Boosting your bottom line via email onboarding

Want to make more money? Email your customers

Get users to adopt your product AND master its benefits

Onboarding is a powerful thing. It impacts churn, dropoff rates, and conversions. A good onboarding sequence strengthens your marketing message and product roadmap. A bad onboarding sequence makes every other part of your company work harder. 

A bootstrap-friendly and effective option 💰✅

Most companies leverage onboarding in fancy signups. Nothing wrong with that. But there's another option that's cheap and effective: email. You can use email onboarding alongside signups or as a standalone in early stages. Our two favorite tools for it are Mailchimp (great for visuals) and Drip (great for analytics and drip sequences).  

Email onboarding 101: Start with a purpose

First, get clear on why you're sending these emails. Your purpose should be some version of, "to help users become successful."  

In your marketing message, you promised something. If your onboarding emails don't show users how to claim that promise and become awesome, they'll leave disappointed. 😞 So, your onboarding should focus on helping customers succeed with your product. 

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Stellar graphic from UserOnboard

If you're just starting out with a make my customers awesome onboarding sequence, feel free to steal the outline below. 👇

Day 1: The very special welcome email 👋

This is the workhorse of your email sequence. Welcome emails have high open rates and set the tone for the rest of your messages so they should: 

  • Sound warm and personal 
  • Establish trust
  • Be useful to the customer
  • Ask a powerful question 
  • Focus on one (and only one!) value add 
  • Explain what comes next

Here's a good example of what that can look like, from Groove:

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Day 2: Drive toward a "WOW" moment 🎉 

Identify at least one experience that'll make users go, "oh wow, I really need this!" You've already told users what's valuable about your product - this is how you get them to feel that value. For Poshmark, their WOW moment is getting users to make their first purchase. They even offer free shipping to incentivize that jump. 

People are kinda impatient so make it extra easy to experience the WOW. 😁

Day 3: Activate user retention ⚓️

There's an action that makes your users stick around once they do it. For Twitter, it's following a certain number of people. For airstory, it's using a chrome extension called the researcher. For Dropbox, it's installing the desktop app. Whatever it is (or whatever you think it is) for your product, get users to do it within the first few days. 

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Thanks for this screengrab, Appcues!

Day 4+: Smash common barriers 🔨

Some parts of your product aren't intuitive. I know you're working on it (keep it up!) but these parts are barriers in the meantime. One way to make sure customers don't fall off the bandwagon (and a great way to sell some benefits) is to educate them around these barriers. Help them understand why it's good to use these parts of your product and how they'll become more awesome if they do.

Weeks 2-3: Extra education, gentle reminders, and gifts. 🎁

In the following weeks, trickle continued education and provide gentle nudges toward using your product. Here's an example of a good gentle nudge, from Groove

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Remember to stay cohesive throughout the whole sequence. Every email should be useful, friendly, focused, and customer-centric.

Bonus tip: A gift is especially helpful if you want to end your email sequence with a request to upgrade. 

Want to take this even further? 🏃

Email us and let us know. If enough of y'all show interest, we'll write up some ideas for supercharging. Stuff like drip campaigns, behavioral sequences, in-app triggers and other tips. 💥

"A good onboarding experience makes it as easy as possible for new users to take meaningful actions." 
Appcues

Want to see us cover a topic? Have major startup questions or sticking points? Email andrew@builtbykrit.com