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Welcome emails are such an important moment in creating a highly engaged customer base. They signify the foundation of your relationship, help you learn more about baseline levels of customer engagement, and are the first point of segmented messaging.
Each of these emails offers a different lesson in drumming up excitement for your product and prompting users to onboard successfully.
While they all have something unique to learn from, the best SaaS onboarding emails have a few things in common too:
- They remind users why they signed up and what they can achieve with the product.
- They offer clear next steps detailing how to get started.
- They show new users where to turn for help.
Take a look at these examples and read our analysis to help you choose which strategies to apply to your own welcome email.
1. SurveyMonkey: Bold value proposition and clear next action
SurveyMonkey is smart. They know that people get a million emails a day. They’ve avoided the common, “Welcome to X” by disrupting the reader with a clear question: “Ready to get answers to your questions?”
This email header achieves several things:
- Caters to the user, not focused on the company name
- Reminds the user what they can do with the product
- Shows off the brand voice of the company
Below the email header, the SurveyMonkey’s welcome email then lets the user know of three common use cases for the product, which is getting feedback from customers, employees, or consumers.
Most SaaS welcome email examples include a CTA of “get started” but that’s pretty generic. That doesn’t tell the user what to do next. SurveyMonkey makes the user’s next action very clear by guiding them to choose one of these 3 common templates or to see more templates.
Try to go beyond “get started” or “login” and show your new user exactly what they should do next, in as clear and simple language as possible.
2.Box: Drive users to the admin area
When getting set up with file-sharing and digital asset management system Box, one of the most critical steps is adding additional users. It may seem that this welcome email leaves a lot to be desired. Isn’t it too simple? Isn’t it too boring?
Maybe, but when you consider that Box is used by 70% of the world’s Fortune 500s and that onboarding into a new digital asset management system is a multi-step, multi-user process, it makes sense that Box’s chief aim is to get the new account owner headed straight to the admin console to add new users and configure security settings. Without those things achieved first, uploading files doesn’t hold as much value.
Even though it’s done in a simple way, the coloured hyperlinking makes it really easy for a user to see the different next steps:
- Upload a file
- Invite a teammate
- Visit the admin guide
If there isn’t a single next step that makes sense for your users to take, and you need to present multiple options, make sure that you make these options easy to read and understand. If you can list the options in a logical order, that’s even better.
3. Eventbrite: Simple steps
Eventbrite’s welcome email is really simple. Eventbrite is not a B2B tool that is used by only a certain company role type. It’s not even necessarily B2B. Eventbrite can be used by teachers, church pastors, community centres, and hobbyists as well as businesses.
If you’re looking for a super simple, friendly onboarding email template, then copy Eventbrite and hit upon these three elements in this order:
- Brief, friendly welcome
- A short overview of 3 step process
- Where to turn for help
If your product is B2C, this is a great welcome email example for you to copy.
4. Shopify: Tailored to the customer type
When signing up for a free trial of Shopify, new users are asked a couple of simple questions:
- Why you’re creating a store
- What is your annual revenue
This allows the Shopify team to immediately segment their new leads. While the initial welcome email is the same regardless of how I respond (trust me, I tested it), of course we assume that subsequent emails will be tailored based on my responses. The sales team will undoubtedly follow up with new free trial users who report a high annual revenue.
Segmentation and further lead follow up aside, let’s break down their initial email into an onboarding email template.
The header helps to contextualize the product. People don’t want software that looks like it exists for its own sake. This header clearly showcases why you should be excited about your free trial: the ability to sell products on your own domain.
Then I’m given the details of my new account and my store name. Then I’m treated to a free resource: a logo maker. By showcasing their company as helpful, Shopify utilizes the psychological marketing hack of reciprocity.
So the welcome email template for a new customer or trial user is:
- Contextualized header
- Friendly welcome
- Account details
- Free resource
- Resource links
This is a template that any SaaS company can test out.
5. SocialBee: Humanizing your welcome email
SocialBee is a small team ready to take the social media scheduling world by storm. They don’t want an overly enterprise looking brand like Hootsuite or Sprout Social. They want to show who they truly are: a small, passionate team. If your target audience is small business owners, showing them a picture of your actual team can help them connect to you and relate to you.
But that’s not all we can learn from this onboarding welcome email. The SocialBee email also connects to the target customers pain points with phrases like “running a business is hard” and “you need more business and more time for your business.”
They also include a promised outcome that the product will provide: “More leads with less effort.”
And they make these pain points and promises easy to read for skimmers by using bold font in their email.
As is best practice, they drive readers back to the app with a large CTA.
6. Xero: Include a “buy now” option
For Xero, some free trial users are sceptical. But others are already convinced by a referral or marketing asset. On Xero’s pricing page, prospects are given the option to either buy now or to try Xero for free. When you sign up for a new trial with Xero, you’re taken straight to the onboarding dashboard that tells you what to do to get started.
After seeing this and later checking their email, users are again given the option to purchase the product—right there in the welcome email.
People get locked into it once they get everything set up. You have to hook up your bank, invite your accountant, and import the financial transactions from the current fiscal year. It’s a big task. It makes a lot of sense that some free trial users will be ready to just take the plunge and purchase the product right away. They want to get the decision of which app to use out of the way, and they just want to commit and get on with it already.
Aside from guiding free trial users to purchase in the initial welcome email, there’s something else to learn from this Xero email. Xero tells people how long their trial is. If you don’t offer a free version, but only a free trial, make sure you remind people how long they have to try it out.
7. HelloSign: Quick congratulations and offer for support
Speaking of “buying now,” what does a welcome email look like if a user just goes ahead and purchases the product instead of opting for a free trial? If that product is fairly simple and straightforward to use, then you don’t even need to share next steps and next actions. If your product does one main function (get documents signed legally), then you can keep your email sparse.
HelloSign can use the phrase “Start using HelloSign” because there is no complex onboarding. Once a user clicks that button, there’s only one thing left to do, and that’s add to a document. The reason more complex products need to avoid CTAs like “start using” or “get started” is because they need to help users know what action to take first.
In addition to simple CTA that guides users to the product, HelloSign also offers support via email and includes some cute copy to congratulate new users on going paperless. Don’t underestimate the power of branded microcopy in getting users to fall in love with you.
Takeaways from these SaaS welcome email examples
There are so many things to learn from those welcome emails! Of everything we discussed, here are the top takeaways you should consider applying to your first onboarding email:
- Include a CTA in your SaaS welcome email that drives new users back to the product
- Connect with customers emotionally by hitting on common pain points or humanizing your email content
- Include a link to your best quick start guide or video, or links to your help centre and resource center
- Use plain text or a designed email based on your target audience and what you want to communicate about your brand
- Remind users how long the free trial is
- Guide users to a specific area of the product or a specific action (a concrete step, not just “get started”) if your onboarding is more complex
- Offer a “buy now” option if onboarding to your product is so time-consuming that committing to the purchase would help users follow through
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