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7 min read

Create an Effective Onboarding Email Flow

Written by Andriy Boychuk
7 min read

Onboarding new users is one of the most important things you can do for your business. Why? Because if your new customer doesn’t get the value from your product, they’ll likely stop using it.

This means that they’ll unsubscribe, they’ll never make a purchase again, won’t recommend you to their friends, and probably will never come back.

This happens because your newly registered users have no idea how to use your product or service. If you want them to continue using your product or service to its full potential, you need to give them a quick tour and show them how it works.

That’s why an onboarding email flow is crucial to every business that wants to grow and establish a strong relationship with new customers.

A well-designed onboarding email sequence helps you get the most out of your new customers. In this guide, we will share what an onboarding email flow is and how to set one up effectively.

What is an Onboarding Email Flow?

Onboarding refers to the process that allows new customers to become familiar with your product or service quickly.

It’s the path they follow after purchasing your product for the first time.

Onboarding is essentially the process of converting potential customers into full-fledged users. It’s meant to introduce the product and motivate your new customers to continue using it.

So, what is an email onboarding flow?

  • Sometimes known as getting started emails, onboarding emails are a vital part of helping your new customers feel welcomed and get them excited about your product
  • They’re also an opportunity to educate your users on what you can offer and how they can benefit from it.

In simple words, onboarding email sequences are a great way to introduce new users to your business and products.

How is an Onboarding Email Flow Different from a Welcome Email Flow?

If you have any experience with email marketing, you’re likely familiar with the idea of a welcome email sequence.

But what about an onboarding sequence? What exactly is the difference between an onboarding email flow and a welcome email flow?

In short, a welcome email flow is sent to a new subscriber, while an onboarding email flow is sent to a new customer.

A welcome email flow is a series of emails that subscribers get immediately after signing up for your newsletter or downloading your freebie.

It’s often used to:

  • Thank them for signing up
  • Set expectations for future emails
  • Introduce them to your brand.

An email onboarding flow, on the other hand, is designed to help your new customers understand the value of your product or service over time by guiding them through a series of steps that lead to “product activation.”

  • Onboarding flows tend to be more targeted, tailored, and personalized than welcome emails
  • An onboarding email flow typically comprises a series of emails sent over a period of time meant to help your new customers get started with your product
  • An onboarding email sequence can include a welcome and 3 to 5 follow-up emails over 3 to 7 days that walk your customer through using your product or service.

How to Set Up an Email Onboarding Flow

An email onboarding flow can be approached in many different ways.

  • Some businesses will consider their onboarding complete when they’ve simply sent a welcome email
  • Others will use it to collect more information from their customers, or even as a way to encourage them to make more purchases
  • Some will consider their onboarding process complete when they’ve fully trained their customers on how to use their product or service.

The truth is that your business’s onboarding flow is likely to incorporate all of these aspects.

This can make it very difficult to know how to create one. So, let’s break down the process of creating an onboarding email flow for your business.

Example of an onboarding email flow

An Example of a 5-Step Email Onboarding Flow

A typical onboarding email flow usually comprises five emails.

  • Welcome Email: This is your first touchpoint with new customers after their purchase, so it’s essential to give them a warm welcome and let them know what to expect from future emails in their onboarding flow.
  • Benefits Email: This email should describe the two or three most significant benefits of your product and demonstrate how it solves a particular pain point for customers.
  • Use Cases Email: You might think that customers will naturally see the value of your product, but there’s always a chance that they’ll need a little help figuring out how to get started. Use this email to showcase different ways that your product can be used based on your business’s buyer persona.
  • First-Time User Training Email: Sometimes, people need a little extra help when learning something new. If your product requires set-up — say, an account configuration or integrations with other tools — this is an excellent time to show people how to do it. You can also use this opportunity to highlight the support resources you provide for new customers who need assistance along the way.
  • Check-in Email: After a few days, send an email asking if customers have any questions or feedback about the product so far. Let them know you’re available and willing to help.

Create an Effective Onboarding Email Flow for Your Business

Using email marketing to onboard and activate new users is a great way to build relationships with your customers and increase customer loyalty. Here are a few proven tips to guarantee that your onboarding email flow will succeed:

  • Provide lots of value with your customer in mind
  • Send simple, concise, and straight-to-the-point instructions on how to use your produce or service
  • Personalize your emails to each buyer persona
  • Encourage your customers to reach out to you if they need assistance.

It’s important to remember that there’s more than one way to onboard new customers. Therefore, there’s no one-size-fits-all onboarding email flow that anybody can use. It will differ for every business. It’s up to you how you want your customers to experience your brand. 

We hope that the insights provided in this guide will help you create an effective onboarding flow for your business. However, keep in mind that there are experts out there ready to help you with your email marketing campaigns whenever you need them.

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