Lesson 5
8 mins

Start in the middle

At this point, you’ve designed a simple onboarding flow. It gets people to experience value fast. Lesson 5 focuses on engaging users even faster with pre-built templates and ready-made playbooks.

Andrew Capland

Former Head of Growth at Postscript and Wistia

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Start in the middle

Make pre-built templates for your use cases

Pre-built templates are another exciting onboarding evolution that helps users experience value faster and more efficiently.

Although “templates” might bring to mind something like the outdated Microsoft Word template library, but that's not what we're talking about. 

Templates help new users experience the value of your product by “borrowing” something they can tweak or customize—rather than starting from scratch. 

BMAT Model

We’re seeing savvy SaaS brands create templates for specific use cases and encourage users to choose a template during onboarding.

New users don’t need to go through a lengthy onboarding process to understand how they might use the product. With templates, they can get started faster and experience value based on their needs. This is especially true with complex products, like Miro above.

Why is this so important?

Tailoring the user onboarding experience is crucial because new user churn rates are so high.

If you work in SaaS, you’ve probably had this happen: You've got a new user. They sign up for your product. And then…they never return.

We call these folks “pokers.” In our experience, 25-35% of new accounts sign up, poke around for a few minutes, and then leave and never come back. Essentially, the users are getting zero value from your product—and definitely aren’t making it to the activation moment.

There are a few reasons why this happens:

Number 1

They’re intimidated by your product and don’t know where to start.

Most people love exploring new tools. But if your product has a blank canvas, the time investment just to get started can feel overwhelming. It's like opening up a blank Google doc and wondering, "What should I write about?"

Number 1

They don’t have their “stuff” ready to upload.

Most products need you to enter your own “stuff” (like your email list, videos, data, brand colors, etc.) to receive value with their product. But what if you’re just doing research for something being created right now? For that group, it’s nearly impossible to understand the product’s value.

Both of these reasons impact your new-user churn and activation rate. That’s why having pre-built templates is so impactful. They allow users to get over these common challenges and experience the value of your product.

How to get started

You’ve already identified your 4 to 5 most common use-cases in lesson 4. Now, let’s make pre-built templates specifically for those use cases.

The exact templates will vary depending on your product and use cases. But the goal is always the same: to create something that makes it easy for users to quickly tweak and customize without having to start from scratch. 

Users can simply edit any part of the template they choose or replace it with something entirely new if they want. You’ve already done the hard work of figuring out what kind of content works best for their use case.

Then, simply suggest the appropriate template based on their use case. 

Here’s a great example from MIRO. They ask you to self-select your use case during onboarding.

BMAT Model

Here’s the next page in MIROs onboarding flow, after you select Strategy & Planning in the screenshot above. They suggest pre-built templates to help you build your first MIRO board.

BMAT Model

This helps new accounts that aren't ready to import, upload, or enter their own data yet—or are too intimidated to get started.

They get to receive the full value of the product, and they can do it fast, without any effort.

Templates are all about helping your users by providing a low friction path to fast value. That's good for them, good for your brand, and good for your conversion rates.

Bonus: We’re even seeing advanced companies put templates on their websites, letting users sign up for an account pre-loaded with useful content. That's a pretty slick acquisition play that also helps activation.

Here’s a great example from Airtable. They have an entire template library available on the website.

BMAT Model

When you click “Use template,” the tool automatically puts the template inside your account. This allows you to focus on how you might use the data vs. spending lots of time importing.

BMAT Model