The first hurdle is getting customers to sign up to your email list. What comes next is a constant effort to make them want to stay signed up. This is why you need to make sure your email campaigns are on point.
Your customers don’t want their inbox to be filled to the brim with emails that they don’t care about. This is why you need to provide value in every single email you send, starting from the first one.
The first few emails that you send to your customers should be a part of an onboarding strategy.
In this part of the email marketing guide, we’ll look at:
- What onboarding emails are
- What those first onboarding emails should be
- Some tips on how to create effective onboarding emails
What are onboarding emails?
Onboarding emails are the first few emails that you send to your customers after they subscribe to your mailing list.
You can use onboarding emails to guide your customers on how they can find value in being a part of what your business does.
These emails have an important place in your email marketing strategy.
You can use them to:
- Set the stage for how your email communications will be going forward.
- Give your customers important information that they might need to know about your company.
- Help customers complete setting up their accounts.
- Let them know about any perks they get for subscribing.
Why are onboarding emails important?
Onboarding emails guide your customers through the first steps on how to engage with your business and what you offer. Unlike other kinds of marketing, email gives you access to each individual customer, so you can prioritise helping them on a one-to-one basis.
Onboarding emails set the tone for your email marketing strategy. These emails are your opportunity to start off on the right foot and begin giving your customers reasons why they should trust you and your business.
What are the different types of onboarding emails?
There are a few different kinds of emails within the onboarding category:
Welcome emails are an opportunity to introduce yourself to your customers. It is your chance to make a first impression that will last.
Welcome emails have a significantly higher open rate than other types of email marketing.
GetResponse studied over 2 billion emails that were sent by their customers across 19 industries. They found that welcome emails had a 91.43% open rate.
There is so much potential that can come from welcome emails if you use them well.
Here are a few different ways you can use welcome emails:
- Add a gift
A great way to encourage customers to subscribe to your email list is by offering them a free gift for subscribing. This can be something like a free item or a discount code.
Under Armour is a sportswear company. In this welcome email, they include a discount code for the customer’s next purchase. By including the code they create some excitement in the mind of the customer so that when they see future emails from Under Armour they will want to open them as they may have something interesting or of value inside.
- Express your brand personality
You can use these kinds of welcome emails to establish your unique brand voice. This is the personality of your business that sets you apart and makes you memorable.
Impossible Foods is a company that develops meat substitutes, all made from plants. In this welcome email they are expressing their personality by using fun and funny copy, bright colours, and product images. By doing this, Impossible Foods has established a tone of voice that they will use in emails going forward.
Having a clear and consistent brand personality will help their customers know what to expect from them, which helps to buid up loyalty and trust.
- Welcome customers into a community
In these welcome emails examples, you can introduce the customer to your business community. This is especially useful for platforms that are used to create and share content.
Lightroom is a photo editing application from Abobe. In this welcome email, they introduce the new customer to the Lightroom community and encourage them to share their creations on the platform.
The idea behind creating a community of users is that it will motivate people to use the platform. If they feel like they are a part of a group of creators, they will feel encouraged to create and share more of the art that they make on Lightroom.
Free trial ending onboarding emails
These emails simply remind your customers that their free trial is about to end, and asks them if they want to start a subscription.
Netflix sends out emails like this one to let their customers know that they’ve reached the end of their trial.
Notice the language that Netflix uses; friendly, simple, and easy to understand. Remember that the goal of these types of emails is to get people to sign up for paid memberships.
You don’t want potential customers struggling to understand what they need to do in order for them to continue enjoying your product or service.
Getting started onboarding emails
You can use these emails to give your customers a guide on how to make the most of your product, or how to use your website.
You can send these emails instead of sending a welcome email, or you can do both, depending on what you want to communicate with your customers.
Vimeo Create is a platform for creating videos, this email breaks down how to use the platform and gives the customers some tips on how to make the most of the product. Learning a new platform for the first time can be frustrating if there aren’t any clear instructions or guides. This kind of email helps Vimeo users learn how to use the platform, so they will have an easier time getting started. A positive user experience will keep people coming back. And this sets them off on the right path.
Verification onboarding emails
You want to do everything in your power to protect you email list from bots. Bots are computer programs that are designed to complete specific tasks, they essentially pretend to be human. When it comes to email lists, bots can try to sign up with fake email addresses. This can also have an impact on your bounce rate, which refers to how often your emails are sent succesfully.
Having an email list full of bots will do nothing for your business. You want your emails to be read by real customers, not machines.
This is why it’s a good idea to include a verification email in your onboarding strategy. A verification email creates an extra layer of protection to help protect your email list. An email list full of bots pretending to be humans is bad for future business.
As soon as a customer signs up for your email list, you’ll send an email asking them to verify their email before they can continue with their accounts.
This email from Buzzfeed is a good example. They clearly explain that the customer needs to verify their email address before they can start receiving email newsletters. Email verification can be a bit tedious, so this lighthearted tone keeps the customer engaged enough to complete the task of verifying their email.
Tips for creating successful onboarding emails
You want your customers to feel excited to receive your emails, not frustrated by them.
With that in mind, here are 4 tips for creating successful onboarding emails:
- Set up an automated system for onboarding emails,
Manually sending emails one by one to every single customer is not a good use of time or resources. This is where technology can come through with a saving grace: email automation.
With email automation, you set up a system that automatically sends emails to your customers based on actions that they take.
For example, welcome emails should be sent as soon as possible after a customer signs up, so automation will help make sure that happens.
- Have clear CTAs.
CTA stands for Call to Action. A CTA is simply an instruction that you give your customers to get them to do something specific.
Clear CTAs help everyone stay on the same page. When designing your emails, you should have a specific goal in mind, and you should make it as easy as possible for your customers to achieve that goal for you.
Below is a welcome email from the streaming platform Disney+. The goal is to guide customers onto the platform so they can start watching. Their CTA is located in a stand-alone blue box with “stream now” displayed. A simple to understand CTA is always important.
It’s clear about what they want their customers to do, simple and to the point.
- Keep things short and sweet.
You want to find a balance between giving your customers enough information to get started, and overwhelming them with too much information.
When it comes to emails in general, it’s always a good idea to keep things brief and to the point.
The email efficiency company Boomerang found that a good range to aim for when writing your email copy is 50 – 100 words. Emails with these word counts tend to have response rates above 50%
- Always optimize your emails for mobile devices.
Regardless of what emails you are writing, optimizing your emails for mobile devices is non-negotiable. A study by Adestra found that 62% of all emails today are opened on mobile devices.
It’s a good idea to do a tester email before you start sending them to customers.
See how it looks on both desktop and on mobile. Then you can be confident that your customers will be receiving great emails no matter the device they are using.
A good onboarding email strategy is your opportunity to start things right with your customers.
You should always value the customers that have shared their personal email addresses with you. From the very first email you send them, you should be making them feel like signing up to your email list was the right choice.
Nurturing your customers is a way to build trust and loyalty, onboarding emails are your way to start that out on the right foot.
Introduction & Intent:
As a business owner, you want to see your business grow. It might seem like the road to growth is acquiring as many new customers as you can, but really, the key to growth lies with your existing customers.
If a customer was blown away enough by your business to make a purchase in the past, they might be willing to make another one in the future if you keep the lines of communication open.
After growing your customer base over time, you’ll notice that some customers will lose interest in your emails and stop engaging with them, these people are called lapsed customers.
In this article, we’ll look at how you can re-engage lapsed customers by using winback campaigns.
What are winback emails?
Winback emails are a tool that you can use in your email strategy to re-engage the customers that have lapsed over time.
The idea behind winback emails is to convince these lapsed customers to come back and start engaging with your business again.
Why are winback emails important?
- They help you re-engage with lapsed customers
A winback campaign can help you re-introduce your business to customers that may have moved on or forgotten about you. They might just need a little push in the right direction, or a reminder of why they liked your business in the first place, to become loyal customers again.
- They help you to clean up your email list
There are many reasons why a customer might have lapsed, and while you can try to win some of them back, the reality is that not all of them will end up coming back.
If you’ve tried a few different winback emails on a customer and they don’t respond, it might be time to consider removing them from your list entirely.
Having a long email list won’t help you if most of the people on the list don’t engage with your emails. Running winback campaigns can help you judge whether or not you think certain customers still have an interest in your business, or if it would be better to just cut them loose.
What are the different kinds of winback emails?
There are a few different winback emails that you can use, and it’s a good idea to try out a few different ones to see what works for both you and your customers.
Here are a few different kinds of winback emails:
- Check-in/hello emails
These are simple emails that you can use to reach out to customers that haven’t interacted with your business in a while.
This is a check-in email from Google Local Guides that they sent to customers who haven’t used the platform in a while. It’s effective because it is cute and easy to consume. Customers might see this email and be reminded that they should get back to contributing to the site.
- Incentive emails
You can use these emails to offer your customers a special deal that might make them decide to buy something.
Blippr ran a survey and found that 29% of online shoppers will make a purchase that they didn’t originally plan for if it’s heavily discounted.
Grammarly is an online writing assistant, this is an email they sent out to their subscribers offering them a discount on a Pro account. If a customer was on the fence about buying a premium subscription, this might just be the thing to tempt them.
By sending this email, Grammarly has a chance of convincing unsure customers to finally go ahead and make a purchase.
- Survey/feedback emails
People like to feel that their opinions matter and that businesses listen to them and care about what they need. If a customer is still a bit unsure about your business, asking them to complete a survey might help them build trust with you.
Slack is a business communication platform, they sent this email out to some of their users to ask for their opinions.
This email emphasizes that the survey isn’t being sent to a lot of people, but rather a smaller group of carefully selected users. This would make the customer feel even more special, like their opinions truly matter.
- Last chance email
These emails give your customer one last chance to stay on the email list, but if they don’t respond, then it might be time to remove them.
As hard as it might be to make the choice to cut them off, it’s a win-win for both you and your customer. On your side, you can focus on customers that actually want to receive your emails, and on the customer’s side, they will have one less email clogging up their inbox.
Myles is a men’s clothing company, this is a last chance email that they sent to their lapsed customers.
It has a light and funny tone that’s not meant to make the customer feel bad or called out, but rather just updates them that this is their last chance to remain on the list.
Last chance emails do need a balanced and light tone because you don’t want to leave your relationship on a bad note, so it’s best to keep things positive, like Myles did.
Tips for creating successful winback emails
- Segment your email list
Customers can become lapsed for a lot of different reasons, so it’s a good idea to segment your customers into different groups so you can plan strategic winback campaigns.
You can divide your lapsed customers into a few different groups, such as:
- Customers that haven’t purchased anything from you in a while
- Potential customers that signed up to your email list, but have never purchased anything from you
- Customers with low open rates, meaning that they don’t open the emails you send them very often
- Customers with low click-through rates, meaning that they don’t often click on the links in your emails
Dividing your customers into these different categories will help you to design your winback emails in a more specific way to appeal to each type of lapsed customer and their experience.
- Give your customers a reason to re-engage
It’s important to try and understand the reason why customers disengaged in the first place, and then try to solve those issues going forward.
This would be a good opportunity to use surveys, you can ask your customers directly for feedback on how you can better serve them.
If the price was what was holding them back, you can consider offering them a discount. If they were unhappy with the designs of your email, then you can try and improve that experience.
Solving the problem that caused your customer to become disengaged would be a huge factor in winning them back.
- Nail the design and copy
Customers notice things like design, and it can have a huge impact on their experience of your emails. If you have bad email design, customers won’t want to open your emails in the future.
Design elements that you should always be improving are:
- Subject lines – you want to create catchy subject lines that intrigue customers so that they will want to open the email
- Email copy – this refers to the actual words that you use in the email. You should pay attention to things like tone and readability.
- Graphic design – your emails should have a nice design that suits your brand, but you don’t want to make it too busy.
- Mobile optimization – your emails should always be optimized for mobile, no matter what kind of email it is. You don’t want to isolate your customers that use mobile to check their emails.
Winback emails give you a chance to re-engage customers
There are amazing opportunities that can come from reaching new customers and selling to them for the first time, but you must never forget about the customers you already have.
Customer loyalty should be a priority, and doing everything you can to keep the customers you already have will benefit your business greatly. Winback emails give you that lifeline to try and re-engage lapsed customers, they have an important role to play in your email strategy.
A trap that a lot of business owners fall into is getting swept away by vanity metrics. Vanity metrics are the numbers that look really good on the surface, but don’t really have much substance underneath.
While having an email list full of subscribers might feel like an achievement, the list won’t be effective if only a few of them actually engage with your emails.
At the end of the day, you don’t want an email list filled with people that don’t want to receive your emails.
This is where sunset email strategies come into the picture.
In this article, we’ll dive into what sunset emails are, look into some real-world examples and explore how you can get started with creating a sunset email strategy for your business.
What are sunset email campaigns?
A sunset email campaign is about identifying email subscribers that have become inactive. The purpose of the campaign is to send emails to these subscribers to either re-engage them, or remove them from the email list entirely.
When building an email list, your goal should be quality over quantity. It will benefit you so much more to nurture the subscribers that actually want to receive your emails, rather than seeking out new ones all the time.
Sunset email campaigns give you an opportunity to sort through your email list and make some decisions about who you want to focus your resources on, and who you would rather not.
Why are sunset emails important?
There are many benefits to sunset email campaigns:
- Increasing open rates
Email open rates refer to how often people open the emails you send them. For example, if you send out an email to 10 subscribers and only 5 of them open the email, then you have a 50% open rate.
Constant Contact looked at the data from over 200 million emails and found that the average open rate for emails across all industries was 25.39%
If you can see that a subscriber has been receiving your emails, but hasn’t been opening them, you can start to think about a sunset campaign and cleaning up your email list.
- Increasing click-through rates
Click-through rates refer to how often people click on the links in your email.
Having a high open rate doesn’t necessarily mean that you will have a high click-through rate, this is why you need to be looking at them both.
If you can see that a subscriber has been opening your emails, but has never clicked on any of the links, it might be worth considering if you still find that relationship valuable.
It might be enough for you to have subscribers that just read your emails, but if your goal is to guide them onto your website, then it might be better to phase them out with a sunset campaign.
- It can help you cater towards your active subscribers
Cutting down the inactive subscribers on your email list can help you focus on the people who actually enjoy and find value in your emails.
You can see how they respond to the emails you send them and adjust your strategy to suit them. This will help you nurture relationships and build loyalty with the right people.
- It will prevent your emails from being marked as spam
Email providers, like Gmail and Outlook, are constantly updating their spam filter. This filter helps them to determine what could be considered legitimate emails, and what could be considered spam.
These filters try to find red flags, the common traits that are used in spam emails. Using this information, the email filters will decide what should go into the regular inbox, and what should go straight into the junk/spam folder.
If your emails have a consistently low open and click-through rate, it can impact how email providers view your business. Having subscribers that who engage consistantly with your emails will stop email providers from flagging your emails as unwanted spam.
How to set up a sunset email campaign
- Identify your inactive users
The first step in setting up a sunset email campaign is understanding who your inactive subscribers are. These are the people that haven’t engaged with your emails in a while.
Generally, subscribers can respond to your emails with either positive engagement or negative engagement.
Positive engagement includes:
- High open rate
- High click-through rate
- Email forwarding
Negative engagement includes:
- Low open rate
- Low click-through rate
- No replies
- High unsubscribe rate
You want to do whatever you can to keep email engagement on the positive side, so you should keep an eye on the subscribers that are tipping more towards the negative. When you do find some subscribers that are engaging negatively, you can look into starting a sunset campaign to resolve it.
- Segment inactive users into different categories
Once you know who your inactive subscribers are, you can start segmenting them into different categories and taking the next steps from there.
You can divide them into different categories based on their purchasing history and the way they engage with your emails.
- For subscribers that have made purchases from you in the past, you can try to re-engage them by offering them similar products that they have purchased from you in the past.
- For subscribers that have never purchased anything from you, you can think about sending them special deals and promotions to encourage them to buy something for the first time
- For subscribers with a low open rate, you can improve on your subject lines to be more interesting so that they will want to open the emails
- For subscribers with a low click-through rate, you can work on the design of your emails to make the links stand out more
- Try out some winback campaigns
Winback campaigns can be a way for you to try and convince subscribers to get involved with your business again.
This is a winback email that Google Maps sent out to encourage users to get back onto the platform. It’s a very lighthearted and simple way to remind their users to jump back in.
- Send goodbye emails
Goodbye emails are the last email that you send to an inactive subscriber. It’s your last chance to try and win them back before taking them off your list.
This is a goodbye email from Myles Apparel, a men’s clothing company. This email gives their subscribers one last chance to opt-in, and if they decide not to, they will be removed from the email list going forward.
This is the end of the road, the ball is in the subscriber’s court at this point.
- If they don’t respond, remove them from your email list
If you’ve done everything you can to re-engage inactive customers and they still haven’t responded, it might be time to just cut them loose.
As counterproductive as it might seem to remove people from your email list, in the long run, it will benefit the success of your email marketing strategy.
Sunset emails campaigns help you clean up your email list
There’s an old saying about how if you love something, you should set it free and if it is meant to be, it will come back. The same goes from your email list, as hard as it might be to start cutting your list down, it will be better for both you and your subscribers.
On the subscriber’s side, it’s just one less email clogging up their inbox that they don’t want. On your side, you’re freeing up space to focus on the subscribers that do engage positivley with you and build relationships with them.
Dropping a few subscribers every now and then will relieve some pressure. You can spend less time worrying about how to re-engage inactive subscribers, and more time nurturing relationships with the subscribers that want to hear from you.