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The Art of Effective Onboarding Emails

Onboarding emails can benefit your sales and marketing strategy. Learn how to effectively create and use customer onboarding emails here.

When you start a new relationship with a customer, you want a good way to break the ice. You can do that by sending a welcome email. It’s a nice touch, and many customers appreciate it.

But you can do better by initiating an onboarding email sequence. This would include multiple emails with diverse purposes--all aiming to engage with your customer, break the ice, provide information, and nurture the new relationship.

Thinking carefully about onboarding emails can provide dramatic benefits for your organization.

What is an onboarding email?

In simple terms, an onboarding process email is the first step in establishing communication and engaging with a new client. The term can also apply to the first method of communication with prospective customers.

In general, it’s a marketing email that helps the customer get to know your brand. You can include a welcome packet that provides information clients need and a survey that enables you to gain a better understanding of your customer.

Used correctly, they can begin an entire email sequence that welcomes new customers and helps with conversions and retention.

Onboarding vs. welcome emails

To clarify, we can explore the differences between onboarding and welcome emails.

Typically, the welcome email is the very first thing you send a new customer when they commit to your services or products. It confirms their commitment and sends them general information, welcoming them into the fold.

You could consider this the first email in an onboarding email chain.

The rest of the onboarding emails provide additional information and serve different processes. The idea is to engage with the customer to make them feel good about their choice and maintain a positive, direct relationship with them. Onboarding emails can recommend additional services or products and include surveys to get to know the customer. They can even help a client sign up for your loyalty program.

Anything that engages with the customer beyond that initial welcome email would fall under the purview of onboarding, whereas the welcome email is a single message in the chain.

Reasons to use an onboarding email campaign

Since user onboarding emails go out in the early stages of your relationship with a new customer, they represent an amazing way to turn new clients into regulars. Here’s how.

Engage with new users

This is the first listed reason on purpose. The general motivation behind onboarding email campaigns is engagement. You’re giving information about yourself to the customer. That helps them understand who you are and what you offer.

You're also giving them more resources to take advantage of your offerings.

Most of all, you’re establishing a connection with your clients. That helps engagement, which can drive all your metrics: customer retention, conversion, ROI, etc. It all boils down to providing an avenue to build and manage customer relationships.

Improve the customer experience

Engaging with the customer is essential, but it’s a means to an end. One of those ends is customer success and satisfaction. When you improve the customer experience, they spend more money on your products or services. They tell their friends or peers about you. They leave you good reviews. They stick around for a long-term relationship.

Ultimately, you’re trying to supply emails with genuine value. For product lines, you’re sending clients coupon codes. You’re pointing out things that they may not know. You’re asking them to tell you more about themselves. You’re offering solutions to their problems.

When you make it engaging, they feel valued, and that’s vital for customer experience.

Obtain feedback

Feedback is invaluable. Within your email chain, you can include a feedback survey. This is why the chain has been described as a conversation up to this point. You’re inviting feedback, and when you get it, you can learn from your customers.

Honest feedback helps you refine your methods, reallocate resources, and delve into what drives the customer experience and makes your business valuable to the consumer. It's the centerpiece of all of your customer retention strategies.

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Boost conversions

One of the reasons you want your customers to notice your value and feel good is so that they'll spend more money and use your product often.

You’re able to solve problems for your customer. They recognize that, so they put their trust in your products and services.

Ultimately, that boosts your conversions per customer, which is a measurable way that the onboarding chain benefits your business.

Highlight your value

Highlighting other products or services shows your continued value to the customer. So do coupon codes or special offers. The same goes for any resource you can provide that solves problems for the customer.

As you get to know the client, you can customize these things as well, and your onboarding helps you present a uniquely valuable experience.

How to create an onboarding email sequence

That might sound nice, but how do you actually build a winning welcome email series? What are the keys to success? You’ll find all of that in the simple steps listed below.

Identify your goals

It’s an intuitive starting point. What are you hoping to achieve with your onboarding email sequence? Are you trying to drive sales? Boost conversions? Get more favorable feedback? Generate positive surveys?

There are a lot of possible answers, and you should have more than one baked into your onboarding campaign. Once you identify your goals (and rank them), you can design the email sequence around those objectives.

Segment your audience

This is a way to enhance your marketing (which your onboarding chain supports). When you segment your audience, you break your contacts into smaller groups, enabling you to be more specific in how you engage with them and what you offer.

The onboarding emails include opportunities for client feedback. You can use that feedback to collect customer data for your segmentation process.

Write captivating content

It should go without saying, but people will only appreciate your emails and engage with them if they like the content. This can feel tricky, but there’s a simple rule to follow. If you were a customer, what would you want to see in an email?

If you always keep that question in mind, you can write content that appeals to your customers. Plus, captivating content drives engagement—which drives everything else.

Use a professional design

If you’re not a professional designer, that’s ok. You can still take advantage of professional designs in your email chain.

The easiest way is to use onboarding email examples and templates. There are countless onboarding email templates already available. They can help you with aesthetics and the layout of your email. When you have a strong layout (utilizing a clear subject line, main body content, and more), you can make your content even more captivating.

You can also look at sample onboarding emails to get a clear idea of how your email should look. Doing so can even inspire your content.

Include a CTA

Have you ever watched the commercials during the Super Bowl? Can you remember some of your favorites?

Thinking back on it, can you remember the commercial but not what it was trying to sell?

Those commercials broke a cardinal rule. In any marketing attempt, you want to remember the call to action. It’s great for your emails to have engaging content that the customer likes, but in the end, you should recommend a course of action. That’s the CTA, and it’s the last thing a client will see when they're done reading the email.

Someone might be casually skimming through your email. The CTA is a small but firm reinforcement that can get through to such a reader and encourage them to buy the product, enlist your services, or engage with your efforts.

Automate your process

Lastly, you want to be efficient. For that, you can automate the process. You can use automation tools, design your own APIs, or even hire software designers for this. However you go about it, when you utilize automated onboarding emails, you save on labor and maximize the value generated by onboarding communication.

Among marketing automation examples, this is a simple one to remember. You have a website where people can buy your products. Someone selects a few things they want to order and then gets distracted. After a while, you send an email letting them know that they have items in the online cart.

That simple reminder should be automated, and while it won’t convert every sale, it will genuinely remind some of your customers that they forgot to finish a purchase.

Use onboarding emails in your next campaign

Learning the steps of creating effective onboarding emails can offer your business a lot of benefits. You can use them effectively in your next campaign, and Mailchimp can help. You'll find countless tools for email marketing, automation, planning, execution, customer success, and more. Take full advantage of Mailchimp today to enhance your new employee and customer onboarding process.

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