(1) The ’Save For Later’ Email
One of the hardest realities that every SaaS company needs to face is that your product is not the most important thing in your customers day. This means that after registering for your trial, there’s a pretty good chance that other stuff came up in their day: emails, team meetings, critical fixes…
No matter how much of a painkiller your product is, it’s extremely rare that the only thing on that customers todo list for today, or even this week, is to evaluate vendors.
This is why the ’Save For Later’ email is so important.
It’s a tool for reference – something easily searchable and free from “fluff” so that a user can get quick access to their login URL, remember their username and the email address they used to register with.
Send this email immediately after the customer creates an account.
This email should not contain too much padding or any marketing messages. Instead, keep it simple and practical. Use a subject line something like “Your Account Details For App XYZ” and start the email with the line ’Save this email for reference later’.
This just makes it quick and easy for users to login again when they remember to come back to the app, to remind themselves of the main information and avoids those annoying “I can’t remember my login details!” support emails!
Purpose: Simple and clear reference email of important links and details
(2) The ‘Personal Welcome’ Email
In parallel to the ’Save For Later’ email, you should also send a personalised Welcome email to each new signup.
Depending on the scale of your startup and the value of an average signup, this could either be automated (but written to look personal) or it should actually be handwritten (as in, sent from within your Gmail account). If you’re writing these manually, try to ensure you send the email within the first 24hours of a new signup – setup some kind of daily digest of new accounts or be sure to check for new signups each morning.
The welcome email should be addressed from a real person (never use a ’no reply@‘ account!) and should invite the customer to reach out whenever they need to, and offer to setup an introductory Skype call.
Personally, I believe every new signup deserves a Skype call – even if you have a very low value product ($1-$50 /mo).
For the higher value signups (larger companies, signed up for a trial of a larger plan etc.) you need to elevate the relationship beyond simply email as soon as possible. People spending $499+ /mo like to feel like they’re buying from people, and a call is a great way to humanise the onboarding process.
For your lower value signups, you should still try and have as many introduction calls via Skype because you can learn a load about how to better attract and convert those smaller customers – which is useful for increasing the automation and scaleability of that funnel.
And if you’re product is good and the customer is successful, that $49 customer could become a $999 /mo customer within 3 years as their business grows!
Purpose: Invite the user for a welcome call
(3) The ‘Unused Features’ Email
For a user to successfully complete onboarding and become a paying customer, they need to realise the value your product can bring to their business.
But this is going to be very hard if they aren’t using each of the key features of your product! It may sound ridiculous, but a lot of your signups will not use your product after registering.
“But why spend all that time reading our website, completing a form and creating an account to then not use the product?”
Business users are time-poor, and you have a very short window to demonstrate those “Aha!” moments to them during onboarding. If you in-app onboarding process is not yet finished, has some gaps, or even if it’s perfect, you will still need to ’nudge’ customers towards using all the features in your product.
However, we aren’t talking about sending an email saying “Use this feature, now!”. Instead, you need to show, not tell.
You should demonstrate the benefits of a feature, past success stories and ROI stats. Try including links to video introductory walkthroughs, inline ‘gif demos’ and links to tutorial guides. The aim is to provide the customer with everything they need to convince themselves that they should be using the feature.
Never tell them they should do anything. People hate been told what to do.
Purpose: Invite the user to explore the benefits of unused features
(4) The ‘Invite Coworkers’ Email
If your product is collaborative, you should be doing everything possible to increase team adoption within your customers company. This has 2 benefits:
- Your products value is directly proportional to the number of coworkers to is connecting
- Your product gains increased mindshare and exposure within the company
This second benefit is particularly valuable in protecting your product against events such as employees at the company leaving, but it also helps to get the product through the onboarding process as it opens you up to more potential product champions.
To elaborate further: just because a particular person in the marketing department found your product and first created the account, it doesn’t mean that they will love the product as much as someone else in their team who they invited a few days later.
As with our email that highlights the benefits of features in the product that they may not have used yet, this email shouldn’t just tell the customer to invite team members.
Instead, it should show the benefits of having more team members in the platform. You could highlight the collaboration features, and link to a video tutorial explaining how to invite coworkers.
Purpose: Invite the user to invite coworkers to increase your footprint within the customers organisation
(5) The ‘Previous Customer Success Stories’ Email
Nothing speaks louder in B2B SaaS than existing customer success stories, and these should definitely be a part of your email onboarding strategy.
While some customer success managers would argue that these are the responsibility of the marketing department, I tend to ignore semantics discussions and look at the onboarding program holistically. Especially for something as valuable as sharing case studies!
Many SaaS products I’ve signed up for do this email totally wrong – they send an email that links me to a landing page, which has a big data capture form or a huge webinar registration form. This is a failing of technology and a problem of using too many different tools and databases.
Don’t ask me to tell your other database platform my name and email address!
You already know who the customer is (you’re emailing them right now!) so offer them a zero effort way to access your customer success stories. Give them direct links to video testimonials, direct links to the PDF downloads and direct access to join a webinar.
The purpose of this email is not to increase our progressive profiling of our customers data – we want them to see how successful past companies have been with the product, and help to strengthen within them the desire to engage with your product further.
As with all our previous emails, we are not telling them how successful existing companies have been. Instead, we’re providing an opportunity for them to discover this for themselves and inviting them to a conversation where we can show them how successful existing customers have been with our product.
Purpose: Invite them to download or view case studies of existing customer success stories
Liam Gooding is the CEO of Trak.io, a customer success management company offering a single cloud platform for managing the full customer lifecycle from onboarding, to retention, to upsells. He blogs about SaaS customer retention on blog.trak.io and is the Course Director of the Customer Success Academy.