Onboarding email examples

The purpose of these emails is to educate the new or soon-to-be customer on the process and give them a glimpse into what your brand is all about.

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Onboarding emails, regardless of the industry, have one thing in common: they’re built to engage, educate, and provide a positive experience for potential customers. An onboarding sequence not only guides customers as they interact with your brand, but it also promotes repeat purchases and helps convert free trials for subscription-based products.

Strategic guidance for onboarding campaigns

Onboarding sequences aren’t one size fits all. It’s important to test and iterate based on what works for your brand. That said, these strategies will give you a solid starting point to start creating a personalized sequence that makes sense for your brand.

Educating the prospective customer on the product

The purpose of these emails is to educate the new or soon-to-be customer on the process and give them a glimpse into what your brand is all about.

Let’s take a look at eyewear brand, Warby Parker. Their initial onboarding email sent after account creation gives you an overview of their glasses, their at-home try-on process, and even a blurb about their social mission. It sounds like a lot for the first email, but they sum it up with simple graphics and a quick sentence for each.

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Invite prospective customers to engage with your brand’s community

Take Purple Carrot, for example, a food subscription service that has an onboarding email around their Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook communities. This ‘invite’ is a great way to make new signups feel welcome and connected to your brand.

Birchbox has a similar onboarding email helping users engage beyond their website. They provide additional ways to interact with the brand including an online magazine and Android & iOS app download.

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Share real customer experiences with the product

It’s hard to trust a brand right away, but sharing real feedback and advice from customers in your journey is a great way to increase your brand’s trustworthiness. Rent the Runway does a phenomenal job doing just that. They include an email showcasing actual advice and images from other RTR members on day 4 of their 12-email onboarding sequence.

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Include helpful tips

Use the onboarding email to educate the customer about your product. Include step-by-step instructions, helpful tips, and guides and ensure that the customer has a positive first experience. The coffee subscription service MistoBox included short videos with instructions on how to prepare coffee.

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Introduce the family brands

Build trust by taking the time to introduce the brands and exclusive lines that are available on your website. Bed Bath & Beyond sends an onboarding email with the subject line “MEET THE FAMILY” and talks about individual brands.

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Talk about different services that you’re offering

If you are offering more than one service make sure to mention that in your onboarding sequence and share with the customer all the values that come with each service. In this example, Backcountry sends an onboarding email that talks about personalized product recommendations and how customers can contact them to try the service.

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Remind the customer about the welcome offer

Use the onboarding email to welcome the new customers and encourage them to complete the first purchase by offering a welcome discount. If the customer doesn’t use the welcome offer, send them a reminder in one of the following drips. Aldo sent a reminder email that notifies the customer that the welcome offer expires in a few days.

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Share about your rewards program

Invite the new customers to join your loyalty program and share the details on how to collect and redeem the rewards. Ulta uses the onboarding email to talk about reward points and credit card, and invites new customers to start collecting points.

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Talk about the crafting process and materials

Educate customers about the production process and materials that are going into your product in your onboarding campaigns. Jewelry brand Wanderer bracelets talks about craftsmanship, organic materials and how their business supports sustainable work of artisans. At the bottom of the email they are linking popular products.

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Implementation details for onboarding drips

New to onboarding sequences for your brand? Check out the below tips that are sure to help you create these flows no matter what ESP (email service provider) you’re using.

Trigger emails based on on-site events

Onboarding emails are usually most effective when sent after a customer makes a first time purchase or after they’ve requested more information through a form on your website. Most ESPs allow you to trigger based on these events, but otherwise you or someone on your dev team will need to set up the API with your site to retrieve that data.

Whatever you do, don’t SPAM your customers

Keep your total drip sequence relatively short (between 4-8 emails) and spread out over a reasonable period of time. Too much email at once can be a turn-off for customers and it could even lead to the dreaded ‘Mark as Spam’.😱This kiss of death can cause your deliverability and reputation to plummet, and fast.

Be aware of other marketing emails sent during the same period

If you have other active promotional emails running at the same time as your onboarding drip sequence, you could include additional filters to the promotional campaigns to exclude newer users currently in the onboarding flow

Here’s an example: If you have a drip sequence that lasts two weeks and starts when a user signs up, you could exclude those users who have been created in the past couple weeks from the promotional email send.