Activation: +5 Effective Methods to Boost User Onboarding & Engagement (for SaaS companies)

Have you ever wondered why some SaaS companies thrive while others struggle to retain users? The answer often lies in the effectiveness of their user onboarding and engagement strategies. In today’s competitive market, merely acquiring users isn’t enough; the real challenge is activating and engaging them.

This article delves deep into the Activation stage of the AARRR Framework, shedding light on proven tactics that can transform your user experience. By the end of this read, you’ll be equipped with +5 actionable growth tactics that are pivotal for SaaS companies aiming for exponential growth.

Whether you’re a startup founder, a growth hacker, or a product manager, understanding these tactics will be instrumental in driving user engagement and, ultimately, revenue. We’ll explore strategies ranging from intuitive onboarding flows to leveraging data-driven insights for personalized user experiences.

So, what can you expect from this article? We’ll cover:

  • The importance of effective user onboarding.
  • How to leverage the AARRR Framework for SaaS growth.
  • Real-world examples of SaaS companies excelling in Activation.

#1 Add/Invest in product-led growth

  1. Can you offer a self-service onboarding?
  2. Decrease the time-to-value (aha-moment)
  3. Measure product usage and offer product-enabled sales activities
  4. Optimize conversion from active users to paying customers (e.g. opt-in, checkout, pricing, etc.)
  5. Retention Strategy
    1. How do you decrease churn (Customer Success, Training, Customer touchpoints, etc)
    2. How do increase revenue over time (upsell/cross-selling strategy, Pricing)
  6. What viral features can you add to your product to create a growth flywheel?

Learn more about the 5 Steps to Master Your SaaS Growth

#2 Optimize the Product Onboarding Experience

Optimize the product onboarding experience to increase your conversion rate to active and paying customers.

  1. Add progress bars, checklists, and guides in your product onboarding (for product-led growth) to guide signups to the aha moment.
  2. Remove complexity in product onboarding and focus on delivering value as fast as possible (quick time to aha moment)
  3. Optimize for quick-wins (first small aha moments)
  4. Offer enough support (e.g. segment signups and proactively offer sales support)
  5. Embed social proof in your welcome email sequence, signup page, pricing page, and help center.
  6. Set up a powerful welcome email sequence (trigger & time-based).

#3 Segment signups in the signup flow (custom questions)

You can try to segment new signups based on:

  • Lead Sources
  • Goals (e.g. ask them what their goal is)
  • Company size
  • Pricing plan

#4 Split your signup form into multiple small steps

Don’t ask for all the information upfront. Let them create an account (just name + email). Ask for more (segmentation) data on separate pages.

#5 Survey non-converting leads

Getting interviewed is easier than starting your own podcast.

Being interviewed on relevant podcasts allows SaaS companies to directly communicate with potential users, sharing insights, stories, and the value proposition of their product.

👉 Research and identify podcasts that align with your industry or target audience. Craft a compelling pitch highlighting your expertise and the value you can bring to their listeners.


In summary, the Activation stage is a critical juncture in a user’s journey with your SaaS product. Effective onboarding and sustained engagement are not just ‘nice-to-haves’; they are essential components of a successful growth strategy.

We’ve explored a range of tactics, backed by research and data, that can significantly enhance user activation. From creating intuitive onboarding flows to harnessing the power of personalization, these strategies are designed to deliver tangible results.

But the journey doesn’t end here. For those eager to dive deeper and explore a comprehensive range of growth tactics, we recommend 90 Days of Growth: with +90 Growth Tactics for your SaaS. This resource is a treasure trove of insights and actionable advice tailored for SaaS companies.

Remember, in the world of SaaS, continuous learning and adaptation are key. 🚀

Article by

Federico Martene

Federico Martene is a SaaS enthusiast; his interests lie at the intersection of business and technology, focusing on project and product management. Federico aims to contribute meaningfully to the SaaS landscape.