Top 3 Walkthrough Software & The Ultimate Guide to Walkthroughs for SaaS
Imagine driving to a new holiday destination without a GPS. It’d probably take you hours and you might not even get to the right place. SaaS apps also need walkthrough software to guide their users through their products.
- Product time to value goes up;
- When your time to value goes up, user activation drops
- Then first-week retention drops
- …Leading to a low LTV:CAC ratio
The general consensus is that time to value needs to be as low as possible so that more users can get the value of your product early during their onboarding process; that way more of them stick around.
The Aha! Moment is the first experience of value in your product. To help users reach there faster before losing their interest in the product, you need to have great interactive walkthroughs that can only be provided by equally great interactive walkthrough software.
If you are on the lookout for a walkthrough software that will knock the experience out of the park for your users, keep reading or use the Table of Contents on the left to quick navigate through the article!
- Interactive walkthroughs provide step-by-step onboarding experiences. Unlike product tours, actions by a user trigger the next step in the onboarding process.
- Interactive walkthroughs help to improve user onboarding, feature adoption, product adoption, pushing upsells, and reducing support costs.
- The choice of software should be evaluated by use case, budget, features of the software, and available integrations.
- Types of walkthrough software include user onboarding, employee onboarding, and mobile app walkthrough software.
- Walkthrough software helps your team implement onboarding without relying on the engineering team, helps you deploy tweaks and experiments faster, and comes at a cheaper cost than building and maintaining an in-house solution.
- To build great interactive walkthroughs, you need to: determine your key activation points, use 1-2 major actions to drive value, set goals and triggers, use tooltips and modals to direct users, and cheer them on when they complete the onboarding flow.
What is an interactive walkthrough?
An interactive walkthrough provides step-by-step guidance to help users perform the key actions required to use your product and derive the value they signed up for. As opposed to traditional, linear product tours, users trigger the next step as they perform actions.
Interactive walkthroughs focus on one or two key events at a time. Since the users learn by actually doing, and are not asked to perform action 2 before taking step 1, interactive walkthroughs take them to value (activation) much faster.
How are interactive walkthroughs used in SaaS?
Interactive walkthroughs are used in SaaS apps to help with the following:
- New User Onboarding: When new users sign up, these walkthroughs guide them using step-by-step actions to reach value faster before they lose interest in the product.
- Secondary feature adoption: You don’t want to develop new features that nobody is using. Interactive walkthroughs help companies to accelerate new or secondary feature adoption.
- Pushing upsells: Every SaaS company is pushing for more revenue. Interactive walkthroughs help your company to push the upsells at later stages of a customer’s journey so that they can upgrade their subscriptions to reflect the added value your product brings to them.
- Decrease support costs: Interactive walkthroughs help users to figure out things without contacting your support team. This leads to reduced support costs.
Why are interactive walkthroughs important?
- If new users go into your product and there are no interactive walkthroughs to train them on using the product, most of them will leave.
- Do you care about your metrics? Not having an onboarding process that works affects every metric down the line from activation rates, feature engagement, to product adoption and user retention.
- To retain users you have to keep driving value even in the later stages of the user journey. New user onboarding is not all there is to onboarding.
- Interactive walkthroughs will also help you drive adoption rates and improve new feature usage.
- Studies have shown it is 4x cheaper to upsell existing customers than to acquire new ones. When customers use your product, they need to unlock more value from it over time. This will mostly come in the form of expanded or secondary features in a higher-cost plan. You’ll need to show them additional value using interactive walkthroughs.
What’s the difference between an interactive walkthrough and a product tour?
An interactive walkthrough follows customer behavior where every step in the flow is triggered by a custom event – one action by the user triggers the next step until the flow is complete.
In this case, the users actually interact with the product while learning how to complete specific actions to get the value they need.
On the other hand, product tours are linear and non-interactive; they do not engage the user. Product tours heap a lot of information on the user at one go – showing you around the product from one feature to the next.
By the end of the tour, the user may not have retained anything and has not actually engaged with the product. This makes product tours confusing and boring.
See the example of an email marketing tool onboarding below. I have not actually uploaded my email list in the first step, and it’s already asking me to create my first newsletter – huh?
Product tours do not drive customers to value and do not follow specific actions of the user within the product to inform the tour. Moreover, giving customers too much information at one go emphasizes the complexity of your product. This scares them away.
Oh yes! Many people downright hate product tours. Just check out the comments below.
What is walkthrough software?
Walkthrough software are tools that help you create interactive walkthroughs for your SaaS.
Most walkthrough software are usually low-code or no-code tools so you can use to build interactive walkthroughs without any coding skills. They rely on custom events or feature tags to trigger steps based on user actions.
In order to deploy your walkthroughs through the software options, you can:
- Using a browser extension
- Using an API
We will discuss some walkthrough software examples later on in the article.
What are the benefits of walkthrough software?
There are several benefits to having walkthrough software to help with your onboarding:
- Most walkthrough software can be deployed without relying on your internal development/engineering teams. The walkthrough is added as a layer that sits on top of your product.
- Walkthrough software are specialized Saas companies themselves. They offer their software for a few hundred dollars per month. Consequently, this saves you time, resources, and money you would spend building product walkthroughs internally. Atlassian, who built an internal walkthrough software for themselves, spent 2 years and approximately $ 3 million on the project.
- By not relying on your engineering team, your product team can really “own” the onboarding process.
- This makes you more agile because deploying tweaks to the walkthroughs is much easier due to the low-code or no-code aspect of walkthrough software.
- It allows you to build more robust user onboarding by eliminating engineering bottlenecks that might scuttle the process.
- Experimenting with onboarding is faster with walkthrough software. You can test different versions of onboarding flows, copy, and visuals through A/B tests. This will help you drive better activation, adoption, and retention metrics.
What are the different types of walkthrough software?
There are various types of walkthrough software:
- Interactive walkthrough software for onboarding new users using your SaaS. Such walkthrough software accelerates feature adoption while reducing support costs.
- Employee onboarding software on 3rd party apps. By using onboarding software for new employees from the first day at work, they can start using your software without any extra training required.
- Mobile walkthrough software for onboarding new users in mobile applications. Helping users take necessary steps to get quick wins that deliver value to the user helps with mobile app adoption challenges.
Choosing walkthrough software: what features should you look for?
When looking for the best walkthrough software for your product, you need to consider the factors below:
- Use case – Are you looking for user onboarding for saas, employee onboarding on 3rd party applications, or mobile walkthrough software for mobile applications?
- Budget – Most walkthrough software will charge a subscription fee per month for continued use of the software. Pricing also varies depending on the stage of your company and the number of users (MAUs).
- Features – There are tools that only do walkthroughs. Other tools do more than that with advanced features like user segmentation, experimentation through A/B testing, advanced analytics or NPS and user sentiment.
- Integrations – Some walkthrough software integrates with other tools better than others. Know the integrations you need while looking for a walkthrough software solution.
Top 3 Interactive Walkthrough Software for SaaS
#1 Software for SaaS user onboarding – Userpilot
Userpilot is built for Saas companies that are looking to create great onboarding experiences for their users.
Here is why it stands out:
- Contextual Onboarding – Userpilot’s walkthroughs are designed to show the right message to the right user at the right time. Onboarding is informed by in-app customer behavior thus creating personalized experiences.
- Total control over styling – each onboarding element can be styled without coding (or with CSS, if you can use it!). This helps companies keep their branding consistent.
- Excellent support – several users have testified to Userpilot’s superior customer support in G2 reviews.
- Native tooltips – useful elements for pointing users in the right direction during onboarding.
- Actions and UI patterns – Userpilot allows 4 actions and 5 UI patterns in its flow builder.
- Affordable – it is much better value for money compared to alternatives like Pendo and Appcues.
It has downsides too like:
- Less robust analytics – the analytics feature in Userpilot focuses mostly on goal-oriented, mid-term analytics. This means that if you want to collect all user clicks and observe their behaviour in-app, you will still need a tool like Mixpanel or Amplitude (Userpilot integrates with both of them and other analytics tools).
Let us explore how an interactive walkthrough experience created in Kontentino using Userpilot:
Kontentino is a social media scheduling platform that built its onboarding with Userpilot. Let’s see what their interactive walkthrough looks like in practice:
1. Welcome screen starts onboarding with a micro survey
This micro-survey helps Kontentino segment its users for personalized onboarding.
Our state of onboarding research showed that segmentation and personalization lead to high engagement rates.
2. Hana’s welcome message
Pressing the “Let’s start” button begins the onboarding process.
3. First, I need to connect my social media profiles
4. After connecting my social media profile, Hana is cheering me in the GIF below. This is really motivating.
5. I’m prompted to schedule my first post, so I click on the green button.
6. Now it opens up the post section for me to enter my post details. And that’s it. When I save the post, I’m done with the key actions required of me to get the value out of the product.
Once I get these two actions done, I’ve already experienced the Aha! Moment and achieved initial value in the Kontentino product.
Userpilot is a great walkthrough software for Saas companies as we have seen in the experience created by Kontentino. The interactive walkthrough uses contextual onboarding and intuitive additional features like micro surveys and tooltips to deliver a great experience.
Why not Appcues?
Appcues has been around since 2013 and is quite easy to use. However, it does have its downsides:
- Appcues only allows 1 action and 4 UI patterns while Userpilot allows 4 actions and 5 UI patterns in its flow builder.
- In Appcues’ cheapest plan, you can tag only 10 elements in the UI while on Userpilot’s cheapest plan you can tag up to 25 elements in the UI
- Lower plans have limited features and a monthly active users (MAU) limit. Userpilot on the other hand does not limit features and pricing is based on MAU.
- No resource center to help build help resources for your app like on Userpilot
- No native A/B testing – requires integration with Optimizely to carry out experiments
- Despite offering much less in terms of features and value for money, Appcue’s cheapest plan is still more expensive than Userpilot’s cheapest plan that offers way more features and functionality.
For employee onboarding / third party app walkthroughs – Walkme
WalkMe is a great walkthrough software alternative that helps large organizations and enterprise apps with onboarding new employees to minimize training costs.
If you are on the lookout for an employee onboarding or third party app walkthrough software, consider WalkMe if:
- You are a large organization and run an enterprise application. Some of WalkMe’s customers include Microsoft and PayPal
- You need robust analytics. WalkMe’s analytics tools help companies that heavily rely on data to make decisions and find new areas to improve their onboarding process.
- You want to deliver on-screen guidance without the user leaving the screen.
Even with its robust capabilities, it does have some downsides like:
- Since it is created for enterprise applications, it is very expensive.
- Onboarding elements and features are limited unless you are on the premium plan.
- It is on-premise software and might require extra resources to install and set up.
For mobile app onboarding – Pendo
Pendo is a comprehensive tool that helps enterprise apps to create good product experiences and mobile app walkthroughs. They offer user feedback, product analytics, and user onboarding in one wholesome package.
However, it has its downsides which include:
- Limited onboarding elements – elements like tooltips, checklists, slideouts, and modals are limited. This means you can’t always create the best interactive walkthroughs for your users.
- Basic styling options – more advanced styling requires knowledge and implementation of CSS to deploy. If you are looking for a full no-code solution, Pendo is not it. Userpilot is better suited to this.
- It is expensive for non-enterprise companies.
- For companies that only want onboarding features, the user feedback and product analytics offerings might be too much than what you need.
How to use walkthrough software?
To create a great interactive walkthrough using your walkthrough software of choice, follow these steps:
1. Determine your key activation points – as discussed earlier, there are one or two key events that will deliver initial value to your customers and drive them to the Aha! Moment.
2. Once you identify the events, use 1-2 major actions that will take your users to the Aha! Moment
3. In the walkthrough software, set custom events as goals; and triggers to show if your user has achieved the first goal before moving to the second one.
4. Build tooltips and modals that point users to how to complete the key actions.
5. Cheer on the user when they complete the key actions and complete the onboarding flow.
What interactive walkthroughs to create:
Inspiration #1: Rocketbots
Rocketbots is a messaging platform that helps you connect all your inboxes in one app.
In this app, the Aha! Moment is realizing you can add any messaging service to the app.
Setting up a “space” is crucial to reaching the Aha! Moment. Therefore, new signups create a space on the welcome screen.
An onboarding checklist for you to complete is then displayed in the dashboard.
As you complete the checklist, the interactive walkthrough takes you to the relevant page and uses tooltips to point you to the right button to add a messaging service.
Instead of simply showing you around, Rocketbots’ interactive walkthrough leads you to the Aha! Moment.
This workflow helped Rocketbots double its activation rate from 15% to 30%.
Inspiration #2: Salesflare
Salesfare is a popular CRM using interactive walkthroughs for new user onboarding. In the welcome screen, it asks you to take a tour of the product.
If you start the tour, it introduces you to the key components of the Salesflare CRM.
Besides explaining to you what each step does, it guides you to organize your pipeline by doing it yourself to achieve the Aha! Moment.
After completing the tour, it prompts you to connect to various services as part of their activation metric.
Inspiration #3: Demio
Demio is a webinar hosting service that helps users to share webinars with the world. The new user onboarding starts with a product tour followed by an interactive walkthrough.
The interactive walkthrough asks you to first join a webinar.
Once you join the webinar, a Demio employee explains via video that this is an example of the kind of webinar you can host here.
After the introduction, you take over the webinar. You can share your webcam or slides. Fake attendees are chatting on the sidebar. Once you realize how easy it is to do a webinar by interacting with this fake webinar, you have reached Demio’s Aha! Moment.
Inspiration #4: Tallyfy
Tallyfy helps business owners streamline and automate workflows. The Aha! Moment for this app is realizing the simplicity and efficiency with which you can organize various tasks for your teams to complete.
First, a modal presents you with the option to watch a video.
Then the walkthrough takes you to the dashboard where two tasks are set up for you to show how the app works.
Opening the first task opens leads to an explanation of what Tallyfy can help you do.
Once you click “complete”, the first task is done. This is the Aha! Moment.
The second task explains more about Tallyfy and asks you to select an option from the drop-down menu then complete the task.
Once both tasks are complete, you are given the option to now create your first task.
Inspiration #5: Trello
Trello is a task management app where you set up tasks and collaborate with your team.
The Aha! Moment for Trello is you being able to set up your first board, add tasks and move them across lists.
Therefore, Trello asks you to name your first board.
It asks you to add some lists to the board.
Then create some cards to add to the lists.
Lastly, it asks you to move those cards by dragging them between lists.
Using Trello’s interactive walkthrough, you now understand the hierarchy of a Trello board, how to create lists and tasks.
How long does it take to build an interactive walkthroughs?
There are a few things that will determine how long it takes to build the interactive walkthroughs:
- Whether you are coding the walkthroughs or using no-code software.
- Your choice of walkthrough software – some software are hard to use than others. Try Userpilot for a faster build.
- The number of key activation points in your walkthroughs. For instance, it takes 1-2 hours to build a workflow with 2-3 key activation points in Userpilot.
- Complex workflows take way longer – 1 persona can easily take 6-8 hours.
Interactive walkthroughs will deliver greater onboarding experiences for new users, drive feature adoption, push upsells and help decrease customer support costs in your product.
The result is better activation rates, retention and product adoption.
However, in order to create great interactive walkthroughs, choosing the right walkthrough software is important.
Userpilot stands out in terms of features, versatility, and value for SaaS companies. Why don’t you jump on a quick call with us to see how it fits into your product goals?