You've built a great SaaS product and your first users sign up, how to make the great first user experience with the product? Easy.. Create an Effective SaaS Onboarding Email Sequence
5 Steps to Creating an Effective SaaS Onboarding Email Sequence
You've built a great SaaS product and your first users sign up, how to make the great first iuser experience with the product? Easy.. Create an Effective SaaS Onboarding Email Sequence
A key part of this is creating an effective onboarding email sequence that will introduce new users to your product and its features, so they can start getting value from it right away.
In this article, we'll go over the steps you need to take to create an onboarding email sequence that will help new users get the most out of your product.
#1 What is onboarding email sequence and why is it important
Onboarding is an essential part of the user experience and product led onboarding especially important for SaaS products.
An onboarding email sequence is a series of emails that are sent to new customers or subscribers with the goal of helping them get the most out of your product or service.
SaaS onboarding email sequence- is a sequence of onboarding emails which fits best SaaS product.
Email onboarding is one part of the whole user onboarding strategy. From the marketers and customer success managers’ point of view, it is a great user communication channel to learn better about who your users are, what content they engage with, and how to tailor other onboarding channels for their needs.
Together with it you can provide to users in product onboarding, website experience, some group community onboaridng like invitation to Slack group.
#2 Why onboarding email sequence is important?
A well-crafted onboarding email sequence can be extremely effective in getting new users engaged with your product, and can even lead to increased retention and conversions.
There are a few key elements that make up a successful onboarding email sequence:
- A clear and concise welcome message
- A focus on the benefits of your product or service
- A step-by-step guide to using your product or service
- Helpful resources and links
- Personalized content
#3 Main challanges with onboarding sequences
Onboarding email sequence is a very powerful tool but it takes time, resources, and failures to master. If you do not do mistakes in your strategy, you are probably not analyzing or collecting enough data. Here are some common mistakes with onboarding that should be avoided for a perfect sequence.
❌ Not listening to your users
Not gathering feedback from your SaaS onboarding email sequences and not listening the questions that are coming as responses to the tutorials leads to bad understanding of what customers really struggle with.
❌ Not personalizing the messages
Creating general content for all users is a bad onboarding email sequence strategy. Most companies have at least 2-3 user segments. Adjusting your strategy to specific user requirements is a way to boost engagement and open rates.
❌ Bad timing
If your SaaS onboarding email sequence is unbalanced, users might get lost.
Email sequences can use both action-triggered and time-based emails. With first it’s important to build a customer journey and send emails as soon as possible after the user is completing a certain action. While with time-based emails it must be sent not too often but not too rare. Perfect time for distance between messages is 2-3 days.
❌ Ending onboarding at the point of sale
Your onboarding strategy can have various goals, one of those is to lead users to the sale. However, it doesn’t end there, your onboarding can continue to extensively educate users about your product. This generates engagement and gives space to communicate with customers.
❌ Copying support articles
Your onboarding email sequence should complement and enhance support materials but not copy them exactly into the message. Using support articles is good to refer users to the support center and answer their frequently asked questions.
❌ Not A/B testing
❌Not optimizing emails for mobile
#4 Characteristics of a good SaaS Onboarding email sequence
A good SaaS onboarding email sequence should have a few key characteristics in order to be effective. First, it should be personal and tailored to the individual user. It should also be brief and to the point, providing just enough information to get the user started without overwhelming them. Finally, it should be easy to follow and logical in its progression.
An effective onboarding email sequence will help a new user quickly and easily get started with your SaaS product. By following the steps outlined above, you can create an email sequence that will set your users up for success from the very start.
Let’s see what differentiates a good email from a bad one in user onboarding.
Emails in SaaS onboarding email sequnce contain a few characteristics that must be fit to lit user engagement. Combining as many of those as possible will leverage user onboarding through all channels.
✅Catchy subject line
Getting user attention from the first seconds should be a top priority when building an onboarding sequence. What is the point of email if no one opens it?
Personalization is a great way to enhance subject lines. Placing a user name or special occasion words in a subject drives attention to the email. Provide benefits as coupons and discounts in the subject line to catch your users right away to open your email.
Questions as subject lines work great too. A couple of examples of great onboarding subject lines:
Personal touch should start from subject line but it does not end there, 67% of users have used personalized reccomendations when shopping. Personalization is the key to build trust with users and show that they are heard and understood. There are many ways of personalizing your messages, e.g. event oriented hooks (birthdays, NewYear, etc.), name personalization, role-based personalization (Admin, User, Creator), action-based personalization.
Tailoring messages for specific user groups is a great advanced onboarding strategy. At MarbleFlows, we have 3 user groups each of those is receiving onboarding materials based on their needs. Simple example is to share templates, use cases, and right level of education to different user segments, like first-time user, experienced, and professional.
✅ Event-oriented personalized hooks
Mentioning events in the geographical location of your users tailors the onboarding strategy. User has sighed up for a product before New Year? Create a special New Year onboarding sequence with providing special offers and hot educational materials for that season.
✅ Name personalization
Simple, yet very effective. Using a user’s name often in a message creates a tone of voice in your emails and generates engagement. We all love to hear when someone is calling us by our name, right?
💡 Using names with questions in subject lines is a trending way to boost open rates.
✅ Role-based personalization
Give your users right materials based on what are they using your product for. Gathered user-data should be extensively used in email sequences. Building at least 3 email onboarding sequences based on your user roles helps to tailor the message and provide correct use cases to right people.
✅ Action-based persoanlization hooks
Create a bunch of emails that will be send after user performs a certain action in your product. For example, “Hi, you have checked those items in our shop, maybe you will be interested in those? (add examples for a specific user).”
It’s important to balance personal hooks, as it is hard to personalize each message for every user. Using personal touch wisely and frequntly will help in boosting engagement and building rapport with users.
✅ Complementary to your in-app onboarding experience
Emails should take into account education that you place inside your product. Repeating the same information both inside the product and in emails will turn users away. They either stop opening your emails or using your product.
Gathering information from in-app user experience helps in tailoring strategy for specific user roles (if you wondered how to identify those roles discussed in a part above).
Astonishing onboarding must take into account time and relevance of the in-app materials and enhance them by continuing the support in emails.
One part of onboarding is communicating the value of your product to users to convert more sales. Most efficient way to deliver the idea is to motivate users to understand it. Using triggers and positive affirmations hooks users to try out new things.
First comes the trigger that catches user attention and leads them to action. The action usually performed inside the app, but it can be placed inside email using Mailmodo templates.
Then after performed action comes the reward, like 15% discount, for example. Users are then returned to the product page where they can collect the reward and use product features.
✅ Informs and supports
Emails must deliver value of the product. Customers simply cannot know everything about your product and use cases. Brand’s role is to guide them throughout the process and help understand the most efficient ways of getting the most from product/service.
Emails must cover user journey from sign-up to the new coming features. They should be informative and full of practical information on use cases, features, templates, etc.
✅ Not too much but not too little
Not to make a crucial onboarding mistake, take into account timing of your time-based and action-triggered emails. Time-based emails should frequently appear in your users’ inboxes. Ideal time for onboarding emails is to have 2-3 days break and then follow-up.
✅Catchy profile image
Using animated profile images in email pops-up right away to the eye in the inbox. Look at the example of Windscribe. Gif image is the first one our of all emails that gets user attention.
#5 Examples of great onboarding email sequences
1st. Marbleflows onboarding email sequence
Why we love it:
- Great interactive experience
- Occasion based education - live webinars
- Feedback collection
2nd. Typeform onboarding email sequence
We wil love it:
- Tailored templates and support cases
- Contact details provided
#6 Step-by-step plan to create an effective onboarding email sequence
After inspiring with examples of onboarding, looking at common mistakes and learning characteristics of fabulous emails sequences… Let’s finally build one 🔥
Step 1. Creating an onboarding sequence plan.
Outline your goals and targets from onboarding. Most CRM show statics for open rates and other metrics which makes it easier to analyze campaign results in the end. Check what data do you have access to and focus on it when creating an onboarding plan for your SaaS onboarding email sequnce.
The sequence as a whole should clearly and incrementally guide users through the steps they need to take to achieve your desired outcome. (c) Onesignal
Answering those questions will help you to plan you user onboarding strategy and clarify things before running a campaign:
- What do you want to achieve from your email sequence? More sales, higher product adoption, more visits to the product?
- How your customer journey will look like? What is most helpful for users after the sign up page?
- Can you do time-based and action-based onboarding or is it better to focus resources on one of them and master it first?
- Do you have enough support materials in-app? Are there any other events going on at the time of onboarding to invite your users?
- How many emails do you want to send and how frequently to reach your goals?
- How many user groups can you cover with your user onboarding process?
It’s also important to outline your testing from the beginning. Think about how many user segments do you have and how do you identify them. What pains each of them has and what content will suit them best. Are your onboarding email sequence goals the same for all user segments or do they differ?
Step 2. Crafting email text and subject lines
Spending time on creating text templates and drafts for user actions and helpful materials to enhance their user experience is important.
💡 Create as many subject liens as possible from different types. You can use them later any time.
It is also useful to divide information for different user roles. Highlight the use cases for personalization in your emails for specific user segments.
Don’t forget to add engagement and interaction elements like forms, gamification and live event invites.
Follow the logic in your onboarding email sequence. Focus on providing the maximum value at the time when the user will open the email. When designing timing for your onboarding email sequence and the amount of emails to send, focus on the set goals. How many messages do you need to achieve those?
Here is a draft of an onboarding sequence plan that can help to build your own strategy. Sign-up and welcome emails are standard to start with in all onboarding email sequence. All other points are variable and will depend on your audience.
Step 3 Set up messages for testing and adding audience rules
After creating a clear plan with the content that you would like to send to your users, it’s time to create audience rules and set up the campaigns.
Creating user journeys seems easy in practice but when it is coming to crafting a real sequence it’s important to pay attention to details and keep up the organization.
The key to nailing this step is having a clear structure of user groups and onboarding strategy in place. If your audience is already divided into segments 50% of the job is done.
💡 Preview and test email as much as you need in testing inboxes. Do not forget to check how your email looks from mobile
In onboarding campaigns you can test everything together or part by part. For example, different subject lines with the same message or same message with different subject lines.
Step 4 Analyze test campaigns
Now your onboarding email sequence is sent to different user segments, it’s time to collect feedback and analyze the results.
Look at the plan that you had before sending emails. How many of KPIs have you reahced? Which messages are working better and generating more engagement?
It’s highly useful to set up interviews with your users and gather their feedback on SaaS onboarding email sequence. Was it clear? What can be done better?
Your clients are the end-users and their opinion should work together with your goals and hypothesis that you are testing.
Step 5 Finalising the strategy
After organizing all the results you can craft an ultimate onboarding email sequence strategy for your users. Taking into account what works and what doesn’t for your audience is basically an outline of the whole picture. It doesn’t mean that since now your strategy will not change and adapt. We tell you more. It can fail.
And that’s the best part! After realizing that a certain method doesn't work with your user, you have a clear picture of what they really need.
Don’t stop testing and making theories even after the planning cycle has ended.
#7 So, what to remember when creating an ultimate onboarding email sequence?
1. Your users already have all the answers you need.
Listening to your customers is number one rule when creating an onboarding email sequence. After using your product users already know what can be done better. Collect and process the information to use in your email sequence.
2. Creative content is the key to engagement
Starting from catchy subject and finishing with interactive email templates, catching user attention is still important in onboarding email sequence. Anything that works for your audience works here. Experiment to find the right fit 💥
3. Don’t forget about testing and optimization
A/B tests are vital part of a good onboarding email sequence. Brainstorming ideas that will be later on tested in practice, and then analyzed to find the best one - is a winning strategy.
Optimization for mobile devices will enable all users to be able to access your email. Ensure that all the interactive content you put inside the message will be reachable by all users.
4. Focus on your goals and value that you want to deliver
The main metric to look at in onboarding email sequence is if the campaign reached set goals. Are users successful in adopting your product?
#8 Does the provided materials help them reach their goals?
What are the main features that your users are using after onboarding email sequence?
Ask those from customers on feedback interviews and you will realize what goes right in your onboarding email sequence and what doesn’t.
Good luck with your next onboarding email sequence! Hopefully, answers given in the article will help you create a great and powerfull one 💙