Onboarding emails: Definition and 7 Steps For Creating Awesome Onboarding

Building positive relationships with customers and providing outstanding customer experience is one of the biggest struggles that almost all companies face. During that road and at every touchpoint, you should put effort into supporting and guiding your customers. When they interact with your company, buy or sign up for the free trial, it’s your chance to show that you care about them by sending onboarding emails. These emails can have different goals, and if you manage to create an excellent one, you will build powerful relationships with customers and also boost customer retention and loyalty.

Why onboarding emails are important and when to send them

When starting to create an onboarding email sequence, you should define your goals and understand what type of email to send to effectively onboard your customers. There are different objectives you can accomplish through this type of email. 

Let’s dive into when your company should send this type of email. 

Welcome new customers

First and foremost, you should send onboarding emails to welcome your new customers and to show your appreciation that they decided to use your products or solutions. Your goal is to just welcome your new users right after signing up. What is interesting is that the open rate is 84.22% for welcome emails, and the click-through rate of 25.91%.

When trying to welcome customers, you shouldn’t be promotional and salesy. Customer onboarding emails should include elements of encouragement, showing customers that an exciting journey is waiting for them. Your job is to try to welcome customers and meanwhile try to engage them.

Employee working on the laptop

Share your values and give a sense of belonging  

You can use your emails to follow onboarding emails best practices to share your values and tell in which ways your company will try to make your customers’ lives better. In your customer onboarding emails, you can highlight the reasons why they will continue to do business with you. 

Another great factor in increasing customer loyalty is offering a sense of community. You can start the process of building an emotional connection with your customers and build a community through onboarding emails. You are not trying to trigger actions and make customers take another action. Instead, your company shows that you are part of something exciting, and you are included in a group where they share similar values.

Encourage them to use your products and upsell other offerings

In most cases, you send this type of email to the customers when they first sign up. Then, to show the values that you mentioned earlier, you should inspire the customers to use the products by explaining how they work. Encouraging taking steps for using the products, you can also send onboarding emails to upsell your other tools.

Boost your sales by promoting your additional products or services. Let’s say you offer a digital board for an online teacher, and they signed up to use it; you can also offer your other educational products, like a video conferencing app.

Engage and entertain your customers

It’s beneficial if you use gamification methods like sending quizzes to entertain customers, making the first interaction smooth and fun. Of course, it depends on the type of your company and whether it suits your brand voice.

If you manage to follow email  and engage users, it will make a human and positive connection. By provoking positive emotion, you can increase email engagement and foster meaningful connections. And the chances are higher that they will choose to use your products and solutions. More than that, an excellent onboarding process can encourage customers to advocate products and solutions.

How to write an onboarding email that is great in seven ways

We already discussed the goals you can accomplish through this email, and let’s go through how to create onboarding emails that will drive great results.

1. Create a subject line

It’s never enough to mention how important subject lines are when sending any type of email, and these emails are not an expectation. Great subject lines will increase open rates. Statistics have proved that 47% of email recipients open emails based on the subject lines. They are the first thing customers see in their inboxes, so it’s your chance to build a relationship with them through outstanding subject lines. 

In the short space, you should try to imply what benefits they can expect from you. Great onboarding email subject lines should be catchy and concise. Remember, the subject line should hook customers’ attention and make customers open your email. You can add intriguing elements but avoid giving false expectations.   

2. Highlight value proposition and benefits

To succeed in almost every marketing campaign, you should prioritize the value proposition that separates you in the market. It will give you a competitive edge. And for that, you should think about including your value proposition in your onboarding emails as well.

Use the opportunity and tell that users picked the perfect solution for signing up and deciding to use your product. Also, they know what products or services will give to them and what value they will receive. Focus on the benefits and solutions that your brand offers. Lastly, when it comes to SaaS products,  SaaS email marketing plays a pivotal role by delivering onboarding emails that guide customers and help them fully leverage the product’s potential.

3. Try to be helpful and guide your users

Your product can be extremely valuable, but if your user doesn’t know how to use them, they may stop their connection with your company. And for that matter, you can share with them all the helpful content that will show them how the complicated features work. It can be FAQs, tutorials, and or blog posts that tell step-by-step how to use the solution or product. This way, they don’t need to research on their own and feel disappointed. Give them all resources to increase customer satisfaction, which is the basis of business success. 

Even if you give all the necessary information, they will have concerns and questions, and for that, give them customer service contact information. Make sure you have great support from them, who are ready to provide support 24/7 and offer users solutions.

Employee working on the laptop

4.   Don’t forget to personalize 

For today’s buyers, a personalized experience is a must because customers expect and demand more personalized connections with companies that show that they care for the prospect’s individual needs.

And businesses should take the necessary steps to provide it during every touchpoint on the customer journey. This process includes personalizing your emails as well.

When customers sign up, don’t forget to include their names in the subject line and in the body as well. This way, you sound friendly, but for hyper-personalization, you can collect more data. All your efforts will pay off; the personalization can boost open rates and help you reach other email marketing goals as well.

5. Benefit from video marketing

Videos are leading the market. And it is the future as well. Videos are a great way to engage, entertain and also educate your customers.

When building emails for onboarding, you can enrich them using different types of videos. You can include videos in your newsletters or in emails that you send in the onboarding stage. 

The first one of your main email marketing objectives was to showcase your product’s benefits, right? Then it will be beneficial if you create short and sweet videos showing the best qualities of your products.  Also, you can produce explainer videos about how products work and share them with your users. Include the most important information, but avoid overwhelming your users.

Camera and other video making tools

6. Try to be short and sweet

If you have already made a dedicated effort to create winning subject lines, now it’s time to give reasons to your customers to continue reading your email. People’s inbox is full, and they don’t have enough time; therefore, your emails have to be short and simple.

When onboarding new users and communicating with them, keep in mind your brand vision and brand voice. It is preferable that you use GiFs and emojis that will make your message digestible. And it also depends on the voice that you established for your brand.

7. Show social proof to build credibility

The market is full of brands that create similar products and promote their qualities. And as a consequence,  gaining customers’ trust is extremely hard, especially during onboarding when customers signed up to try your products and didn’t have enough information. 

For that matter, you can benefit from including social proof like testimonials and case studies in your onboarding emails. If you launched new SaaS tools for online teachers, send SaaS onboarding emails showing success stories of tutors who used your product and built effective lessons for their students.

By sharing social proof, you will gain credibility because people tend to believe other people’s opinions more than branded ads.

8. Write a perfect call to action (CTA)

Employees working in customer service

You started to build a successful onboarding process by writing an email with a strong and powerful subject line. Now it’s time to close the circle with a persuasive call to action. Without it, your connection with customers stops, but you should try to guide them to start using your product. Make navigation easy, so they can easily see the benefits that products offer.  

Your CTA should guide users in the right direction. It depends on the goal you think the onboarding email should reach. It should be short but also strong and convincing enough to hook readers’ attention. This type of CTA will make customers take another step. What is important to remember is that you have a single call to action to avoid confusion and make it stronger, so it will serve its goals. 

Seven steps to creating an onboarding email sequence

With all the benefits these emails suggest for the onboarding process, you can’t achieve all of them with a single email.

Thus, create an onboarding email sequence, which is an email series to try to build long-lasting, powerful relationships with customers. And it is hard to do with a single email. Therefore, businesses try to send a chain of emails to engage customers, so they feel a connection with the product and service. The onboarding sequence is your chance to provide an effective onboarding experience that will convince users to stay loyal to your brand.  

For that matter, let’s discuss what steps you should take in order to create the email sequence that will help you achieve your desired goals.

  1. Create an onboarding sequence plan

First and foremost, start creating a strategy that will guarantee the efficiency of your email marketing campaigns. Define what goals you want to achieve from the sequence. There are various goals you can achieve:

🗸Build a relationship and connection with users

One of the main objectives that you want to achieve is building a relationship with them, which will be extremely hard just with a single email. Deliver constant value through email series; you can easily create a strong connection with your users.

🗸 Strengthen your community

If you have already managed to create a positive connection with users and also give them a feeling of belonging, the next step is inviting them to become a part of your community. Probably your company has different forums and community channels; encourage them to join the conversation. 

🗸 Collect valuable feedback

It’s hard to imagine providing customers with a positive experience without knowing their thoughts and opinions. You can gather vital information from email sequences and then create a plan of action according to this information. In that matter, you need to prioritize email security and take the necessary steps to build an image of a credible company, so customers trust and share their personal data.

🗸  Boost sales, and turn prospects into paying customers

Definitely, one of the main goals that all businesses have is to increase sales, and the onboarding process can successfully serve that goal. Especially if the prospect started a free trial, you should leverage SaaS email marketing techniques and try converting them into customers through effective onboarding.  

After defining your goals, you should also identify other customer touchpoints. And, of course, in your plan, you should include the number of emails, frequency, and time to send them. Check whether you have all the necessary tools and resources that will guarantee the success of your campaigns. 

Employees writing onboarding email

2. Prioritize mobile-friendliness

Nowadays, it’s crucial to make your email responsive so that it will fit all devices and screens. Customers tend to use their smartphones when communicating with businesses, and they check their inboxes from their mobiles. And no matter what device they use, your emails should look great for all cases. Statistics have shown that the percentage of emails opened on mobile increased to 43% in 2018, and it is estimated that in 2023 372 billion emails will be sent and received daily, most of which will be opened on mobile.

Then you need to optimize your email onboarding messages and make them mobile-friendly. We recommend you to takes the following steps:

  🗸Keep your copy and visuals concise.

 🗸 Keep CTAs front and center. 

🗸 Check the size of your subject line and body 

🗸 Make sure the images you include will load fast.

Don’t forget to test and check how your emails work on different devices before sending them.

Employees working in customer service


3. Have a strong email list and segment them

As a company that cares about all its customers, you may try to deliver a great onboarding experience to all of them. But it is impossible; you should start segmentation if you want to increase the efficiency of your messages. But first, you need to have a strong email list. It’s a must-step, and if you have skipped that party, start building your email list.  And when starting segmenting, you should have in your mind your ideal customer, their needs, and preferences before deciding how to send an onboarding email. And you need to segment your users based on their behaviors, preferences, and other personality factors.   

When you have helpful data about who your active subscribers are, you can reward them for loyalty and showcase that you care about them. They will feel special if you send more targeted emails instead of generic ones. If you have onboarding emails that address your ideal customer’s pain points, the open rate will be higher. 

To increase loyalty, you can suggest discounts and promotions like sales for plans and upgrades. Also, don’t forget to understand why other users are inactive, solve the situation and re-engage them. 

4. Analyze your target customers

In every step of the customer journey knowing your prospects is vital, and the onboarding process and creating emails for that stage aren’t exceptions. You can’t build successful email series without fully understanding your customer’s pain points, desires, and intentions. What is great is that you can gather more details about your users from emails that you send them. 

An effective way to achieve that is by sending them surveys and asking for their opinions, and hearing their suggestions. If you are a travel agency, for instance, you might ask them which topics will interest them and offer them a newsletter around that topic. It’s like a win-win strategy because customers get messages that are tailored to their needs and interests, and your company gains satisfied customers.

5. Ensure that your voice and visuals are consistent 

When sending email sequences, you need to keep in mind that they are customers’ first interactions with your company and brand. And it is crucial to be consistent when choosing the language you will speak with them and the visual elements that you use in emails. This way, it will be smoother for users to remember your company and product. More than that, consistency will positively influence your image as well.

Start paying attention to your logo, colors, and other design factors to showcase your uniqueness when sending sequence emails. If you want that subscribers remember your brand, besides visuals consistently, prioritize consistent brand voice as well. If you have outstanding writers, don’t forget to provide them with guidelines that you should follow when writing these types of emails. 

6. Share the latest news with your customers

It’s important to be open and share the latest news with your customers. It can be a single email from the sequence that will share with subscribers the latest developments. Of course, you can share your achievements as well without overwhelming readers. This way, you can achieve one of the main goals, which creates a sense of belonging for new customers.

During the onboarding stage, you can send emails about product announcements of new features that they can be unfamiliar with. It’s a great idea to invite them also to upcoming events and webinars. If you have a blog post that summarizes monthly achievements and news, include it in your email series.

7. Test for better results

It’s hard to imagine the development of your efforts without regularly testing the results. Only by having enough information on what worked best can you optimize your messages to drive better results.

You can do A/B testing, which suggests that you prepare a few versions of emails and then send them to small groups. By analyzing which versions worked best, you can take the necessary steps and create messages that will have higher engagement. You can test copy both the subject line and body of emails. Of course, you will get information on what design elements your customers prefer. We already mentioned the importance of a CTA, and to write an effective one, you can test it as well. 

Summing up

Onboarding emails are one of the first stages where customers familiarize themselves with your business. And it’s your chance to build long-lasting relationships with your customers. Here we discussed the definition of email for onboarding and the steps to create emails that will be the backbone of a successful onboarding strategy. It’s vital to know that a poor onboarding experience will drive your customers away. To avoid that, we gave you suggestions that guarantee a successful onboarding process through sending emails. 

We also offered to build an onboarding email sequence that will try to create a base of long-lasting relationships with customers. Follow these steps and our recommendations, and you will convert prospects into customers and will increase customer loyalty as well.

SEO Content Writer

Lilit Yeranyan

Lilit is an SEO content writer at SayNine.ai and a literature admirer. She believes that words have power and that we should use them for good. If not writing, Lilit loves to play with her nephews, then water the flowers and trees of their garden.