The ultimate guide to making SaaS onboarding videos from scratch

The first fortnight your customers get to spend with your product decides if they will continue with you. One way to woo them is to invest in onboarding. It’s so effective that 86% of people say they would stay loyal to a business that invests in onboarding content that welcomes and educates them. It’s even better if you leverage videos.

What is a SaaS onboarding video?

Onboarding is the process of introducing new customers to your platform. Traditionally they feel like signboards at a Walmart or a Best Buy.

But onboarding with a video is like giving a virtual guided tour to your customers. It simply works better.

Where to use SaaS onboarding videos?

  • Product walkthrough or introductions should be the first interaction your newly acquired customers should have with you. Some do this through onboarding software that guides the user to do certain actions (absolutely hate that). But the smarter ones like Sparktoro put out walkthroughs in their emails (both support and welcome) as well as in-app modules.
Product walkthrough - Onboarding videos
Product walkthrough - Onboarding videos
  • Help centers are everywhere but they are bland as they come. I’m tired of seeing the same Intercom and Zendesk themes everywhere. It feels almost as if all the people in town decided to wear blue shirts with a pair of black trousers.

You need to flaunt that summer outfit and come out all guns blazing.
Here is a help center by Coda we absolutely love.

Help center - User Onboarding videos
Help center - User Onboarding videos
  • Academy: While most of the Hubspot courses are around skills. You will realise almost all of them subtly plug Hubspot products. And that’s the purpose of an academy to teach a skill which not only helps the user to be successful but successful with your product.
Academy - Onboarding videos
Academy - Onboarding videos

Do you want a similar academy around your product?

We at Content Beta specialize in building such quick-win videos courses that can help you onboard new customer or even with your marketing funnels.

What should a SaaS onboarding video include?

The Anatomy of a Winning SaaS Onboarding Video includes the following:
1. The Introduction – Make Sure You Introduce The Company And Your Product. They should be the highlight of your video and must be explained in a simple yet engaging way making it easier for prospects to make their choice.

2. The Script – Your video is not a result of the production cost you pour into it. To get the best results, you need to understand the customer personas that you wish to target very clearly and accordingly write an engaging script for them, Use visuals and language that your customer persona would be familiar with and use on a day to day so that they can understand your product very clearly with no much effort from their side, making your value proposition stand out

3. Storytelling – Having a long video with just ongoing facts might be quite boring for your audience. Creating a storyline is by far one of the best ways to engage your audience. People connect with stories better and so weaving your story around your product and sharing it around can be extremely beneficial to increase trial adoptions

4. The Setup – The value proposition that you provide can be one of the most important things to consider. Make your videos more benefit-oriented rather than just talking about you. Try to understand what results in the customer persona would get from your product and make sure to highlight these in your video so as to make it easier for your prospects to make their decision in adopting your product.

Why do you need onboarding videos?

  • Makes your product self-service

It’s the era of DIY and customers crave autonomy.

Give more freedom to the user, let them figure out what works best for them and you can be a catalyst.

  • People prefer videos

Viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch it in a video compared to 10% when reading it in text.

  • Increases Adoption

Videos will help your customer get the ‘AHA’ moment sooner than you would imagine.

This not only increases feature adoption but the adoption of the product as a whole. You win loyalty not just revenue.

  • Reduces support tickets

If most of your customer success team’s time is tied up answering support tickets, then they are on the reactive side of things. What you want is for them to be more proactive. Give them their Mondays back xD

  • Reduces Churn

Attracting new customers and selling to them is 5 to 25 times depending on your industry more expensive than retaining and expanding the accounts of your current customers. However, on average, only 18% of the companies focus more on Customer Retention, while 44% focus on customer acquisition.

Why do you need onboarding videos_
Why do you need onboarding videos
Learn How Content Beta helped Kissflow launch a $550 course in 8 weeks?
And it’s not just Kissflow, we work with many industry leaders to watch video examples

How to make onboarding videos from scratch?

Onboarding videos from scratch
Onboarding videos from scratch

We will walk you through the process we used while making an onboarding course for Kissflow, the industry leader in workflow automation software.

Step 1: Plan

Make a detailed outline of what each of your videos would cover. Use cases, best practices, examples, or anything else they need to include.

Involve everyone from your organization that has worked on the product for this.

We also like to make rough, one liner pointers to define the scope.

Step 2: Design

Make a script with visual cues. Remember to have a rough idea of how you want the final output to turn out. Apply the laws of copywriting here but with more strictness.

For example, we have rarely seen people use the word ‘hence’ while they talk. So we don’t use it in our scripts.

Next comes a storyboard.

Storyboards are like wireframes for your final video. These are the bridge between your video and the script.

You can use a variety of tools here like Figma, Canva, Prezi, or Google Slides.

We prefer to use PowerPoint. Because believe it or not, PowerPoint can do much more than boring office presentations.

Don’t believe me, look at the sample for the same script below.

Step 3: Produce

Now comes the heavy lifting. Get one of your team members mic’d up like Drift or Pipedrive do use software like Synthesia, or hire a professional voice-over artist to help you. Record them and put them through your video editor.

You can simply go for Loom or go for something we prefer like After Effects or Camtasia.

For all the assets like graphics, background music we prefer Envato Elements.

Step 4: Deploy

After a few revisions you will reach a video you love (we know it never happens but we hope you do).

You need to host it on a platform like Wistia, Youtube or Vimeo.
We personally prefer Vimeo because of the collaborative capabilities it gives us.

Not only can you review it, you can also choose how it will look when it is embedded at your desired location.

Step 5: Refine

Now leverage data. See where the drop-off points are, see which video is being viewed the most, see what people are trying to look for. Use all of this and make your videos even better.

SaaS space is evolving. It’s evolving faster than ever. You will be launching new features and tweaking the interface more often. Good thing for the customers, not so much for the training team. This also means that the videos will become obsolete sooner than you would like them to be.

To tackle this we try to use a simplified UI.

The complete list of SaaS Onboarding Videos DIY tools you will ever need

How long should a SaaS onboarding video be?

The length of a SaaS onboarding video depends on a number of different factors, such as the complexity of the product, the target audience and goals.

A short video that introduces the main features and benefits to customers might be enough for a simple product.

On the other hand, a longer video that provides more detailed information on how to use every feature would do better with an audience that needs more hand-holding.

While most brands use short 1-3 minute bite sized videos to target the user attention spans , on occasions 10-15 minute long onboarding videos have also proven successful on products that involve prospects that are already interested and hence are here for a deep understanding or complexity.

How much does SaaS onboarding video cost?

The expenses depend on different factors like the complexity of the video, number of variables to be included among other things. The cost also varies across platforms like YouTube, Facebook ads etc.

Keep in mind, it is not about the production cost of your video that drives success. You can work with simple animations, transitions and a lot more and your users will still love the video.

This would be because rather than a new visitor who needs to be enticed into trying out your product, this is someone who has spent time choosing your product, signed up and now wants to learn more about it.

Rather than focus on budget, focus on your customer. Understand what are their real problems, hindrances and inhibitions from using your product. Solve them at the root as soon as they sign up and it’s then that your customer feels valued.
Some tips on how you can reduce these costs significantly

How to take your onboarding videos to the next level?

Hack 1: Recognition

Adding elements recognition such as achievement badges or certificates can get the users to engage more by appealing to their need for social status within your community.

Social media companies like Reddit and Facebook use this a lot.

As users use Reddit, they receive coins for their posts and level-up for each chat thread and groups they comment on.

Facebook has their own version where top-page commentators get various badges for their interactions.

Closer to home Hubspot, Drift and Pipedrive give out certificates and badges as you complete their courses. Apart from a fleeting dopamine rush this instills virality into your program.

Think of the number of people who have ‘Hubspot certified’ in their bio on Linkedin.

Hack 2: Chunking

Cognitive overload is overwhelming when you put out a 30-minute video.

I bet no one is going to see the whole video unless they are super motivated.

To fix this use chunking. Basically, group information into smaller chunks and let them tell the larger story.

We have seen the sweet spot to be 2-3 minutes and as a thumb rule 140 words is about one minute. 

Hack 3: Use faces

My problem with most of the onboarding videos is that they are all UI recordings.

And the problem with UI recordings is that they are not engaging.
Humans prefer humans.

So try and use not only human voices but human instructors in your videos.

Sprinkle some animations or live-action shots and suddenly you are telling a story not giving a tour.

Hack 4: Give back

Chances are your certificate and badges aren’t worth much to the user. HubSpot has built its brand on content for years now. No way your certificates will hold the same value.

To counter this you can give something tangible. Say a one week premium trial if the user completes your course or, like Clickup, credits to use.

Hack 5: The beginning and the end

It’s important to set the context because you can never know for sure where the viewer is coming from.

Non-linear customer journeys, you see.

So begin videos with a title and a short intro of what this video will be about. End the video with a recap and tell your viewers what steps to take next.

Hack 6: Do not overlook quality

The output, in my opinion, is as important as the process.

Focus on getting professional voiceovers rather than recording on your computer mic and write actual scripts instead of improvising.

These are sure to take your videos to the stratosphere as compared to your peers.

Do you want to take your onboarding video to the next level?

We at Content Beta specialize in producing customer education content that can help you onboard new customer and help your marketing cut through the sea of competition.

Why should you listen to us?

Content Beta has been around for less than a year. But even before CB, the team worked with the likes of Walmart, EY and Amazon. We built courses for these behemoths. So instructional design is something we know well.

But even in this short time we have been able to give immense value to SaaS companies of sizes ranging from $1-$10mn in ARR. We work with Manychat, Pipe, TapClicks, Compstack, Rudderstack, Kissflow, Taskworld, StructuredWeb just to name a few.

Our customers love us and you get to see the process firsthand.

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5 great examples of onboarding videos

#1: Hubspot

Hubspot is the gold standard for content marketing, right? And the cherry on top is their videos are nothing lesser. Beautiful animations, graphics, icons and transitions are enough to make anyone mesmerized. Even though this one is lesser than one minute.

#2: Ahrefs

There are few best SEO tool lists in which Ahrefs don’t find a mention. One of the reasons for that is high product adoption which comes from their spectacular onboarding videos delivered by  the one and only Sam Oh.

#3: Moz

Moz is again an industry leader. Even though the legendary Rand Fishkin doesn’t deliver their educational content anymore, the DNA still lives on. The DNA of crisp onboarding videos.

#4: Webflow

Though a relatively newer entrant in this list, Webflow has made a name for itself through a funny conversational storytelling that captures the fancy of a slightly younger audience. Not to mention the background score, videography and edits make us fall in love with Webflow more day by day.

#5: Salesforce

Salesforce is the ultimate SaaS product and so are their videos. With all that data and experience over the years, Salesforce knows what to tell whom and even how to tell. This style might as well be the easiest to steal from. Simple yet effective.


Investing in a well-thought onboarding video program will give your product a competitive edge. It will create more than loyal customers for you. It will create brand ambassadors.

That’s why forward-thinking companies from CISCO to Microsoft have developed training programs to help retain customers and build a loyal brand following.

The question is, will you?

Ready to get started?

Avoid spending long hours in Onboarding video production and fix customer churn today!

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