective approach to gathering honest feedback.

This data is invaluable for refining your onboarding process to meet customer needs better.

Personalize Onboarding Early

Segmenting Your Audience

Personalization begins with segmenting your audience. Different customers have different needs and expectations. Segmentation can be based on various criteria, such as demographics, behavior, and purchase history. Marketers run A/B tests to see what types of content and hooks work better, and Customer Success professionals run segmenting tests to see how different types of customers react to certain initiatives like onboarding and renewal processes.

Customer segmentation allows you to tailor onboarding experiences to resonate with different groups like SMB, Mid-Market, and Enterprise-level businesses.

Crafting Customized Onboarding Paths

Once you’ve segmented your audience, create customized onboarding paths for each segment. This might involve personalized welcome messages, tailored tutorials, or specific feature highlights. The goal is to make each customer feel like the onboarding experience was designed just for them.

For example, a smaller client may only need how-to guides and video tutorials for the bulk of their onboarding while a larger client may need a designated CSM or implementation rep to see them through their onboarding. This is why “segmenting tests” was mentioned above since segmentation may need to go through some trial runs before you figure out what works for the bulk of your customers.

Using Dynamic Content

In other words, personalize your onboarding.

Leverage dynamic content to keep the onboarding experience fresh and relevant. This can include personalized emails, in-app messages, and contextual tooltips. Dynamic content ensures customers receive timely, relevant information that enhances their onboarding experience.

According to a study by Epsilon, personalized experiences led to an 80% increase in retention for companies.

Stay Proactive in Each Onboarding Step

Initiating Early Communication

Proactive engagement starts with early communication. Reach out to new customers shortly after they sign up or make a purchase. A friendly welcome message can set a positive tone and encourage customers to engage with your product right away.

Back in the day, Walmart had the nicest greeters at every door. It was a key part of the culture set by Sam Walton that made Walmart truly exceptional. While a software company is different than a physical store, it’s still possible to channel the energy of Sam Walton.

Slack is the perfect example of this.

Slack ensures that new users don’t just get lost in the shuffle. They kick things off with a friendly and interactive onboarding process by providing the following:

  1. Personalized Onboarding Experience: When you first sign into Slack, it gently guides you through a series of steps tailored to your role and how your team plans to use the platform.
  2. Interactive Tutorials: Slack uses interactive tutorials that encourage users to learn by doing. This approach helps new users get comfortable quickly.
  3. Helpful Bots: Slack introduces users to Slackbot, a friendly AI that helps set up your profile, answers questions, and gives tips.
  4. Resource Accessibility: Beyond the initial setup, Slack provides an abundance of resources, including detailed help articles, videos, and webinars, ensuring that help is always just a click away.
  5. Community Engagement: Slack actively engages with customers through various channels, ensuring feedback is heard and acted upon. This ongoing dialogue helps Slack continuously improve and adapt.

Offering ongoing assistance as well as always having a flexible and adaptable mindset are so important. Slack uses these heavily in their onboarding process which sets the tone for the rest of the customer journey. The whole point of onboarding is to set a positive tone for your customers as they start their journey with your product and service.


The steps, examples, and data provided in this article are meant to be a resource. Onboarding doesn’t have to be an overly complex endeavor. In fact, having a clear vision for what you want your customers to achieve with your products or services will practically give you the blueprint for what needs to happen in your onboarding process. Once you know where you want your customers to go, it makes it that much easier to reverse-engineer their journey and create a seamless and effective onboarding process for all involved.