Email Onboarding : Tactics & Strategies you've learned?

I’m improving the Email onboarding for my SaaS app (for speech therapy treatment software).

Some things I’ve learned:

  • Send MORE emails. I was sending only a couple of introductory emails, worried about overloading folks.
  • Shorter emails. Put only one small Task in each email. As a consequence of not wanting to send too MANY emails, I crammed a lot into each one,like links to 6 intro videos (one for each “part” of the program). My rule of thumb (which I ignored!) has always been: the chance of someone reading a sentence is c=1/Word-Count. Chance of reading an email is about 100/Word-Count.

My next plan is a sequence of “next step emails”. The very smallest steps a user can take. We can detect these using the Stats we store in Mixpanel, which lets us send Notification emails (or SMS, which we don’t use)

What have YOU learned, or what problems do you have?

My Stack:

Saas: LAMP
Email Automation: (free account)


Don’t have the numbers to hand and my niche is not your niche etc. but :-

  • I ran an A/B test a few years ago with an onboarding email containing pretty much the same information : plain text email v one with a screenshot v one with a ‘full design’ (like the typical sort of email newsletter you might get from a big name, columns / borders, logos etc). The simple one with screenshot did best, closely followed by the plain one and a LONG way back was the full design one.
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+1 for the short emails - it’s something I also see with support emails. Even to a supposedly bright technical audience the attention span drops surprisingly quickly… Ohh look a cat riding a unicycle backwards ===>

Also bullet points work really well I find - both for helping keep you brief and marking individual questions or points to the user. Just use * and blank lines if you don’t have a RTE.

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  • Shorter is more likely to be read and acted upon.
  • Bullet points are great.

I have also learned to only ask 30 seconds worth of questions in a support email.

As an engineer who READS I prefer to get it all done ASAP, with IF A, B, C then do D, Else do F.

But it’s MUCH better to just ask one question at a time (especially with presales, where I start with a qualifying question before I go down a rabbit hole.

Also, as someone described once: sales is like dating. You don’t’ go in for a hug and a kiss when you see someone for the first time. Baby Steps.

Something that’s worked well for me has been segmented new users based on their behavior and changing which user gets what.

  • Did you take the path to quickest value? If so, we’ll give you more advanced educational content to help you succeed.
  • Stumble getting started? then we’ll send you emails that are more basic how-tos about the app, and end every email with “hit reply to talk to a support representative.”