It’s one thing to convert website visitors to email subscribers. It’s another to convert those subscribers into paying customers. Enter email onboarding.
That’s what makes an effective email onboarding sequence so critical to your sales efforts.
What is email onboarding?
An email onboarding sequence is a series of emails intended to deepen the relationship customers have with your brand, show them how to make the most out of your product or service and/or get them to use your product or service as much as possible.
It has solid ROI
A recent study found that about 80 percent of marketers have reported increases in email engagement, while the ROI of email marketing has increased to $55 for every $1 spent on it.
And email marketing in general boasts a high ROI when used strategically.
It increases customer lifetime value
With effective email onboarding, you can increase your customer lifetime value by about 500 percent.
It’s about building a relationship
Onboarding is about nurturing your email recipient with valuable information that builds a trusting relationship and guides them to decide to purchase a product or service from you. It can’t be forced (and there is an art to it), but there are several best practices that can help boost your conversion rate.
The good news is that your subscribers are already interested enough to give you their email addresses in exchange for engaging content and/or more information. (Check out these six ways to collect email addresses without a website.)
You can dive deeper into email drip campaigns (with examples) for further inspiration.
Expert tips for creating an email onboarding sequence
The following are eight expert tips to create an email onboarding sequence that converts leads into paying customers.
Begin with a confirmation email
It might sound simple enough, but you’ll want to verify that every new subscriber is a real person with a legitimate email address.
A concise confirmation email can do just that. The email is sent immediately with a link requesting the recipient verify his or her email address by clicking.
While most will likely confirm right away, you’ll want to include a follow-up confirmation email for anyone who fails to do so.
Of course, when it comes to confirmation emails, the simpler and more direct the better. Focus on a clear call-to-action, which asks the recipient to click to confirm his or her email address.
Seize the welcome email opportunity
This is the first official step (and possibly the most important) of the email onboarding sequence.
It’s your opportunity to make a strong first impression and show your subscribers why they should open future emails from you.
Consider taking the approach of offering guidance and expressing your appreciation for their subscription. Remember, this is about starting to build a relationship. Treat it that way.
Consider multiple onboarding sequences
Logic and thinking through engagement scenarios is critical for effective email onboarding sequences. Not all subscribers are going to engage with your business in the same way or even engage with your emails in the same way.
You’ll want to segment your audience to account for these differences so that you’re sending the right messages to the right people at the right time.
Different actions they take (like making a purchase) or actions they don’t take (like failing to open an email) should trigger different sequences.
Personalized email makes a difference
However, the trick to personalization (like including the subscriber’s first name in the subject line of your email) requires data about your audience.
Email addresses alone won’t cut it.
Look at including additional fields to collect more data, such as name, city, age and/or any other information that can help you better personalize your messages.
You also could include a “complete your profile” email in your onboarding sequence as a call-to-action to obtain more data about your subscribers. You can even include an incentive, such as a discount code, to encourage subscribers to do so.
Think mobile first
About 46 percent of all emails are opened on mobile devices. Therefore, mobile optimization for your email onboarding sequence is critical.
Tactics that can help you optimize your emails for mobile include (but are not limited to):
- Use a responsive email template that automatically resize across devices and screen sizes.
- Choose simple images that are a smaller file size, which will load more quickly.
- Keep the character count in your subject line as short as possible since most mobile devices only show so much.
And, consider using SMS marketing in your onboarding sequence.
Focus everything around your onboarding call-to-action
Setting and achieving goals with your onboarding emails comes down to using the right CTAs at the right time while focusing each email on that CTA.
It’s common to be tempted to stuff too much into any one email.
Remember who you’re writing to. More than ever, you’re writing for subscribers who often skim more than read.
Time is a valuable resource. No one will feel the need to invest a lot of time reading a long, unfocused email. An email with more than one CTA can also lead to confusion and a loss of subscriber engagement.
Focus your content on capturing the attention of your subscribers and then incentivizing them to take a specific action.
Engaging. Direct. Incentivized.
Don’t overthink it. Pair your CTA with the right visuals, but the simpler the better.
Think through valuable content for your subscribers
Whether your sequence is educating your subscribers with tips, showing them how to best use your product, sharing how they can get the most out of your service or something else, your content has to be just as well-thought-out as your CTA.
This can include, for example:
- Video tutorials
- Freebies, like an ebook or webinar
- Behind-the-scenes content
- Q&A with industry-related experts
Whatever the specific content thread, map out each sequence. Then, balance out the anticipated actions that your subscribers could do so that you can meet them where they are every step of the way.
Test as much as possible
Email onboarding sequences shouldn’t exist in a vacuum. Testing will help you best understand what will work best with your subscribers.
One way to do this is with A/B testing. It’s about showing two variants of any particular element to different segments of your audience at the same time. You then compare which variant is more successful. A/B testing is also known as split testing.
Plus, you can level up your email marketing skills with any of these eight online courses.