7 Onboarding Email Hacks You Need To Try

7 Onboarding Email Hacks That’ll Boost Engagement And Retention

Are your onboarding emails helping to retain and engage your user base? Perhaps you audited your email marketing and found that your onboarding email welcome sequence could use some attention.

To get straight to the point…

Test These Impactful Onboarding Email Tactics To Increase Engagement & Retention

1. Have Users Accomplish Something Tangible

When a user first starts using your software, they can get a bit lost. So, make it easier for them by offering a quick, gamified guide which can help them find their way. Use progress bars and checklists to your advantage.

(source: useronboard.com)

Set up some basic actions that they have to complete and give them something at the end of the process. For instance, an extra 7 days of the free trial. Make sure that they know that there is a reward.

You can also give them a discount or anything else that counts as exclusive in your software. You accomplish two goals this way – you show them how to use your software and push them to reach their “aha” moment.

2. Allow Users To Work At Their Own Pace

The biggest mistake you can make is to rush your users. If they are still on the free trial, you don’t have to send them an email every day asking them when they’ll pay for a real membership. Instead, follow the example below and offer them help in getting the most out of their free trial.

(source: freshbooks.com)

By giving them an empathetic human touch point, they’ll be more likely to bite into an upsell and/or spread the word about your product.

3. Use Natural Language to Hide Automation

Check out the message below. It is a great example of how an automated onboarding email can be so personal. Look at what Dave (from Drift) did there – he was honest about the automation and admitted that he doesn’t know the user yet. The email is kind of funny and certainly different. It’s quite short and the copywriting is strong. He also asks the user to engage on a deeper level.

(source: drift.com)

^Give your users someone real that they can talk to if they choose to.

4. Proactively Address Common Pain-Points

Take a look below at how Headspace, the meditation app, is proactively addressing a key pain-point of their user-base. They understand that not everyone has time for a full-blown meditation at home. So, they employ an onboarding email that directly addresses the “problem” and offers a solution. 

(source: medium.com @clevertap)

Anticipating common objections and proactively calling out solutions helps to remove friction and increase stickyness. 

5. Send Personalized Reports

Personalization is a big word nowadays and it spans all aspects of marketing. However, true personalization relies on providing value to the individual – not just calling them by their name and using a “hello @ email address”. These are common courtesies, not something that you do to serve your customers.

However, providing custom reports, like the one in the example below, makes the experience of interaction with your product feel even more personalized. FullStory delivers custom reports on a weekly basis to all of their customers.

(source: medium.com @aloha–welcome emails)

Many products are using now using “personal reporting” as a way to engage with their user-base in a meaningful way. Spotlight sends alerts on spend and marketing performance. FullStory sends usage overviews. Even Facebook is now sending push notifications detailing your average screen time breakdown.

6. Show “How” Through Video Embeds

This is an example of a solid onboarding email.

When a new user signs up for a free trial of your software, they may not be sure how to use it. Your job is to show them how – and quickly before the confusion causes them to quit.

Embedded video help users learn how to use your product in a format that is super easy to digest and understand.  Rather than typing out paragraphs of if/then steps, you spend 60 seconds walking them through a screen recording. 

For easier digestion (and maximum impact) – try breaking your onboarding down into several 2-minute videos and embedding one or two in each email of your onboarding drip.

7. Leverage These Tools To Increase The Impact Of Your Onboarding Emails

Tools to improve your onboarding email copywriting:

  • Via Writing and WritingPopulist are grammar resources which can turn your emails into grammatically accurate beasts of onboarding marketing campaigns.
  • Academized and Coursework Service are online proofreading tools used by services like UKTopWriters.com. For a good reason too – it’s so much easier when software can catch all of your mistakes.
  • Simplegrad and State Of Writing are blogs with useful suggestions on writing great onboarding emails and finding a writing style that works for your company.
  • Essayroo and Boomessays are editing tools recommended in Essayroo review. You can use them to cut out all the fluff and get started with fresh and direct writing.
  • My Writing Way and Let’s Go And Learn are sites which can offer you writing guides which can help you write amazing copy that grabs attention.

*And shoutout to Grammarly – an excellent (and free) writing assistant.

Tools to improve your onboarding email content:

  • Loom allows you to easily record your screen, edit, and embed… all for free.
  • Awesome Screenshot allows you to screenshot, edit, and annotate images … all for free.
  • Nickelled helps you create interactive walkthroughs with step-by-step annotation.

BONUS: Tools to improve your strategy:

  • Ladder’s free Playbook Database has over 800 tactics to help you find ideas on what to test next
  • Spotlight serves as an automated data analyst, ensuring visibility on best-performing segments (messaging, creative, audience, etc) which can help fuel your onboarding segmentation and tactic selection

*Want expert help increasing your user retention and engagement? Talk to a Ladder strategist!