Email tactics for customer onboarding

Signing up means nothing for your product. A bit harsh, I know, but it’s the reality.

You’d think that once someone signs up for your product or service, that you’ve won your customer. Unfortunately, converting more visitors into real ones is hardly a straightforward job.

Look at it from your own perspective. For example, have you ever decided to do more exercise and get fit? You’ve downloaded an app and started following all the greatest instructors out there. Neat, right? It really did work. For a week. Then, all of sudden, you got stuck at work with this new project, so you had to stay up late and get the job done. Later on, you were tired and just wanted to binge-watch your favorite TV show. An entire season. In one weekend. After a while, the motivation for getting fit vanished into thin air. If you’ve ever been in this situation, or relate to any similar scenario, congratulations – you are a human.

The thing is, incorporating any product into your workflow is like trying to stick to any other type of new habit (hitting the gym, learning a new language, eating healthy, etc.). When we sign up for a certain product, we are faced with building the habit of using it constantly.

Building a new habit is a hard thing to sustain. The idea is for you to support the people who want to use your product, at least in those initial weeks. This is where customer onboarding comes into play. Let’s have a look!

What is a customer onboarding?

Remember the last time you downloaded an app and launched it? You probably received a welcoming message that shows you around the app, explaining the main features, setting up your account, etc. When you signed in you also probably received an email with guidelines and FAQs. This whole process is called customer onboarding.

So, customer onboarding is the process of helping users stay engaged with a product. It consists of a series of activities that help incorporate your product into the routine of the user.

A good customer onboarding will keep your users engaged, helping them understand the value they get from the product so that they can start using it successfully, and log back in to use the product again and again. Besides, if you offer them a free trial, the customer onboarding will help the users experience the value of the product right at the start of their trial. Hopefully, you’ll turn them into paying customers.

The process is usually backed up by email sequences that work together to help the user get the most out of the product they’ll be using.

Benefits of email onboarding

Many would think that email marketing is a bit outdated. However, email marketing is one of those tools that keeps on giving. As a matter of fact, according to research, the open rates of welcoming emails stand at 50%, which compared to a standard newsletter, is 86% more effective.

The emails are expected. The users have added their email address to your product and anticipate a welcoming email. Their interest at this point is very high and they are ready to start exploring. It’s also an external channel. New users won’t take the initiative to start using your product, so sending emails is an effective way to engage them and make them build new usage habits. This helps create lifetime customers. You need those for your business to succeed.

Best practices

Emailing can get tricky. There is a fine line between interesting and spammy. So how do we fit into the former category?

  1. Personalize. Humans relate to other humans, not companies. Mass emails blasted to subscribers are not that effective. Make it sound like you are having a one-on-one conversation. However, when I say personalize, I’m not just talking about using their first name. You also need to address where your user currently is regarding their onboarding process. This will ensure your emails are relevant and timely.
  2. Use your time wisely. Speaking of timely, never delay sending your welcoming messages. You should try and reward the interest of your subscribers as soon as possible. The users are waiting on their welcomes so it’s only natural that they get them when their attention span is at its peak. If you delay the process, you’ll notice lower engagement.
  3. Don’t focus on features. The idea is not to make your onboarding emails a manual. The end goal should be to teach the user how to navigate the product interface and to show the benefits of having the product. Tell them what they will gain by using your product and provide them with some tips and tricks.
  4. Send trigger-based emails. These emails are the ones you send based on your user’s behavior. For example, if your user is not active, you can send them a re-engagement email to win them back. Also, you could congratulate them if they completed a certain action and walk them through the next steps they need to do.
  5. Ask for feedback. The greatest enemy of all is churn. Most of the companies don’t even know why it’s happening and it’s important to find out why. You can send the why email 14 to 30 days after the trial period. This could help you understand the targeted audience, their onboarding problems, and what you can do to make it better. I’d also like to suggest asking for feedback every time you onboard a new customer. They should know best and could help you improve your product.

Essential onboarding emails

So where do we implement the above-mentioned list? Here are the must-have onboarding emails to help you connect with your users and create a bond between them and your business.

Welcome emails

Try to make your users feel welcomed. Keep welcome emails short and simple. Use this email to try and introduce yourself personally and explain how your product could help them. Explain what they should do next. The email can also include a single and focused call-to-action that links to a getting-started page. Here is the welcome email that every new Chanty user gets:


Short, sweet, and simple.

Educational emails

Once people start using your product, they might have questions about it. They could get overwhelmed by it and need help setting it up.

As a company that offers a tech product, we get a lot of those questions. This is where the educational emails can be set in motion. They are the best way to engage with your users and give them some tips on how to make the most out of the product. Here is how Remote’s educational emails give tips on using their services:


Re-engagement emails

Sometimes you might feel that your user has forgotten all about you. If they haven’t visited in a while, it’s time for you to send another email - a re-engagement one. There are many reasons this could happen. Maybe they didn’t get the value from the product, they lost interest, or they didn’t understand something. Whatever the reason might be, customize the email sequence based on their behavior. Make them tailored and personalized based on the customer's journey. For example, when a Chanty user created the account but didn’t invite colleagues to the chat, we sent them the following email to take the next step:


Evaluation emails

When the users have enough time to test things out, you can send them an email and encourage them to take the next step. This might be an upgrade of their plan or purchase of additional services. You can even ask them to invite friends to sign up or visit your site.

For example, Medium’s evaluation emails describe the benefits that users will gain once they upgrade. This will encourage them to keep on using the product and upgrade it to its premium version:


Successful onboarding campaign

A good onboarding campaign helps not only with user activation but also with their retention. The process starts at the beginning of the customer's journey, but it also lays out the foundations for the entire relationship. A great onboarding process helps the clients receive maximum benefits from your services. The goal is to set your customers up for the long-term usage of your product right from the start.

We can claim that we had a successful onboarding process if our customers log back into the product in the days, weeks, or months after the first use. Don’t forget that the onboarding campaign is a work in progress, and you should always try to improve it.

So, tell us, what are your thoughts on the whole onboarding process? Are there any tips you’d like to share with us?

Mia Naumoska is a Chief Marketing Officer at Chanty - an easy-to-use team collaboration tool with a video calling feature on a mission to help companies boost their team’s productivity. Having over a decade of experience in the marketing field, Mia is responsible for Chanty’s overall marketing strategy, managing an amazing team of marketing experts. Feel free to connect with Mia on LinkedIn.

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