Some examples and best practices of effective welcome emails

Does this stuff actually work??

I try to have my marketer hat on all the time. This is especially true for when I sign up for an app and the onboarding process starts.

The welcome email, in particular, is extremely important to me. How well we write it determines:

Among many other important things.

Josh Elman, who did user onboarding for Twitter and LinkedIn, sums it up well when he said,

Right after somebody signs up for your service is your moment. You have more attention than you ever will have again from that user to try to teach them what your product is really about.”
--Josh Elman on The Secrets to Driving Massive User Growth

We've done a lot of experimenting and testing on what works and what doesn't in welcome emails. We've went from getting ignored by everybody to getting 9 out of 10 customers to self-schedule onboarding calls with us.

Not the easiest thing to do.

So in this post, I give 3 actual examples of typical welcome emails, why I think they don't work, and consequently, why you shouldn't copy them.

At the end of the post, you'll also get the actual template we use that gets 90% of customers to self-schedule calls with us.


Bad Welcome Email 1: "The Dangerous One"


Okay, it's not actually dangerous. Not gonna hurt or kill you.

But it's the most typical.

Just like it's a bad idea for someone to decide to open a restaurant because she assumes common means profitable...

It's probably a bad idea for you to waste this critical moment -- when you're welcoming your customer to your app -- by copying the typical welcome email.

Most of them are filled with fluff. A wasted opportunity.

Like this one from a popular email productivity app that's raised tens of millions of dollars from top investors:

Great to have you on board!

You just joined hundreds of thousands of people who have taken back control of their email and their sales process with APP. Now you have the actionable intelligence you need to work more efficiently and stay connected to your most important contacts.

The best way to learn APP is to jump right in and start using it. We've pooled together some helpful tips to lend a hand if you ever get stuck or want to learn more: You can read them here.

Have any questions or feedback? You can always get in touch with us at support@APP.com, or send us a tweet @APP. We're here to help and we'd love to hear from you

Basically, it contains a lot of words but says nothing. It also does not know what it's trying to accomplish.

Is it to get a customer to read tips? Give feedback? Will you read this email then tweet them? I doubt it.

It's a wasted opportunity.

Bad Welcome Email 2: "The Annoying One"


My name is John and I will be your account representative as you evaluate ABC app. I will be calling you in next few mins to introduce myself and understand your requirements.

Meanwhile, please do not hesitate to write to me if you have any questions.

We look forward to having you onboard successfully and we welcome to ABC app once again.

John, Customer Success Manager

I respect John's hustle. Cold-calling can work. But:

First, you usually get voicemail, which sucks.

If you catch a customer, you're interrupting her, which tends to make the conversation brief and shallow. You're also possibly training her not to take your calls and answer your emails.

Second, you'd have to ask for a phone number upfront, which drastically reduces your sign ups for no good reason.

I also noticed me scheduling calls with SoHelpful.me customers didn't work as well as having them schedule a call with me.

The latter gives me control over what time I have calls. More importantly, it sets us up for more in-depth conversations.

Finally, the third, which has nothing to do with cold-calling, but filler words.

Phrases like “Please do not hesitate to write to me” and “we welcome you to ABC app” make the email long... Without actually saying anything.

Customers do not feel welcome. And they will almost never write you at all.

Not good if your goal is to get their feedback.

Bad Welcome Email 3: "The FU One"


Here is one a startup recently sent Kevin.

Before you read this ... keep in mind we're paying $100+/month for this service.

Hi Kevin, I saw that you signed up for our API and I wanted to learn more about how you were using it. Is there a time this week we can chat real quick to discuss it?

Thanks, John

So this guy wants Kevin to waste his time trying to schedule a call with him? Why the heck would he waste time and effort doing that?

Send this email if you want to piss off your customers. You can also use it if you do NOT want to learn how your customers are using your API.

So you've seen three examples of welcome emails that don't work.

Don't copy them!

Time to stop raving against bad emails... Here's an example of one that works.

The email that gets 9 of 10 customers to self-schedule with us


Good Welcome Email

This gets a 90% call rate. Why?

6 critical points:

Onboarding, especially the welcome email, is sales. Don't waste this critical opportunity with fluff.

Customize this email to welcome your customers and let me know (chiara@sohelpful.me) how you do?


What the heck is Concierge Onboarding? Learn how SaaS founders, product marketers, and Customer Success VPs are doing it to increase trial-to-paid conversions and reduce churn in our free concierge onboarding course.

Photo credit: Nathan