SaaS customer onboarding is the process that users have to experience while initiating their journey as a customer on a company’s software application. Customer onboarding comes from the experience that employees previously had to undergo while joining a firm.
The onboarding process sets the tone for a good user experience. Long story short, special emphasis should be given to make the on-boarding process as flawless as possible.
The SaaS customer on-boarding process is based on 6 comprehensive aspects:
- Sign up form
- Welcome email
- Drip campaigns
- First login & product tutorial
- Data import & notifications
- Check up calls & swag
All the aspects of the process play an equally important part in forming a desirable reputation of the brand in the eyes of the customers during the on-boarding process. Last time we discussed the first step to the on-boarding process, the sign up forms. Today we will be focusing on the welcome email.
A welcome email is a critical component of the signup process. It is the first time you are getting directly in touch with your customer and, therefore, is key to creating and building up momentum of the signup process to the point of using your product. ReturnPath conducted a research study, which revealed that:
There was a strong correlation between good welcome messages / emails and user engagement. Moreover, good welcome messages are an important predictor of user behaviour and potential revenue in the long run.
A welcome email is the point where you can quickly communicate the value of your product and can make or break a conversion. The email can contain a lot of things you would want your customer to know, and therein lies the risk. Bombarding the customer with too much information can be a conversion killer.
Summing Up: The Point of the Welcome Email
- Build signup momentum
- Get users to take the next step (not reach the end goal)
- Give them an idea of what the experience of your product is going to be like
Any welcome email needs to be drafted with a specific purpose in mind (apart from just a greeting). The following are examples of specific goals that you could keep in mind:
- Getting the user to complete their profile
- Getting them to “create their first <whatever your product offers>”
- Getting them to “import data”
- Getting them to “download your app”
Keep in mind that the rate at which your welcome email is opened and the CTA is clicked on, is not a measure of how successful it is in achieving its purpose. Adjusting the subject of the email and optimising the body can be helpful measures, but the true objective over here is to ensure that your customers are moving through the steps of your on-boarding flow. So the real measure of success is the rate of conversion.
How many customers responded to your CTA?
Drafting the Email: Things to Keep in Mind
- Simplicity: Like we said, you probably want to let your user know about a bunch of things. But don’t let them know it all at once! Let them spend some time using your product so that they can get acquainted.
- Resources: Give your users some additional links or resources that help them engage better with your product.
- Thanking them: You can choose any way to express your gratitude. It could be simply thanking them or telling them that you’re excited that they’ve signed up for you.
- Actionable: As mentioned above, there should be clarity in the content of the email; it should have relevant information and, above all, it should be actionable. It should be clear to the user what you want them to do, now that they’ve received and opened the email.
Check out the following welcome emails by well-known SaaS companies:
Zapier’s welcome email is an excellent example. It’s simple; users are being told what the application does, along with a link to user examples. Conditions of the trial period are clearly mentioned. Additional resources, such as the help documentation are mentioned clearly. The email starts with a thank you of sorts, because Zapier is excited to have the user on board. The next step Zapier wants the user to take is developing a profile, which makes the email actionable.
Zapier welcome email screenshot
Users who are signing up for InVision’s prototyping application receive a welcome email that is crystal clear in terms of what it wants to achieve: Get the user to start using the app. Hence the email is clearly actionable.
In order to help with that, users don’t get a list of things they need to do to start using the app. Users get to see some quick videos in succession to understand what they need to do. Considering that the app is highly interactive and visually appealing, the nature of the email coincides well with the nature of the product.
The email is simple in its content, it links users to videos which are excellent resources to quickly understand and engage with the product. There’s admittedly no thank you, but that is more than compensated by the simplicity of the email.
InVisionApp welcome email screenshot
Basecamp’s welcome email is simple and not long at all, with a clear welcome message along with a thank you for signing up. There’s proof given in the form of mentioning how many organisations use the product. There’s a clear link for downloading the app for Android or iPhone, which serves as a resource for users to better engage with the product. The purpose behind the email is clear, i.e. logging in to your account. Hence the email is actionable.
Basecamp’s welcome email screenshot
After signing up with Convertize you will receive a straight-forward, simple welcome email from the CEO, in which he will thank you for signing up in the first sentence. Then, throughout the email, there are actionable questions prompting you to reply directly to the CEO, and respond with the reason why you signed up. This highlights their appreciation for every single user. Convertize thus shows that they care about your feedback. At the very end, they also give you a link to their promotional video as a resource, it makes the platform come alive, creating a more human emotional connection. In the long run, this helps build a strong engagement with the product.
Convertize’s welcome email screenshot
As the saying goes, the first impression is the last impression over here. In customer on-boarding, the success of the signup flow heavily hinges on the initial points of interaction between you and your customer. The level of customer engagement can be imagined in terms of an exponential curve.
Successfully designing each point of the customer on-boarding flow ensures that the customer’s engagement with your company increases exponentially after each point. The customers that your business will get will be happier ones. There is a higher probability of them being able to understand, value and like what you have to offer. And if the first impression is thoughtfully and skilfully designed, it has the potential to develop customers that will be long term.