First impressions are exceedingly important for starting a relationship off on the right foot. They set the tone for future interactions and create a perception that can be hard to change.

Customer relationships in business are no different — and that's where welcome or onboarding emails come in to play.

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Welcome emails receive some of the highest levels of engagement from customers. In fact, according to an Experian study, welcome emails are opened four times more frequently than normal promotional emails. This increased engagement presents a unique opportunity to open up the communication channel and start building trust right from the start, which leads me to my next point.

Welcome emails aren't just sent to create a positive first impression for your customers. They also serve a higher purpose. So, what exactly are the goals of a welcome email?

  1. Acquaint new customers with your business.
  2. Show them the value you bring to the table.
  3. Set them up for success.

The key here is the final two points. If you want your customers to get the most out of your welcome message — and their entire relationship with your business — you can't skip these steps.

free welcome Email Template to send to customers

Luckily, if you include these four elements in your welcome email, you won't have to worry about any missed opportunities.

How to Write a Welcome Email for Your Customers

1. Write a catchy subject line.

Research shows that while 76% of consumers expect to receive a welcome email after subscribing to a company, only 50% of these emails are ever opened. That means if your welcome email doesn't catch the eye of your new customer, they may not know you sent it at all.

The best tool you can leverage to increase email open rates is the subject line. A catchy and actionable subject line can draw customers in and make them curious about your content.

When writing subject lines, be sure to include what your email is promoting and how it will benefit your customer. Remember to be concise because the reader will only be able to see a sentence or two in the preview. A good rule of thumb is that your subject line should provide enough information to peak the reader's interest, but not enough so that they need to open your email for the full details.

2. Restate your value proposition.

Although this may seem like an unnecessary step to take, it can actually provide some significant benefits.

The most obvious benefit is that it provides the customer with some reassurance that they made the right decision signing up. It's never a bad thing to remind customers why they created an account with you, and it clarifies exactly what they can expect to achieve with your product or service.

This also gives you the opportunity to clearly explain any ancillary services or features that you offer that could create more stickiness with your business. This is especially true if you have a complex solution with unique features that customers might not know about.

3. Show the next onboarding steps.

Now that you've reminded them why they signed up, get them fully set up with your product or service. Usually, there are steps that users must take after signing up to get the most out of the platform. Some examples include:

  • Completing their profile information
  • Setting preferences
  • Uploading necessary information (e.g. contacts into a CRM, profile picture for a social media profile, etc.)
  • Upgrading their account or completing an order

4. Generate the "A-ha" Moment.

This is one of the most important steps to take in a welcome email, and there's a data-backed reason behind that. Former Facebook head of growth, Chamath Palihapitiya famously discovered that if you can get a user to acquire seven friends within 10 days, they were much more likely to see Facebook's "core value" and become a returning active user. This is known as an "a-ha moment," in which the customer understands how they benefit from using your product or service.

The goal is to get the user to this aha moment as quickly as possible so your product sticks and the customer achieves success as soon as possible. This will produce a better overall customer experience and ultimately help your business grow.

To get this done, first identify your business's "core value" and the obstacles or prerequisites customers must complete to receive this value. Then you can use your welcome email to guide new customers through these tasks.

5. Add helpful resources.

As mentioned in the previous step, you want the user to see the value immediately. But, customer success doesn't stop there. Depending on the nature and complexity of your product, customers may need additional help. For example, customers might require guidance on troubleshooting, utilizing advanced features, or getting the most value out of your core features.

It's likely that you've already created help content addressing common questions from customers. Whether it's tutorial videos, an FAQ page, or helpful blog posts containing best practices, this help content is essential to customer success. Why not include it in your welcome email? This gives them the tools they need up front without forcing them to search for the information after a problem arises.

6. Provide customer service contact information.

The final step to setting your customers up for success is making sure that they know how to contact you. You can spend all the time in the world creating excellent help content, but you can't foresee every possible problem that will arise for your customers.

Even if you could, customers are only human, and not all of them will be willing to pore through your help resources to find the answer to their question. So it's best to be forthright with customers on how they can get in touch with you for additional help.

Adding this contact information to your welcome email is a great way to lay the foundation of trust needed for a building a relationship. It drives customer loyalty and reassures readers that you are available if they need you. Avoid sending customers on a treasure hunt just to find a way to ask you a simple question. This will lead to frustration and send them into the arms of your competitors.

7. Conclude with a Call-to-Action.

You should wrap up your welcome email with a call-to-action that entices customers to begin the onboarding process. After you've demonstrated your company's value and explained how you're going to help them achieve their goals, customers will be eager to get started. So, make things easier for them by providing a button at the end of the email that triggers the first step in the onboarding process.

Here's one example of what this could look like.

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Now that we've discussed what you should include in a welcome email, let's look at a few templates you can use for your messages.

Onboarding & Welcome Email Templates for New Customers

Now that you've seen the breakdown of the different elements of an effective welcome email and why they're important, let's put them together to create a template you can use for your own business.

New Customer Welcome Email Template

This template is an excellent example to follow, but you can certainly adapt certain elements of your welcome email to make it more relevant to your business. You can also take inspiration from other welcome email examples to find inspiration on how to improve your own.

New Customer Onboarding Email Template

Since onboarding emails are a different type of welcome email, we have a template for you to customize that illustrates those differences described above. Here's the template if you want to copy-paste it into your own email provider.

Subscription-Upgrade Email Template

If you operate a subscription-based company, you may have users who have upgraded from a free version of your product or service to a premium one. While these aren't necessarily "new" customers, they still require an email that introduces them to their account's new features.

Here's an email template you can customize for these users.

Newsletter Signup Email

If you're not a subscription-based business, or if you have a blog, you may send out a recurrent email newsletter to update customers about what's going on at your business. When subscribers sign up, your introductory message should have the same intention as a traditional welcome email, but it'll lack some of the components you would include for new customers. Instead, the copy of this email will focus on what your newsletter will provide to subscribers.

Here's an example template you can use.

When making changes, always keep the primary goal of your welcome email in mind: setting your customers up for success. This might mean you'll have to try out different tactics to see what works best. For example, if you have a very complicated product, you might want to split up your welcome email into an onboarding workflow. Just be sure to monitor your customer success metrics and choose the process that works best for you and your customers.

Editor's note: This post was originally published in April 2016 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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 Customer Onboarding Templates

Originally published Aug 7, 2020 3:32:00 PM, updated August 08 2020

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Customer Onboarding