For better onboarding retention, get users to add value to your product as quickly as possible.
Spotify asks users to select their favorite artists instead of going to dashboard:
If you are a SaaS company that sells form building software, you could for example, ask what type of form the person is looking to create, then based on that selection provide an appropriate form template. This helps the user accomplish their task more quickly and they are more likely to stick with you after they've seen the value of your product.
SproutSocial does this well by instantly prompting to connect to social media accounts FIRST, and only then asking for additional information.
There are all sorts of ways to present this (header notice, widget, embedded, welcome email)
If you are already using a checklist in your app's dashboard, you can start them off with some progress already made so that the user doesn't feel like they are starting from zero.
For example, you can cross off an item they've already completed (see above screenshot).
You could start them off at 20% instead of 0% when it comes to completing various steps to get to the "aha" moment of your product.
In multi-step onboarding you could visually indicate that the first step is already finished (presumably the 1st click to the form).
Pory.io is great at this. Instead of just dropping you off to let you figure out the tool on your own, they provide you with starting templates.
If templates do not apply, you could add placeholder content so people know how to edit and where to start. Templates are a great way to get people to skip all the busy work of starting from scratch and provide a semi-finished starting point.
Canva does an excellent job by allowing people to select an asset they wish to create, and present fully-designed examples that only require some tweaking.
Most SaaS companies add their integration instructions in support documents. If the user has to leave your dashboard and hunt down support docs, they could just as easily go do something else.
By providing relevant integration videos within the dashboard, you keep the user engaged and more likely to finish the setup.
Memberstack provides a handy Webflow integration tutorial for people who are building in Webflow.
If your tool or app integrates with other popular platforms, consider adding those integrations into the onboarding flow.
You often see companies have an "integrations" tab or section in their app, but very few add those to onboarding.
We can bypass the standard behavior and ask the user to integrate with a popular tool in a multi-step onboarding process. They have the option to skip, but once they add a one or two click connection, they are more likely to get hooked or have a chance to expose your product to everyone at their company.
Duolingo gives users virtual "lingots" which encourage user to keep going in order to collect enough to spend them.
Priar.io does this by letting you preview their product with YOUR content before hitting "Generate link" to create an account.
BetterUptime prompts you to invite your colleagues as additional users:
Netflix does this well by offering a free upgrade at the time of the trial.