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11 SaaS Startups (Like You) Share Their Best Onboarding Emails

You want to get some onboarding email inspiration, but all you find on Google are examples from unicorns like Dropbox, Airbnb, and Netflix. 

You feel so desperate that you do something extraordinary that almost no sane person has ever done before — open the second page of Google search. 

Good news: you are sound and safe. Bad news: more of the same old emails.

You roll your eyes up and close the tab, ending your quest for inspiration.

I feel you, and I must take my fair share of the blame for this. In the past, we have showcased many email onboarding examples, and a big chunk of them are from household names like Dropbox.

Don’t get me wrong, these companies have produced some spectacular onboarding experiences, and we have a lot to learn from them, but looking at the same old screenshots gets boring pretty quickly. Plus, it’s hard for us to relate to the big guys.

Well, today is different.

We asked 11 early and middle-stage B2B SaaS companies to send us their best onboarding emails. So there you have it:

11 effective onboarding emails that you haven’t seen anywhere before.

Did I also mention that we have included real metrics like opens, clicks, and conversions? Well, keep on reading to find out what works in SaaS email onboarding.

Referral Candy Expected ROI Email

Customer referral software Referral Candy does a great job of quantifying their product’s value with their Expected ROI calculator. This email uses an engaging visual to get people to go to the calculator page and fill in their numbers. This is one of the best ways to anchor your product’s price against its value, especially if you get any price-related objections during the trial window.

This email’s call to action is looking to get merchants to interact with our ROI calculator. By entering their store’s average monthly sales, they can get an estimate of how much additional revenue ReferralCandy would generate for them.

This is the second email that new customers get after they sign up, and the reason why I like it so much is because:

  • It brings up something that the merchant is probably asking him/herself: How much money is this going to generate for my business? and
  • It makes us put some “skin in the game”. By providing them with a revenue estimation, we’re basically setting up a benchmark for ourselves — and we’re aware that merchants might be more likely to churn if their referral program does not reach this estimation. But we’re confident about what our tool can do for them.

Open rates for this particular email are at about 30%, and the clickthrough rate is over 7%.

Raul Galera, Partner Manager at ReferralCandy and CandyBar

Mailbutler Segmentation Email

Mailbutler Best SaaS Onboarding Email

Email productivity extension tool Mailbutler segments its trial users in order to deliver a more relevant and personalized experience. They use their welcome email to ask new users on how they intend to use the software. This approach is especially useful if you have a wide feature-set and it’s hard to identify the specific value moments for each user right off the bat.

Our product offers a suite of features designed to help you with emailing. But because anyone can register for a different reason, we can’t just assume they join with the same goal in mind – that’s why in the first email, I ask them what they would like to know about.

The goal of the email is for a new user to immediately get more information on what they are most interested in. This leads to an increase in the number of users who are active on their first day, or even in the first hour. If I detect that a user didn’t select anything, I repeat the question in another email, and if they still don’t reply, I send them to a more general onboarding. Those follow-up work well to get our users back into the product.

I think it works well because we’re trying to look at the problem from the users’ perspective. They didn’t download Mailbutler because they liked the logo; they have a problem — and with this question, we’re making the path to solving that problem as quick and easy as possible.

This email has a 65% open rate, 31% click rate, and leads to a 7% increase in getting new users activated.

Szymon Sekula, Business Intelligence Specialist at Mailbutler

SimpleTexting Welcome Email

Simpletext Welcome Email Best SaaS Onboarding Email

All-in-one text messaging platform SimpleTexting sends a simple welcome email (pun intended) to explain how their trial works and set the right expectations from the start.

This welcome email works because it communicates the purpose of our free trial.

It also clearly states the limits we place on our trial.

For several reasons, we need to place some restrictions on what customers can do with our trial. Instead of burying that, we want customers to know upfront. This does a couple of things:

  • Lets them know they can upgrade to our most basic $25 plan and remove those limits
  • Removes frustration when they come up against a trial limitation
  • Prevents them from thinking our platform doesn’t work

With this approach, we’ve seen a 25% conversion rate on that one email alone. (It’s the first email in a series.)

Drew Wilkinson, Content Marketer at SimpleTexting

Qualzz Free Trial Extension Email

Pop-ups service Qualzz gives expired trial users a 3-day extension for their trial. The extension becomes an excellent opportunity for inactive users to go back to the app and take it for another spin before they make the final decision. It’s also an opportunity for the Qualzz team to restart the conversation with potential leads.

At Qualzz, we have a +3 extra days free trial extension email which has pretty good open rates.  

We track the customers who completed their free trial, created at least one campaign but did not opt for the paid plan. 

We extend our free trial period automatically by 3 days and send this email to them.

The goal of the email to bring them back to the Qualzz application and log in. We provide our users an opportunity to evaluate our product features. 

In this email, we provide value and motivation to our users.

Value: This email converts great as we are giving them a tip on “Where to begin” and providing a sample campaign image that converts better. 

Motivation: We also provide a CTA button with the text “TAKE ME TO THE DASHBOARD“, this gives them a feeling of being navigated to their account directly and compels them to select this option.

Ranjit Gavalla, Co-founder and CEO at Qualzz

YAY Welcome Email

Online memories platform YAY manages to relate with its new users with this personal, friendly welcome email from its founders.

The email follows the successful PAS (Pain – Agitate – Solve) formula:

  • Pain: capturing the precious moments of your child.
  • Agitate: No clear way how to do that.
  • Solve: YAY online diary.

The email ends with a clear call to action that gets users back to the app, guiding them to complete the first critical action in the onboarding process — writing the first entry.

Landbot Use Case Welcome Email

Popular bot-building platform Landbot uses Encharge to segment their new users based on their use cases and send relevant welcome emails to the right people.

Swipe Pages Nudge Email

AMP landing page platform Swipe Pages sends a nudge email when a user signs up for an account but fails to create a page. This email aims to get the user back to the app and nudge them to create the first page by demonstrating the product’s value and handling any common objections (like how long it takes to build a page).

The email also uses liquid tags in Encharge in order to personalize the email based on the user’s industry:

“The best part is that it takes less than 5 minutes to create your first landing page with one of our predefined Health & Fitness templates.”

Reloadly Customer Success Cadence

Mobile Top-up API platform Reloadly has a personal customer success email cadence that gets sent based on the user’s actions. The emails’ goal is to nudge the user in the right direction while offering friendly help from the customer success team.

We use these emails to onboard our clients:

Email 1: Welcome Email with instructions

Goal of the email is to move clients from registered status to testing status. It works great because it’s simple and provides our new users with access to the documentation they need and our tutorials to get started.

Email 2: Follow up with account before going live

The goal of the email is to move clients from test status to live status. It helps us identify any blockers and fast track the account to live status. It works wonders because it’s personal, short and sweet. Showing we truly care for our customers and we are here for them every step of the way. Every client has answered this email so far. 

Email 3: Follow up with account after 1 month traffic

The goal is stickiness + retention and also creating a customer success story. It works great because we show proactivity and care. Loyalty bonus points here!

Sophia Rascon, Head of Customer Success at Reloadly

Writer Chrome Extension Email

AI business writing assistant Writer uses a straight forward nudge email to get people to download its Chrome extension — a critical moment in the onboarding process. The email is concise and the call to action clearly visible, which certainly helps users to take action.

This email identifies a key part of our stickiness: having our chrome extension installed, and we only send it to users who have not yet done that action. It works fairly well as it helps us doubles the install rate of our Chrome extension.

May Habib, Co-founder at Writer

Chargebee Meeting Nudge Email

Popular subscription management platform Chargebee uses an intelligent action-triggered nudge email to get people to book a demo. The CTA is clear and value-oriented “Talk to a Chargebee expert” and not “Book a demo”.

We always place the experience of our customers on top, right from the evaluation stage. There might be a bunch of good experiences and/or bad experiences during their visit to our website. It could be something as simple as a delay in calendar load, or something complicated – not ready for a call because they weren’t sure about the value of our product. 

With this email, we’re trying to eliminate all those possibilities and nudge these visitors that dropped off at the most important stage -— by setting the right expectations for the call, and our product. And the ultimate goal of the email is to establish a conversation with our ideal prospects.

This is an event-triggered email, for all our website visitors that decide to schedule a demo and fill out the form, but did not book the calendar. Based on available data, we found out that visitors that also booked a calendar converted at a better rate into customers, compared to those who just filled out the form. To get this trigger, we make use of our marketing automation platform’s form submission records, along with the calendar field information, with a time-delay of around 20 minutes. There’s only one CTA on the email that opens up a calendar, there’s also an option of replying to this email, and we would pick up the conversation from there. 

The email has been running for over a month now! The open-rate of the email is around 38%, and the click-rate is around 6%.

Anirhudh Sridharan, Conversion Rate Optimization at Chargebee

Onboarding and troubleshooting email from The SMS Works

We provide an SMS API service for developers.

In order to get customers up and running they need to do some work.

While we provide excellent technical documentation to make the journey as painless as possible, we can’t do the integration for them.

That’s why it’s so important to try and understand early on if a customer has encountered any problems. If they have, chances are they won’t bother telling us, we just won’t hear from them again.

We need customers to understand that we’re here for them. Whatever the roadblock is, we’ll be able to get them moving again, quickly and efficiently.

Use of the question, “What’s stopping you?” as the email header gets straight to the heart of the issue and invites the reader to open up about any issues.

The objective is to reassure the customer that we’re there for them, we care and we’re quick and efficient.

It’s by far our most responsive email from the 57 automated emails that we send.

The read rate for this email is 32.1% and response rate is 3.7%

Henry Cazalet, Director and Co-founder at The SMS Works

More Resources on SaaS Onboarding Emails

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