Let’s say you’ve signed up another customer onto your email list. While getting users to sign up is a great first step, it’s just the beginning. Now the challenge is to get them to come back, get engaged, and (hopefully) convert to a loyal user or paying customer. This is where your email on-boarding comes in. They are essential messages which introduce users to your product or brand and lead them towards a desired outcome or conversion.
Implementing an effective onboarding flow requires three things upfront: understanding of the problem(s) solved by your product, empathy for your user’s point of view, and an authentic brand voice. With those key boxes checked, you’re ready to begin building out the onboarding flow.
Here are the five essential onboarding emails to consider at every stage of your user’s experience:
- The Opt-In
- The Welcome
- The Getting Started
- The Nudge
- The Immersion
This is the first email you’ll send to someone who’s just registered for an account. The opt-in has two purposes: to verify the user’s email address, and to ensure they actually wanted to sign up (opt-in).
The opt-in emails should have a clear subject line and succinct body content. Keep it short and simple, like this one from IFTTT:
Once you’ve verified your user’s email and interest, it’s time for a proper introduction. Just as you would greet a guest who walked through your door, you want to welcome your new subscriber —and make a good impression in the process.
You also want to give the user one thing to do — like add more information about themselves or log onto your site. To be effective, make sure the call to action is clear.
Here’s a great example of a Welcome email by Glossier, an e-commerce makeup brand.
In contrast, check out this welcome email by IFTTT. While it’s well-designed and catchy, there are too many call’s to action: (inset). Too much, too soon -- and not the strategy we’d recommend for you welcome.
The "Getting started"
Use your next email to explain how your product or services works, as well as what the user should expect. Given the explanatory nature of the email, it’s fine to include more content in the email body. Or not.
Take these two examples from Buffer, a social media management platform. In the first email, rather than get into details, it’s just a short paragraph with a link to a downloadable user guide. In the second email, Buffer takes a different approach, and explains how the “queue” works in the email itself.
The nudge email is just like it sounds — it’s a targeted message that pushes (or nudges) a prospect towards a desired action. The nudge depends on your business goals and objectives. Depending on the desired action, here are three effective strategies to consider:
If you want your user to do something, sometimes it’s better not to ask, but instead tell them about other people who’ve taken action, and then benefited from it.. Let’s say your goal is to get people to complete an online profile. You might say something like, “Hey Matthew, did you know that 90% of customers say they got the most out of our product after completing their profile?”
Alternatively, you might play on user FOMO Blog Lovin’ takes this approach by listing all the benefits I’m missing out on by not activating my profile:
If you’re in the business of content or social networking, you might be more interested in motivating user engagement than pushing them towards a specific action (like an e-commerce company might). In this case, consider employing the impression email, which reinforces your brand and experience of your site.
Email is an effective aspect of onboarding flow. If you want to get the most out of it, consider these five types of onboarding emails as you go through each stage in your user experience.