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11 Best Onboarding Tools for SaaS Startups to Increase Activation Rates

If you can nail your onboarding and have a good activation rate, you decrease the chance of customers churning in a short period since initial sign up. Whilst building your own custom onboarding or product tour workflow is a good option, building out all the key features that these tools have can take a lot of hard work and resource time from your engineers. Explore some of these options to help you build amazing onboarding experiences, which are user-friendly for non-technical staff.

Also, you may enjoy this free activation strategies checklist to help you evaluate and consider new ideas for your product. There also be other relevant tools such as Intercom that you can find in the chatbot & live chat tools resource.

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Appcues

About: 
A platform I've loved using for setting up great user onboarding experiences is Appcues.

Top Features:

The team behind the platform have done an amazing job creating a really slick interface, focusing on a no code solution making it easy for non-technical marketers/non-technical product manages to create personalised onboarding experiences.
You can create checklists, modals or any promot experience with whatever content you want to include. You can do further customisations with CSS.
The targeting capabilities is where this platform becomes really powerful. Run separate onboarding sequences for specific segments, or trigger sequences based on certain behaviours of users (e.g. buttons they may click, etc). On top of that, use analytics to see how your flows are performing.
no code
Personalisation
Segmentation
Pricing: 
Pricing for Appcues starts from $299 per month, paid annually. There are also growth and enterprise plans available for more licenses and more advanced features.
Web/App + Chrome extension
Paid
$-$$$$
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Upflowy

About: 
One of my new favourite tools I've been using for the past 12 months is Upflowy.

Top Features:

One of the biggest challenges I've faced as well as other startups I've worked with is the ability to quickly create personalised onboarding/signup experiences, as well as the ability to iterate them fast based off analytics.
Rather than having to go through developers, thanks to the no code editor, you can through drag-and-drop functionality create onboarding and signup experiences. There are also building blocks which make it really fast to get your flows up and running.
With your flows, you can incorporate conditional logic, split/merge, triggers, elements for forms, custom code, calendly integrations (and other integrations) and loads more.
a/b testing
Dynamic content
Templates
Pricing: 
You can get started with Upflowy for free with 1 user and 3 flows. Then pricing begins the professional plan which is $49 per month for up to 5 flows.
Web/App
Paid
$-$$$
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Userguiding

About: 
Another popular solution on the market for creating onboarding flows with ease is Userguiding.

Top Features:

This platform is feature-rich with all the tools you need to create product walkthroughs, segment for personalisation, collect user feedback and more within the one platform.
Create checklists when users sign up, create progress goals tom motivate users to complete key milestones for activation, to then hotspots to highlight important features and more.
Have the freedom to customise by adding your own videos, GIFs and more. There are also numerous integrations available for analytics, task management and notifications.
great UX
Segmentation
Customisation
Pricing: 
Monthly pricing starts at $99 per month for up to 2.5k active users. Upgrade for more tracked users per month.
Web/App
Paid
$-$$$
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Chameleon

About: 
For SaaS startups looking to improve product adoption and increase activation rates, then make sure to check out Chameleon.

Top Features:

The platform is straight-forward to use and has a great UX compared to some others. The tools such as a modal pop-ups, tooltips, launches and surveys all look really slick. You can of course customise with your own branding.
With branding you can customise further with CSS, have your own fonts as well as templates.
A particular focus is the ease of us. You don't need to have any technical skills to implement and start using for personalised onboarding experiences. You can segment and target based on certain events you create, including real-time matching based on rules.
Surveys
a/b testing
Real-time
Pricing: 
For up to 2000 tracked users, pricing starts at $279 per month. There is also a growth plan which can track the same amount of active users with more advanced features starting from $699 per month. For more tracked users across both plans, it will cost more. Use the slider to calculate best pricing for you.
Web/App
Paid
$-$$$$
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Userpilot

About: 
Increase activation rates, engagement, retention and more with personalised product experiences with Userpilot.

Top Features:

This platform is packed with features including onboarding, adoption, retention, expansion as well as personalised marketing messages to segmented users based on certain events.
Setup personalised onboarding experiences for segmented users, build prompts for key features, checklists for completing certain tasks and more.
Split-test and experiment messaging based on analytics, user feedback and other insights. Iterate and optimise flows all without the need for coding. Lots more features you need to explore.
Engagement tools
Experiments
Nocode
Pricing: 
Pricing kicks off at $249 per month for 2500 tracked users. An enterprise is also available starting at $749 per month, tracking the same amount of users per month. You will need to upgrade to track more users. You can also book a demo to find out more.
Web/App
Paid
$-$$$$
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WalkMe

About: 
A product and digital adoption platform to enhance customer, employee and product experiences for growing and established organisations is WalkMe.

Top Features:

Improve product adoption with WalkMe by analysing key data and see wherer users have success and bottlenecks. Then create and test personalised experiences based on user actions of customers.
No need for coding when wanting to implement adoption fearures, such as prompts, guides, walkthroughs and more.
View the whole customer journey from end-to-end, and seamlessly create actions and tasks to improve customer experiences.
Automation
Integrations
Real-time insights
Pricing: 
To get a custom plan for your business, you will need to get a quote and a demo.
Web/App
Demo
$-$$$$
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Userflow

About: 
A really nice tool I used not long ago on a client project for onboarding is Userflow.

Top Features:

Userflow have done a great job with their intuitive, no code flow builder, which is really seamless and enjoyable to use. Really fast to get your flows up and running, as well as good for quick iterations.
The prompts, speech bubbles, modals, guides, product tours and more have great UI, which you can customise further with your own branding.
Incorporate smart automated triggers based on user actions, provide custom experiences based on certain user attributes and segments and so much more.
great UI
easy editor
Automation
Pricing: 
For up to 3000 tracked users, pricing begins at $250 per month, billed monthly.
Web/App
Paid
$-$$$$
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UserIQ

About: 
Up your onboarding, engagement and retention game with this powerful platform, UserIQ.

Top Features:

Get deep insights and a health score across accounts so you can see which features need work, what's causing churn, as well as how you can increase activation rates.
Create customsied, personalised onboarding sequences and product walk throughs based on segments and attributes you want.
View further analytics and reports based on how users engage with your platform. Setup in-app messaging when users engage or stop using certain features, or incorporate strategies for those who may be close to churning.
visual reporting
advanced analytics
Integrations
Pricing: 
Book a demo to find out more about UserIQ.
Web/App
Demo
$-$$$$
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Userlane

About: 
Increase engagement and product adoption with Userlane.

Top Features:

Build personalised content tailored for the right audiences to encourage desired actions. Easily setup step-by-step guides which highlight features all through the no code editor.
Create workflows and guides to help users understand key features. Measure overtime what's working and what doesn't through detailed analytics.
Send out tailored product announcements, get user feedback and optimise for better product experiences with the aim of reducing churn and driving revenue.
announcements
easy editor
Real-time insights
Pricing: 
Find out more about pricing which is tailored for the amount of seats and features you need.
Web/App
Demo
$-$$$$
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Stonly

About: 
With over 20,000 businesses using Stonly, including some fast-growing tech startups, this tool helps SaaS products improve activation and adoption.

Top Features:

From custom chatbots, interactive product guides, checklists, product tours, knowledge base and a plethora of other features, Stonly has you covered for building personalised experiences users will love.
Through no code, you can build trigger-based onboarding flows and prompts fast. Setup the exact ruling based on certain events, as well as custom messaging and prompts for segmented users.
Incorporate checklists to motivate users to complete key tasks and goals to maximise activation. Super easy to create within the interface with no developers needed. Loads more features to check out as well.
Interactive
Forms
NPS
Pricing: 
You can sign up for free and use the freemium version which allows up to 1000 guide views per month. Upgrade for more views and other awesome features.
Web/App
Freemium
$-$$$$
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Kompassify

About: 
A platform focused on maximising onboarding journeys for SaaS companies is Kompassify.

Top Features:

Compared to many other solutions mentioned here, pricing is really affordable for the amount of features you can include within your product, such as checklists, progress bars, widgets, product tours, NPS surveys and more.
There's no coding required when creating and using any of the features. Just click elements which you want to include, select which feature you want to use and you're on your way. No developers required, perfect for marketers and non-technical product managers.
They have a live demo on their website which is awesome to check out and see what it could look like with your product. I think they've done a great job with UX and UI overall.
intuitive
great UX
Widgets
Pricing: 
As mentioned above, pricing is great value. For up to 5000 users per month, it's €35. For unlimited, the enterprise plan is €99 - pretty awesome!
Web/App + Chrome extension
Paid
$-$$
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Updated on:
April 4, 2022
Note: Pricing, plans, and homepage images change overtime. Pricing recorded as of 3rd April, 2022. If you see any changes required, please let me know. If you suggest any tools to add, get in touch. 😊

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⚡ Frequently Asked Questions ⚡

What are the best product onboarding tools for SaaS Startups?
Continually optimising for onboarding flows for better activation rates can significantly increase your chances of users being 'delighted' and becoming active, and retained users in a shorter period. Without good onboarding, your chances of churn increase. Over the years working with some amazing SaaS startups, these are my 3 favourite onboarding tools; Intercom, Appcues and Userguiding.
Are there any free user onboarding tools?
No, and for good reasons. Most of the tools mentioned in this article have a free trial period, with only Stonly having a freemium option (limited to 1000 views per month). The reality is all these tools have are feature-rich, and most features are required to build, measure and optimise product tours.
What are the main features to look for with onboarding software for startups?
Every platform has different key features, but the absolute core functionality and goals needed to build and measure onboarding and activation effectively include; Personalisation capabilities with key events, good segmentation options, A/B split testing, no code app builder, ability to create checklists, pop-ups (video, images, gifs and text), and email integration based on key user events. Many of the tools I've talked about have many more features, but for me, these are the baseline requirements I look for.
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