The majority of businesses execute their onboarding emails all wrong. But sending useless, nagging messages is even worse for your relationship with customers than doing nothing at all.

Today, we will share with you the most important user onboarding practices and help you get ideas on where your own onboarding process may fall short or need improvement. After that you will write onboarding emails that provide value and that people will appreciate receiving.

How to make your customer onboarding emails great again

The following cases are tell-tale signs that your onboarding emails are not as effective as they could be:

  • Thinking that your customer is already familiar with the product or service you deliver.
  • Being sure that your customers are going to make a purchase because they’ve signed up.
  • Behaving like a cheesy car dealer and make repetitive requests, phrased in the same way over and over again.
  • Forgetting about customers once they have purchased your product.
  • Talking about your product’s features, updates and news, not about how it benefits customers.
  • Using cold or impersonal jargon.

Tips on How to avoid onboarding emails mistakes

Even if you’ve found something familiar in the of onboarding ‘sins’ above, don’t get upset. Instead, use the following tips to add value to your emails and prompt subscribers to start engaging with you.

1. Educate prospects about why your product is awesome focusing on its benefits, not its features.

You should never stop educating people on how great your product is. Demonstrate your value to potential customers by highlighting the benefits of your product until they buy. Then, continue to show them why purchasing was a smart decision.

2. Eliminate choice paralysis: give people a single, clear call-to-action.

Think about how difficult it is to make a decision when there is a wide range to choose from. Therefore, while sending an onboarding email, use a single call-to-action (CTA). Confusing your contacts with too many choices makes it less likely they’ll pick at least one. A single CTA can also dramatically improve your click-through-rate (CTR). With the use of a single large button, you can make it obvious what the next step should be.

3. Keep emails short and simple.

It is easy to say, ‘Keep things simple,’ but often what you think is simple is still too complicated. That said, always mind the importance to be brief and simple enough in order to not stretch your customers’ patience.

4. Feel the churn.

There is always a possibility of losing clients because they are dissatisfied with your products or services. So, it’s really important that you understand the major causes of churn (complicated features, not enough features, high prices, difficulty in using product or service, lack of value), and build safeguards into your onboarding strategy to avoid turning clients away. Customers’ feedback is what will guide you through the endless battle against churn.

5. Ask your customers for feedback. Constantly.

Every time you onboard a new customer, ask for feedback. Whenever you think of deploying something new, ask for feedback. Your customers know better. Sometimes. :)

6. Personalize.

Personalized, timely user onboarding emails are great at improving activation rates.

7. Cater for multiple learning styles.

Human beings learn differently. Some people like to read. Others like to watch videos and take tutorials. Provide more than one way for customers to access information by using instructional videos, how-tos, examples, webinars, Q&As, and live help.

8. Create transparent structure for your onboarding knowledge base.

Content marketing works. That’s why companies are producing so many resources to help customers learn everything they could possibly want to know about a service, product or specific area of interest.

Rather than showing customers a huge amount of content, simplify their onboarding flows by giving them a specific, structured set of tips to follow according to their level of acquaintance with your product.

9. Follow up on the phone/Skype.

When you love your customers, you want to give them everything they need to succeed. That’s why you should do more than just sending an email. Follow up with a phone call. Get people on the phone. Offer them live demos. Most importantly, listen. These conversations will turn into valuable customer development opportunities.

Keep in mind that there are not so many people who would appreciate a cold call. However, you may offer to schedule a phone call.

10. Break down the best competitors’ onboarding practices.

Run out of good ideas for your onboarding emails? Don’t know where to start from? Analyze your rivals’ onboarding flow. Behave like an experienced spy—sign up for competitors’ free trials, newsletters or other marketing communications. Here at Chanty, we’ve started from scratch. Being a Slack alternative and entering a crowded market of business communication tools, our startup has seen a sea of examples of how to manage email onboarding well. And an ocean of examples of how not to treat our customers. So, analyzing your rivals is always a good point.

The three customer onboarding emails you shouldn’t miss

Where to utilize the above-mentioned tips on email onboarding? Here are three must-have types of onboarding emails that will help you establish friendly and productive relationships with your customers.

Welcome email

Your email onboarding typically starts with a welcome email, probably the most important stage in your customer onboarding process. Welcome emails have the whopping 45.7% open rate compared to the 18.8% of promo emails.

To make a long story short, a good welcome email is brief and includes three things:

    1. A reminder about who you are and how your product can help your customers.
    2. An explanation about what to do next and why they should do it.
    3. A single, clear and focused CTA (Call-To-Action) linking them to a landing/getting started page.

Tip: Automate welcome emails in order to send them ASAP. Real-time welcome messages drive up to 10X better results than emails sent even a few hours later.

Chanty Welcome Email

Chanty welcome email

Re-engagement email

A customer signs up for your service. What happens next? The reality is that 40 to 60% of software users will open an app once and never log in again. And only 3% of the rest are going to become your paying customers at best. Customers may abandon your product because they get lost, lose interest, don’t get value from the product or simply don’t understand something. Being focused on onboarding, businesses can minimize this churn.

Getting users back with onboarding emails can be challenging, but possible. Customize the email sequence according to user behavior. A user who logs in three times per day from day one shouldn’t get the same emails as a user who has never logged in after their first session. Two people using your service or product can have very different mindsets and needs – your customer onboarding emails should reflect that as well.

West elm re-engagement email

west elm re-engagement email

Evaluation email

Once users have had enough time to give your product a try, send them an email that motivates them to take the next step in your relationship. For example, you can ask your customers to upgrade their plan or invite a friend to sign up or visit your website.

Cloudapp evaluation email

CloudApp evaluation email


You work really hard to get people to sign up for your service or product, and then even harder to nurture your relationships. Take the time to understand that your clients probably have no idea on how to get the most from your product.

That is why it is essential for every business to master the onboarding flow. It will demonstrate the value your product delivers and walk them through it the way you want them to. The three must-have types of onboarding emails are welcome email, re-engagement email and evaluation email.

All of these tips highlight one key point: the secret of successful onboarding emails that customer are glad to get, is simple. A great onboarding process consists of delivering value and education, to help your clients advancing into the deeper stages of your service.

What about you? How do you prefer to interact with customers via emails?