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It’s easy to overlook the importance of a strong welcome email. After all, you’ve already gotten the customer to sign up, so they can just jump in and start using your product right? Your welcome email is your chance to steer your new user in the right direction. It’s your opportunity to give them the information they need to get the most out of your product.
If you blow it, you’re essentially leaving it up to the user to figure everything out themselves. The end result of that is higher churn, dissatisfied customers and more resources put towards customer support.
Let’s make sure that doesn’t happen to you. Here are eight tips to write onboarding welcome emails that drive users back to your product. And we also threw in some real-life examples for inspiration!
I mentioned it in our post about how to write effective dunning emails, but your subject line is super important.
It’s kind of like the curb appeal of a house (I’ve been watching a ton of HGTV lately). Have you ever driven down a road or community and all the houses look the same? They have the same colors, same yards and just look… generic.
But then, you notice the one house that has an attention grabbing color, beautiful landscaping with exotic plants and character out the yin yang?
Well, your customer’s inbox is the street, and all those generic looking houses are the emails they get every day. Your welcome email needs to be the house with the amazing curb appeal if you want to stand out.
The good thing is welcome emails have a couple of advantages over other types emails.
For one, according to multiple sources welcome emails have a higher open rate than other promotional emails.
This is probably because unlike most marketing/promotional emails, people are actually expecting this one. One study showed that 74% of consumers expect to receive a welcome email as soon as they sign up.
That also means you should send your welcome email immediately if you want to increase the chances of getting it read.
Another benefit of welcome emails is they’re seen as a helpful guide and non-promotional. When someone signs up for your product/service, they usually look to your welcome email for what they should do next.
So there aren’t a ton of fancy tricks here. You just want to make it clear what your email is about and who it’s from. Let’s take a look at a few examples:
This first one is from a WordPress plug-in called Link Whisper. The subject line is simple and includes a clear call-to-action directly in the subject line. When I see it, I know that I need to open it if I want to activate my purchase.
Here’s another example from Frase. They personalize the subject line with my name, and add a little flavor with an emoji.
Last, here’s one from Enhancv. Their tool lets you design resumes and cover letters. So their subject line is super enticing for a new user.
If you notice, all three of these examples have something in common. They give you a reason to click, and they all specify that they’re “get started” emails.
Here are a few templates you can play around with if you’re struggling to come up with ideas for your welcome email subject lines:
I think you get the idea. Just be clear with who the email is from, and give them a reason to click (which is usually to get started with their account).
I’ve received welcome emails that give me a whole list of tasks to do. It immediately makes me think it’s going to take up a bunch of time so I put it off.
That’s the exact opposite of what your welcome email should do.
Instead of giving new users a laundry list of things to do, give them one, maybe two action items per email. Your goal is to get them to login and start using your product so they don’t just sign up and forget about you.
Take a look at this example from our very own product.
The main call to action is clear—connect your billing data. This is the first step a user needs in order to start using Baremetrics, so it’s the focus of our welcome email.
But you’ll also notice that there’s a second link in the email. That link doesn’t just go to the homepage of our support center. It goes directly to an article about how to connect your billing data to Baremetrics. It’s there to support the main call to action, not an additional task.
I’ll talk more about this in the next tip, but just think to yourself—what’s the most important action item a new user needs to do in order to get started with your product?
The answer to that will determine what the main call to action for your welcome email should be.
Have you ever signed up for a SaaS product (or any other type of subscription) and been bombarded with multiple emails all at once?
Probably not the best experience, right?
It can feel overwhelming, and honestly, nobody wants to receive more emails than necessary.
The solution is easy. Think about all the necessary information a new user needs to know on their first day of signing up. Then, condense it into a single email.
This will force you to cut out all the unnecessary details you would’ve tried to put into two or three emails. When it comes to giving out information—particularly through email—the more concise you can be, the better.
Here’s an example of a series of welcome emails I received that could have easily been condensed to one or two emails at the absolute most. This is not shot at the company (they’re building a cool product), but it’s a good learning lesson.
I signed for Nodabl earlier this year, and received three different emails on the first day.
All these emails came within an hour. Let’s break down what we have here.
The first email is to verify your email address. Makes sense, because you want to ensure that people didn’t accidentally type in the wrong information when they signed up.
The second email is what I’d consider the official “welcome email”. They walk you through how to get set up.
The third email is meant to be a more personal welcome from the founder of the company. Since they’re a new company, they’re using it as an opportunity to gather feedback and learn about their users.
Those all sound fine, but who really wants to receive three emails from one company on the same day?
Here are two alternatives Nodabl could consider:
If they wanted to condense the emails, here’s what they could do.
First, skip the email confirmation message (just stay compliant with CAN-SPAM and GDPR requirements). Instead, they could verify the email address in their welcome email.
Then, to eliminate email #3, they could just send the official welcome email from the founder. And to get feedback/user information, they could work that into the onboarding process or include it in the welcome email.
Here’s an example of a single condensed version of their onboarding welcome emails.
For option B (spreading the emails out), they could just skip email #1, send email #2 upon signup, then send email #3 the following day.
And if you do want to send more than one “welcome” email message in the same day, space them out a bit!
If you use our Messaging tool, you have the ability to space out your welcome emails minutes, hours or days apart (I’ll talk more about this a little further down). Wait at least an hour or so before sending off an extra email after your initial first one.
A good rule of thumb is to put yourself in your customers’ shoes. How many emails would you feel comfortable receiving from a single company after signing up for their product?
If you really want to take your onboarding welcome emails to a new level, use segmentation to make them more targeted and personalized.
For instance, let’s say you offer a variety of products or plans/add-ons. What if instead of sending the same email to each user that signs up, you customized it based on the plan they signed up for?
I’ll use our Messaging tool to show you how to do it.
In the “Audience” section, we can define exactly who we want a message to go to. Since we’re targeting new users, we’ll choose customers that signed up less than a day ago.
Then, let’s say we want to create a message specifically for new customers who’ve signed up for Cancellation Insights. We’d just add a Plan filter, and the completed audience would look like this.
Some other good use-cases for segmentation would be:
If you offer free and paid plans, the welcome email you send to free users might be slightly different from the one you’d want to send to people that are already paying you.
You can create something similar with our Messaging by segmenting audiences based on UTM codes. Just setup UTM tracking for the source customers sign up from, then segment your welcome emails based on that.
As a content marketer, I use a bunch of tools that are marketed towards both agencies and individuals. For instance, ContentKing is a tool or SEO audits. They can be used by agencies, individual webmasters or people that work within companies.
If they were to find out which group users fit into (through their sign-up process) they could save that data with their CRM, then use it to customize their welcome emails.
That way, their welcome email to agencies could be about setting up their clients, whereas the email for individuals would be about how to set up their own website. It’s a small differentiation, but it can make a big difference when onboarding new users.
I think you get the point by now. But basically, there are a ton of ways you can segment your audience (location, industry, business type, etc.). Customize your welcome emails to make their onboarding process feel more personalized.