The Ultimate Check List of Onboarding Email Best Practices for Your SaaS
Words by
Jennifer Poblete
Last updated
September 27, 2022
The Ultimate Check List of Onboarding Email Best Practices for Your SaaS

I bet, you'd hate it if your employer didn't give you any advice or resources when you started a new job. 

Wouldn't you feel lost? 😳

That's what it's like to start using a new app without proper onboarding63% of customers say onboarding makes the difference between purchasing a product and not.

But the question is, what should you include in your onboarding emails? 

Take a look at our onboarding email best practices and of course, you can use them in your own marketing efforts. 😉

Here's a quick rundown of the basics.

What are SaaS onboarding emails?

SaaS onboarding emails are emails sent to new customers after they sign up for a subscription—usually a free trial before becoming a paying subscriber. These emails are a great way to welcome new users to your service and help them get started.

The purpose of these emails is to help SaaS customers become familiar with the product and to provide helpful resources when they got stuck for whatever reason. That’s why SaaS onboarding emails typically include links to tutorials, how-to guides, or product tours that can help the customer learn about the product.

Sometimes, these emails contain discounts, special offers, and other promotions that may be of interest to the customer, especially when nearing the expiry of free trials. 

Why chose emails for onboarding?

While there may be other options for onboarding, most SaaS use emails because they offer a number of advantages.

  • First of all, they are already anticipated for most sign-ups. Email open rates during onboarding are higher than other emails.

  • Secondly, emails can be easily forwarded to other members of the team or to customer support, if necessary.

  • And finally, they allow you to include links and attachments that can provide further information about the product or service.

Benefits of email onboarding

When done right, email onboarding can be an extremely effective way to help new users get the most out of your product. Here are three key benefits of email onboarding:

  1. Email onboarding can be highly personalized.
  2. Email onboarding can be delivered at the user's own pace.
  3. Email onboarding can be an effective way to upsell and cross-sell features and products.

When used effectively, email onboarding can be a powerful tool for boosting engagement and retention rates. Here are other reasons why.

  • It helps you strike up a connection with your subscribers. By sending regular emails, you can start to build a rapport with your readers. It's crucial for building trust and connecting with your audience.

  • It allows you to introduce new features and services. Email onboarding is the perfect platform to promote these items to your subscribers.

  • It keeps your list engaged. Regularly sending out emails keeps subscribers engaged. You're more likely to get them to open and click through future emails if they stay interested in what you have to say.

The typical SaaS onboarding email sequence

Upon signing up for a new SaaS, you generally expect to receive a confirmation email (or sometimes SMS) pretty much immediately. 

This email serves as not only verification that your sign-up was successful, but also as an introduction to the company and what they have to offer. 

Like this:

CaaSocio-onboarding-email best-practices-redtrack-verification-

But after that, here’s the common sequence of SaaS companies. 

  1. Welcome email

A welcome email starts off your onboarding email sequence. It creates the tone for your relationship with your new subscribers and gives you a chance to introduce yourself and your brand. 

  1. How to use the product email

The 'How to use the product' email should be sent as part of the onboarding email sequence to help new users get started with using the product. This email should explain how to use the product, step by step. As much as possible, it should be simple and use screenshots or videos where possible.

  1. Success story email

A 'success story email' doesn’t only provide users with valuable information about your SaaS, but also helps to build trust and create a community around your brand. 

Here are a few tips for creating an effective success story email:

  • Tell a personal story that resonates with your audience. This could be about how you overcame a challenge using your product or service, or how it has helped you to achieve your goals.

  • Share testimonials from satisfied customers. You can keep them short and sweet, but make sure they are genuine and relevant.

  • Use images or videos to bring your success story to life. This could be a photo of you using your product, or a video testimonial from a customer.

  1. Sales Email

A sales email is an email sent by a company to a potential customer with the goal of making a sale. The content of a sales email will vary depending on the product or service being sold, but there are a couple of things that all successful sales emails share.

  • clear, concise, compelling subject line
  • well-written and free of grammar mistakes
  • clearly marked call-to-action (CTA) button

  1. Feedback email

Part of providing an excellent onboarding experience for your new SaaS users is collecting feedback about their journey. You want to know what's working well and where there might be areas of improvement. 

  1. Expiry email

Have you ever started a free trial of a software program, only to forget about it until you receive an email reminding you that your trial is about to expire? This is known as an 'expiry email', and it's a common part of the SaaS onboarding process. They’re a way to encourage users to continue using the software even after their free trial has ended.

Onboarding Email Best Practices 

Here are some best practices when you create your SaaS onboarding email sequence:

🚀🚀🚀This should come first—think about whether you want to offer a self-serve experience or whether you'll be working mainly with enterprise customers. 

This will affect the kind of onboarding emails that you send. So plan whether your onboarding program will be self-serve or involve customer success managers. If you're targeting enterprise customers (B2B), it's generally best to have someone assigned to each account to help them get started. But for B2C, a self-serve approach can work well.

🚀Talk about strategy first 

For email onboarding, the ultimate goal is to convert new users. Decide whether to use a free trial or freemium model. Another key consideration in SaaS is whether you want to use triggers to automatically send emails based on user behavior, or if you prefer to manually send out campaigns. Triggers can be very effective in getting users engaged, but they can also be seen as intrusive if not used carefully. 

And by the way, SaaS enterprises also have to think about how to onboard large numbers of users all at once. 

🚀Map out the entire journey first

Launching a new SaaS product can be an exciting time for any company. However, it's also important to make sure that you have a solid plan in place for onboarding new users. First, it's important to map out the entire journey that you want users to take. What are the key steps that you want them to complete? How do you want them to behave? Having a good picture of the user journey, you can start to think about how to use email to support it. 

🚀Keep your messages short and straightforward

People don't like lengthy, long-winded emails. You should keep your messages concise and to the point.

🚀Be mindful of the subject line

Your subject line is what will influence whether or not your email gets opened, so make sure it's attention-grabbing and informative. Avoid using gimmicky tactics like all caps or excessive exclamation points—instead, focus on creating a subject line relevant to your message.

🚀Show than tell

Instead of listing out features or benefits, provide a short demonstration of how your product works. Your onboarding emails are an opportunity to show customers how your product can solve their specific problems. Rather than making broad claims about your product's features, focus on demonstrating how your product can be used to achieve specific results. 

🚀Highlight the value of your product 

Make sure your emails highlight the unique value that your product offers. What challenges does it address? How will your customers benefit from it?

🚀Include images and videos

A picture is worth a thousand words, so don't be afraid to use images and videos in your emails to illustrate your points.

🚀Be personal and relevant to your recipients.

Address your customers by name and use a friendly, personal tone in your emails. Take the time to segment your list and craft personalized messages that speak to each individual's needs.

🚀Always add 1 CTA only 

Every email should have a call to action (CTA). But it's important to keep things simple and only include one call-to-action in each email. Overloading new users with too many options can be overwhelming and may lead them to abandon your product altogether.

But we’re not stopping here. We also compiled a list of common onboarding mistakes. Check out this article! 6 Common Onboarding Mistakes That Make Users Abandon Your App | CaaSocio

Already using onboarding emails?

If you're already using onboarding emails for your SaaS, congratulations! You're on point when it comes to growing your business. 👏👏👏

But—there can always be room for improvement. 

To help you out, we've put together a list of onboarding email best practices that will help you take your emails to the next level.

No time to do it yourself? See how we can help with your onboarding emails—or any other aspect of your marketing strategy. Don’t hesitate to book a call with us. 

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