5 (more) great onboarding examples

Mails

In the past, we have covered other user onboarding examples. But we wanted to take it a bit further this time. Not only will we be highlighting great user onboarding moments but showcasing the welcome emails that go with them. Great user onboarding doesn’t stand on its own; it requires support from other departments and channels, and email is a huge help during this process. Email supports the customer lifecycle with messaging that compliments the product experience, provides an opportunity for longer copy, and is another way to reach the user.

1. What makes a great welcome email?

A welcome email is one of the most important emails for your first-time users. It has the highest open rates of any email connected to a product experience. It helps when it follows a particular structure.

  • It gives a warm welcome to the user.
  • It can (but doesn’t have to) confirm a user’s action. This depends on the context of the product.
  • It usually gives them a straightforward CTA.
  • It can (but, again, doesn’t have to) remind them that they have started their trial period. This depends on the context of the product. 

Bonus points for tasteful upselling that doesn’t get in the way of the previous steps.

2. Asana

Asana is one of the most popular work management platforms in the SaaS industry, with 50,000 paid users reported as of 2020

WHY IT’S GREAT…
Asana has some of the cleanest B2B onboarding I have ever seen. Their user segmentation leads to different suggestions about how to approach your project. 

Their wizard tool creates fair expectations that are met later in the product experience.

Asana onboarding

The different views really help personalize the onboarding experience.

They remind you about your trial and celebrate you getting started in the same message.

Asana onboarding

BUT NOT PERFECT…
Have you ever watched a gymnast perform a fantastic display of physical feats and then not quite stick the landing? That’s what comes to mind with Asana’s second-to-last screen in their user onboarding process. A CTA that takes users away from discovering more value and immediately interacting with your product, especially the first few minutes, can be a dangerous mistake.

Asana onboarding
HOW THE EMAIL HELPS
  • Does a great job of reminding users they have started their trial.
  • It provides suggested to-dos to help the user get started.
  • While the amount of text isn’t too dense, Asana provides a bit of color and character.

3. Evernote

An established name in the note-taking/project planning niche, it makes ideas easy to write and organize. It has an average monthly traffic of 28 million users.

WHY IT’S GREAT…
Evernote’s onboarding has two phases 

  • Establishing goals
  • Product tour

The product tour does a fantastic job of familiarizing users with the dashboard in simple but necessary steps.

BUT NOT PERFECT…
Establishing user goals doesn’t really affect the outcome of the second phase. I’m not saying it’s pointless. It does a good job of showcasing the different environments you can get stuff done, but the same effect could be accomplished with fewer screens and concise copy.

Establishing goals/intent is great if it leads to actually personalizing the user experience. 

HOW THE EMAIL HELPS
Asana, take note. This is where you push for users to download your app. Evernote’s email accomplishes two things: it reinforces the ease of the application and pushes the user to download the mobile app.

4. Headspace

Headspace is a leader in the meditation/self improvement niche. Founded in 2004, the app currently has 2 million subscribers.

WHY IT’S GREAT…
Headspace has a challenge; it is seeking to calm users on a device notorious for being overstimulating. How does headspace accomplish this? In addition to asking about goals and intent, it puts users into a mini meditation. This isn’t there to manage expectations about UI or functionality but to get users to literally stop and take a breath. Headspace starts delivering value almost immediately.

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BUT NOT PERFECT…
Headspace might have a near-flawless user onboarding experience. Nearly. Headspace is trying to train people more with the concept of meditation than the functionality of its interface. Their segmentation leads users to the information they can’t immediately act on. The compromise that headspace offers is a mini-lesson about breathing. 

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HOW THE EMAIL HELPS
A textbook example of a great welcome email.

  • Starts of with a warm welcome to the user 
  • Reaffirming copy
  • The first CTA is getting the user started with “the basics”
  • There is an upselling moment at the bottom of the emai

5. Genail.ly

A content creation site uses templates and some animation features to make more engaging media. 

WHY IT’S GREAT…
You have a winner when you can make an experience fun from the first click. Genial.ly is one of those experiences. The landing page gives you a mini tutorial with very basic functionality. Not only is this fun, but it helps manage expectations for the user.

Genail.ly onboarding

The rest of their onboarding asks the right questions to understand the user’s needs and goals. 

BUT NOT PERFECT…
Genially spoils the user with a great landing page and concise onboarding it is a bit confusing to be brought to the dashboard with little to no guidance. 

Genail.ly onboarding

HOW THE EMAIL HELPS
It shows the user that they’ve started, joined a community and guides them to tutorials. *Chef’s kiss*

6. Gekoboard

Geckoboard is a company that makes dashboards more equitable. With an intuitive interface and an easy onboarding experience, they’ve made data collection and presentation much easier for any team.

WHY IT’S GREAT…
From the start Geckoboard is setting itself up to be a place to easily migrate data from other sources to make for easier information management. The whole onboarding process is smooth and simple.

BUT NOT PERFECT…
If Geckoboard wants to sway users from other products, an explanation or mini tutorial about how to leverage the visualization tool would be useful. 

Bonus points: Never once do I feel overwhelmed with features, a rare feat for a b2b data management SaaS.

Geckoboard onboarding

HOW THE EMAIL HELPS
Here’s the tutorial I was looking for! The copy is clean, concise and focuses on the key features that they want users to leverage

  • Bringing KPIs to the surface 
  • Making metrics collaborative
Geckoboard onboarding

7. Conclusion

This article may have implied that there is such a thing as perfect onboarding. It may be perfect for a few users, but it will never be perfect for everyone, which is okay. There are cardinal rules that should be followed. 

The welcome email is an important partner in the onboarding process. It helps champion the first-time user’s progression and the product itself. 

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