Onboarding Emails: How to Engage and Convert New Customers Faster

Onboarding is a very powerful concept.

Think about the workplace, for example. Onboarding serves the purpose of letting new employees get familiar with their new role and professional environment. Once they feel welcomed and encouraged by the company, they can work comfortably and bring value to the employer. 

Guess what – your customers need onboarding too! This process helps your new clients understand the value of your product/service, improves customer experience, and guides people through the buyer’s journey.

How do you make new clients feel at home with your brand? 

One of the most effective ways to onboard your new customers is to use onboarding emails.

In this article, we’ll guide you through the 7 best ways to leverage email onboarding for higher engagement and conversion rates and better sales for your business.

What is Email Onboarding?

Email onboarding usually consists of a series of emails that introduce your brand, product, or service to its users. Onboarding emails focus on:

  • Outlining the benefits of your product/service;
  • Educating your users about your brand and what it has to offer;
  • Providing tips to guide the new user down the customer journey.

Marketers distinguish several types of onboarding emails. These include:

  • Welcome emails. This is a type of email customers receive upon signing up to your platform or subscribing to your service;
  • Introductory emails. These emails present your product/service and outline its functionality and benefits. This type of onboarding email helps customers get familiar with your brand and the value it can add to their lives;
  • Guiding emails. They create a customer roadmap to help your new subscribers follow the buyer’s journey;
  • Re-engagement emails. If your customer hasn’t used your platform/service or engaged with your brand for a while, you can send them a re-engagement email. It helps bring back inactive clients;
  • Feedback/evaluation emails. It can be a survey, poll, or other types of feedback collection emails asking new customers to evaluate their initial experience with your brand/product.

Benefits of Email Onboarding

Why do you need email onboarding? Isn’t a short welcome email enough? The truth is, this aspect of your email marketing is essential to reaping some major benefits for your business:

  • Engaging onboarding emails help decrease the churn rate. Failure to successfully onboard new customers is one of the two top reasons for customer churn;  
  • They foster users’ engagement with your brand. Onboarding emails encourage users to interact with your business; 
  • They help you convert leads into real customers. 63% of customers say that the quality of onboarding is a major factor in their buying decision;
  • They are a good source of customer feedback. You can use onboarding emails to collect valuable information from your recipients. 

All these benefits are within your reach. All you need to do is implement the right email onboarding tactics in your email marketing. And we have collected the 7 best practices you can start using right now.

Email Onboarding: Best Practices

  1. Send your welcome emails right away

    Source: Tenor

    Welcome emails create the first impression of your brand in a new user/subscriber – and first impressions are essential. On top of that, welcome emails have a 42% higher open rate compared to other email types. 

    Don’t delay this initial contact with the new customers. They expect it to be swift and friendly. Besides, the earlier you send your welcome email, the higher open rates it will generate

    What to include in your welcome email?

    • Greet your new recipient/subscriber;
    • Briefly describe your brand and product/service and state your value proposition;
    • You can also tell your recipient what kind of communication they should expect with your brand. Will you send them regular newsletters and offers? What channels can they use to reach you? Etc.

    Take your cue from Crankbrothers. The brand creates great welcome emails. They thank newcomers for subscribing, outline the benefits of the platform membership, and suggest relevant communication channels.

    Bottom line: a good, timely welcome email will leave a lasting impression on your new customer and make them want to hear from you again.

  2. Personalize your onboarding emails

    No matter how hard you try, you simply can’t create a perfect one-size-fits-all engaging onboarding email. 

    To make your emails hit the right target recipients, implement personalization in your customer onboarding campaign.  

    • Segment your email list. Classify your recipients based on demographics, geographical location, and consumer behavior. Create email onboarding email templates for each segment to cater to different expectations and needs;
    • Use recipients’ names in your emails. This is a simple yet effective way to establish a close connection with your new customers. Add the customer’s name to your subject line as well. Emails with personalized subject lines have a 26% higher open rate;
    • Suggest relevant products to different customers. Based on your customer segmentation, offer relevant purchase ideas to your new-coming customers.

    Look at how Meetup leverages users’ initial signup data to generate valuable suggestions for their new subscribers in onboarding emails:

    Pro-tip: make your onboarding emails conversational and avoid a formal tone. Customers crave authentic human communication, not dry official brand updates.

  3. Guide the subscriber down the onboarding journey

    Source: Tenor

    An engaging onboarding email sequence is like a roadmap for your new customer. And your task is to make this roadmap simple, clear, and actionable. 

    Use guiding emails to provide recipients with relevant information on successful customer experience with your brand: 

    • Outline the purchasing process. Show your new customers the easiest way to shop with you or use your service. Provide relevant links, infographics, or onboarding videos, or even online training courses if relevant;
    • Tell them about your product/service key features;
    • Give your new customers some tips on how to make the most of their experience with your brand. Offer them to leverage a personal promo code, advertise your blog, or suggest relevant links.

    A good example of a guiding letter is a LinkedIn Premium onboarding email. It introduces the service and suggests the first steps the user can take to make the most of it:

    Bottom line: don’t leave your new customer guessing what they should do next. Give them clear guidelines that will seamlessly lead them down the buyer’s journey and help them get a top-notch experience with your brand. This approach will boost your conversion rates in no time.

  4. Tell your customers why your product/service is worth it


    One common mistake many marketers make when introducing their product/service in onboarding emails is talking solely about its features.

    In fact, you will motivate your new customers to purchase from your brand much more efficiently if you shift your focus. Yes, it’s important to let recipients know what characteristics and functions your product has. But they can get this information from a product manual or your website FAQ. In your onboarding emails, you will benefit more from emphasizing:

    • How your product/service will improve the customer’s life; 
    • How it addresses major customer pain points;
    • What problems it can solve, etc.

    In other words, focus on explaining how your product can be a real game changer for the customers.
    They want real value, great perks, and instant solutions.

    Duolingo aces the platform promotion in onboarding emails. Take a look at the email sent to a Super Duolingo subscriber below. Every mention of a service feature goes hand in hand with a clear explanation of how it will make the subscribers’ learning experience better and easier:


  5. Improve your CTAs

    Each of your onboarding emails should include a strong call to action (or several of those). CTAs are essential action triggers that help you convert recipients into real customers. If your CTAs are actionable and relevant, they will become the highlight of your onboarding emails and the conversion powerhouse of your email marketing campaign. 

    To make sure your CTAs hit the target and motivate email recipients to click and engage, you can:

    • Make your CTA buttons visible and attractive. Highlight it with a contrasting color, a different font, or text size. Don’t overdo it though. Maintain the overall design integrity of your email and emphasize CTA buttons in line with your layout appearance. You don’t want the recipients to find the CTAs too intrusive;
    • Opt for concise, action-oriented word choice. Shoot for 2-3 words in your CTA, and definitely not more than 5-6 words. And of course, use simple, compelling words that resonate with the email recipients. Instead of formal “submit”, “enter”, or ”proceed”, use more straightforward action words like ”get”, “try”, or “start”;
    • Generate a sense of urgency. If you want to convert your email recipients into real customers, you can enrich your CTAs with specific words that motivate people to act on your offer immediately. Encourage your email readers to try your product “now”, redeem their promo code “today”, and leverage a discount “right away”.


  6. Add social proof to your emails

    Source: DeviantArt

    If you want to further enrich your onboarding emails with content that motivates and engages new customers, leverage social proof. Nothing is more encouraging for a customer in doubt than visible proof that your brand has already provided value for other people.

    The best way to tap into social proof in your onboarding emails is to use user-generated content. UGC comes in handy in the form of: 

    • User photos with your product;
    • Reviews 
    • Testimonials

    Add UGC to your introduction emails
    to let the new customers see what your current clients say about your product/service. It will inspire trust and enthusiasm in your email recipients and bring them closer to finalizing their purchasing decision. 

    An American healthcare company GoodRX leverages social proof in their onboarding emails to show new customers how their service is changing people’s lives for the better. Brief testimonials and user profiles work as excellent motivation for new service subscribers:

  7. Follow up and ask for feedback

    Source: AvantGuard

    Last but not least – keep track of your customers’ experiences with your brand, products, and services.

    Follow-up onboarding emails are a great way to show that you care about your new customers. This is also a valuable source of information your brand can use to improve customer service, product quality, personalization, and many other aspects of your business.

    Besides, consumers appreciate it when brands want their input and opinion for growth and improvement. 

    To ace feedback collection in your onboarding email sequence, opt for simple, short emails that ask your new customers to offer their thoughts about your brand in a fast, accessible way:

    • Send out a short survey or poll requesting the recipient to rate their initial experience with your product/service/website, etc. An NPS survey is always a simple yet effective option;
    • If your newly converted customers have already made one or several purchases, you can ask them for a more detailed review or testimonial. Simply leave the links to the review forms in your follow-up email.

    Pro-tip: you can accompany your evaluation emails with CTAs that suggest further experience or purchases with your brand. Offer your recipients to upgrade their subscription plan, or check out other products you think they might find interesting. This is a great way to boost customer retention and promote the extra value your brand has to offer.

Final Thoughts 

Email marketing is an essential aspect of a successful customer onboarding process. Onboarding emails are a helping hand that engages and guides new customers through the buying journey. Leverage different types of onboarding emails to ensure you make the most of this marketing strategy.  

And of course, track the performance of your email onboarding campaign. Has your conversion rate improved? What about your click-through rates and CPA? Are your sales figures climbing?

Tracking the main email onboarding campaign KPIs will help you understand if it yields the right results so that you can adjust your tactics for better performance.

David Morneau is the co-founder and CEO of inBeat, a hybrid micro-influencer marketing SAAS/agency that helps brands scale their marketing efforts. He has helped over 200 DTC brands to date.

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