The No-Nonsense Guide to Creating SaaS Product Tutorials [+ Checklist]

Vartika Bansal
February 28, 2024
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You've just bought a complex, high-tech gadget that promises to make your life easier. You open the box buzzing with excitement. 

But instead of a quick start guide, you find a note that says, "Figure it out." 

The excitement quickly turns to shock and frustration. This is exactly how users feel when they sign up to your product but find no guidance for getting started. 

You need product tutorials to create a seamless user experience and help users get the most out of your product from day one. It’s critical for making your product truly self-serve and driving adoption. 

We’ll break down the six main steps for building high-impact product tutorials that your users will love.

Why you need product tutorials for your SaaS

Ever wondered why some apps feel like a breeze to use while others make you want to pull your hair out? The secret sauce isn't the app itself. It’s how well the app teaches you to use it. 

That's where product tutorials are critical for SaaS companies to educate users and drive continuous adoption. Product tutorials can:

  • Speed up the onboarding process: New users can often feel overwhelmed by a complex product. Tutorials can guide them step by step, making it easier and faster for them to get up and running. This is crucial for keeping users engaged from the start.
  • Reduce support tickets: By answering common questions and solving typical problems through tutorials, companies can significantly cut down on the number of support requests they get. This not only saves time and resources but also keeps customers happy because they can find solutions quickly on their own.
  • Help customers get the most value: Every feature of a SaaS product is designed to offer value, but customers might not always see this value on their own. Tutorials can highlight and explain these features in context, showing users how to utilize the product fully to meet their needs.
  • Encourage feature adoption: When new features are rolled out, tutorials can act as a showcase, encouraging users to try them out. This is important for keeping the product fresh and ensuring that users are taking advantage of all it has to offer, which can also lead to higher satisfaction rates.
  • Build a self-service resource library: Over time, the accumulation of tutorials creates a comprehensive resource that users can search through whenever they have a question. This empowers users to help themselves at any time, making the product feel more accessible and user-friendly.

While the nuts and bolts of software are crucial, you can’t deliver customer satisfaction until users know how to use your product effectively. Let’s learn how to empower users to get the most out of your product.

A step-by-step guide to creating product tutorials 

Let’s break down our six main steps for designing product tutorials with real ROI. This isn’t another random set of tips for making generic tutorial videos. 

We’ve created this step-by-step guide after building dozens of tutorials for our own users. So, dive in to get first-hand insights from our experience with a handy checklist in the end.

1. Identify key features and common user challenges

One of the first steps to creating product tutorials is to identify where users need help. You have to understand your product’s core capabilities and find areas where users get stuck or experience friction.

Here are a few ways to do that:

  • Analyze customer support inquiries: Dive into your customer support tickets, chat logs, and email inquiries to uncover common themes and challenges customers face. This direct feedback is invaluable for spotting areas where users struggle and need extra guidance.
  • Gather insights from user behavior analytics: Use analytics tools to track how users interact with your product. Look for patterns such as features that are rarely used or pages where users spend a lot of time, which may indicate confusion or interest.
  • Conduct user surveys and interviews: Reach out to your users directly through surveys or interviews. Ask specific questions about their experience with the product, including any difficulties they've encountered and features they find most valuable.
  • Run usability testing: Conduct usability tests with real users to observe how they use your product in real-time. This can help identify where they stumble and what features they leverage to accomplish their goals.

Remember that users often share their experiences, ask questions, and provide feedback in community forums or social media platforms. Monitoring these discussions can also reveal insights into user needs and pain points.

2. Segment your audience and document their journey

Not all users are created equal. Users come with varying degrees of tech-savviness and familiarity with your product. That’s why you need to segment your entire user base into different categories and tailor your product tutorials to specific needs, experiences, and skill levels. 

After all, users are more likely to engage with content that speaks directly to their needs and challenges.

So, start by creating detailed personas for your typical users based on your research. Include their:

  • Job roles
  • Industry and niche
  • Goals with your product
  • Tech proficiency

These personas should guide the content and style of your tutorials. 

For each persona, outline the typical journey they take with your product—from discovery through to advanced usage. Identify key touchpoints, decision-making moments, and potential areas of confusion or delight.

Based on the user journey, pinpoint stages where a tutorial could enhance understanding or reduce friction. Then, consider different formats for these touchpoints—like video, text, or interactive guides. Let’s learn more about these formats now. 

3. Choose the right format for your tutorials

Product tutorials come in many shapes. Different types of users prefer consuming these tutorials in specific formats at specific touchpoints. For example, a new user doesn’t want to watch a 30-minute webinar to understand your product. 

That’s why you should be aware of different types of product tutorials and decide where to use these formats:

  • Tooltips: small, informative texts that appear when a user hovers over a particular feature or element within the product, providing immediate, contextual help.
  • Product walkthroughs: step-by-step guides that lead users through the initial setup or core functionalities of the product. They are great for first-time users to get acquainted with the main features quickly.
  • Video tutorials: recorded demonstrations that show how to use specific features or perform tasks within the software. Videos are effective for visual learners and can be easily shared or accessed at any time.
  • Interactive guides: dynamic tutorials that interactively guide users through tasks directly within the app. These are engaging and help users learn by doing, which can improve retention of information.
  • Webinars: live or recorded sessions that provide a deep dive into product features, use cases, or best practices. Webinars are ideal for detailed explanations and allow for real-time questions and answers.
  • Knowledge bases: written resources that answer common questions and provide detailed explanations of features, troubleshooting steps, and tips for using the product more effectively.

Test each format strategically to create a seamless product experience and maximize user delight.

4. Use a good tool to create product tutorials

Deciding topics to create tutorials for [check]. Choosing the right format of tutorials [check]. All that’s left to do is to start creating these tutorials. 

Typically, you’ll open a blank Notion or Google Docs page. Then, write some textual content about the topic and add a short video created with a tool that rhymes with boom. And in just under an hour, you’re ready with one product tutorial. 

How about we change this process and create something more engaging for your users and less taxing for you? 

Enter: Floik’s interactive product showcases

Floik helps you create tutorials in three formats:

🪜 Step-by-step guides

📸 Explainer and talking-head videos

💻 Clickable product walkthroughs

You can simply capture your product in action—both browser-based products and desktop apps—with Floik’s Chrome extension. Then, fine-tune the tutorial with multiple editing capabilities like:

  • Crop and trim any part of the showcase
  • Edit click marks or zoom into any part of the showcase
  • Add AI voiceover and generate subtitles in 20+ languages 
  • Convert tutorials from one format to another in a single click
  • Create paths within a showcase linking to other relevant tutorials

And once your tutorials are ready, it’s easy to share them with a link or embed them anywhere with a smart embed code. 

5. Integrate tutorials into the product experience

A critical step in creating product tutorials is to decide where to place these tutorials. You can analyze user behavior data to pinpoint:

  • where users drop off
  • which features are underutilized
  • where people struggle or face issues

Use these insights to strategically place tutorials that can address these specific challenges. Here are a few tips to seamlessly integrate tutorials into your product UX: 

  • Start with user onboarding: Integrate a mix of product walkthroughs and interactive guides as part of the onboarding process. This initial touchpoint is crucial for setting the tone and helping new users feel confident in navigating the product.
  • Offer contextual help with tooltips: Use tooltips to provide short explanations for specific features within the interface. These should be triggered by user actions or appear when hovering over question marks next to features, offering immediate, contextual assistance without overwhelming the user.
  • Embed video tutorials within relevant sections: Place video tutorials or links to them within the product's UI, especially in areas where users might need extra help. Ensure these videos are easily accessible but don't disrupt the workflow.
  • Leverage product tours for deeper engagement: Offer product tours as a part of the dashboard or home screen for users to explore at their own pace. These can be more comprehensive and allow users to discover features relevant to their needs in a self-guided manner.

6. Run A/B tests and collect feedback to iterate 

The final step is to refine the user experience with all your product tutorials neatly placed within and outside the app. 

You can conduct A/B testing to get concrete data on how different versions of a tutorial perform. Then, choose the most effective tutorial based on actual feedback rather than assumptions.

Understanding which types of content are performing well is also crucial for focusing efforts on what truly benefits the users.

Even when you’ve finalized the entire product experience, first do a soft launch with a select few users and collect feedback. Make all necessary adjustments before rolling out to your entire user base.

Your checklist for creating high-impact product tutorials

checklist for creating high-impact product tutorials