Customer onboarding is welcoming and integrating new customers into your business and turning them into loyal, long-term customers. A crucial part of onboarding is the initial emails you send to your new customers to set the right tone and lay the foundation for a strong customer relationship. These onboarding emails should be helpful, educational, and tailored to your customers’ needs.
Well-crafted customer onboarding emails generate high response and open rates, establish trust, and positively influence customer lifetime value. Appropriate use of email allows you to create an exceptional onboarding journey that makes customers feel valued and engaged.
This article covers best practices and tips for crafting effective customer onboarding emails. The various sections include:
The first email you send a new customer should be a personalized thank you message that arrives within minutes or hours of their purchase. This instant gratification email acknowledges the customer’s decision to do business with you and sets the foundation for a helpful, positive relationship.
A thank you email establishes social proof that helps gain the customer’s trust and confidence in your brand. Customers want to know they made the right choice, and this email puts their minds at ease. It also makes them feel appreciated and generates goodwill throughout their onboarding journey.
In your thank you email:
A prompt, specific, and sincerely appreciative thank you email is all it takes to start your onboarding off right. This simple outreach builds trust by showing the customer you care enough to follow up immediately. It lets you fix any issues immediately and set a precedent for responsive, helpful customer service. So make that first good impression count with a personalized thank you message that arrives immediately after your new customer places an order.
After the thank you email, your next customer onboarding communication should include helpful FAQs (frequently asked questions) and tutorials about using your product or service. Customize these based on what your new customers will likely need or want to know as they start.
Send this email within the first week after purchase, before customers encounter problems they need help with. This establishes you as a useful resource that simplifies the onboarding process. Start by acknowledging customers may have questions as they begin using what they bought. Provide direct, clear answers to common issues through:
Offer to follow up with any additional questions customers may have. Leave them reassured they have a resource they can utilize as needed.
These guides aim to give your new customers the information they need to use your product or service confidently and independently. This establishes you as a go-to resource they trust and depend on for helpful guidance. So put yourself in their shoes, think of their likeliest questions, and craft FAQs and tutorials that clearly and directly answer those questions - educating and empowering your customers from day one.
In addition to FAQs and tutorials, providing your new customers’ access to other useful resources can significantly boost their onboarding experience. This helps them get the most value possible from what they purchased, establishing you as a brand that goes above and beyond to enable their success.
Some ways you can provide helpful resources:
The more value you can provide through useful resources during onboarding, the more successful and satisfied your new customers will ultimately be. Just make sure to:
By supplementing your FAQs and tutorials with additional educational content and resources, you give your new customers everything they need to ramp up quickly and make the most of what they bought from you. This significantly boosts the return on their initial investment in your brand and lays the groundwork for a long-term, value-driven relationship.
In addition to educational resources, providing your new customers with targeted offers and exclusives is a great way to boost their onboarding experience and build loyalty. Customers want to feel appreciated and rewarded for doing business with you, so that tailored promotions can be highly impactful during these early communications.
Some types of special offers include:
When sharing any special offers:
By providing new customers exclusive discounts, upgrades, perks, and gifts, you show them you value their business beyond their initial purchase. These targeted promotions incentivize customers to spend more with you sooner, buy additional products and services, and increase their lifetime value. Just be strategic and selective about your offers so everything you share genuinely benefits customers and builds loyalty - versus simply “selling more stuff.”
Sharing real customer stories and testimonials in onboarding emails can hugely impact building trust, credibility, and social proof with new customers. Hearing directly from people like them about their positive experiences reassures new customers they made the right choice by purchasing from you.
When sharing stories and testimonials:
By including authentic customer stories and testimonials in your onboarding journey, you let results speak for themselves in a powerful, persuasive way. New customers see with their own eyes that people like them have successfully used your product or service to achieve meaningful results. This tangibly demonstrates your credibility and inspires confidence that your new customers can achieve success, too, when they utilize what you offer.
Social proof is hugely impactful, so leverage real customer stories strategically during onboarding to build trust, legitimacy, and proof that you can deliver on your promises immediately.
Ask new customers for referrals, reviews, and feedback near the end of your customer onboarding process. This benefits your business and encourages customers to feel invested and recognized for helping improve your product or service.
When making these requests:
By asking new customers for referrals, honest reviews, and constructive criticism at the end of onboarding, you gain valuable insight to improve future customers’ experiences. You also motivate customers to feel invested and engaged as contributors - not just passive recipients of your product or service. This elicits goodwill, increases customer loyalty and social proof, and fuels beneficial word-of-mouth marketing.
So once your new customers are up and running, recognize them as potentially influential brand advocates. Then ask respectfully and genuinely for their help shaping your business - while making it as easy as possible for them to contribute in the ways that work best.
Track key metrics like open rates and click rates to ensure your customer onboarding emails are effective. This data can reveal which subjects, formats, and content resonate most strongly with your new customers so you can optimize future communications accordingly.
You can track these metrics using email marketing software or tools within your email service provider. The insights will show you the following:
Armed with these actionable insights, you can then:
Tracking key metrics transforms your onboarding emails from a set-and-forget series into a continually improving program. Data reveals what’s working and what’s not - so you can promptly adjust and enhance your approach to maximize customer value and give future new customers even better experiences.
Follow up with new customers regularly after sending your initial customer onboarding emails. Consistent follow-up communications help retain customers, solidify relationships, and ensure customers continue progressing along their journey.
Send follow-up emails:
In follow-up emails:
Regular, considerate follow-up communications complete your customers’ onboarding journey by ensuring they get everything they need to be successful long-term users of your product or service. This continuity keeps your brand top-of-mind, renews customers’ sense of value, and deepens your relationship - turning new customers into increasingly loyal, engaged advocates over time.
Customers have short attention spans, so keep your onboarding email content concise, scannable, and easily digestible. Break up text with visual elements, use headers and bullet points, and write in a conversational yet concise style.
By making your onboarding email content easy and quick to understand, you maximize the chance customers will read and absorb the included information. Scannable, concise formatting also helps customers easily find answers to their specific questions amid longer emails. So edit out unnecessary words, and break up copy with visuals and format for readability to ensure your best practices and tips reach - and resonate with - the intended audience.
The most effective customer onboarding emails have one thing in common: they are personalized. Little touches that show you know something specific about that particular customer go a long way toward building trust, rapport, and loyalty.
Ways to personalize onboarding emails:
The more unique details you include to show you remember and recognize that specific customer as an individual, the more valuable and sincere your email will feel. Avoid generic salutations and “one-size-fits-all” wording to craft messages tailored to that person’s goals, needs, and circumstances. The impact of a simple personal touch cannot be overstated - so strive to truly see your customers as individuals and communicate accordingly to deeply connect from day one.
Including product demos and walkthroughs in your onboarding emails can be extremely valuable for helping customers learn how to navigate and utilize your product or service. Visual content engages customers differently than text alone and directly shows them your capabilities.
When sharing demos:
The more your new customers can directly see and interact with how your product or service works in practice, the quicker and smoother their onboarding journey will be. Product demos fill gaps that written guides may miss by displaying the user experience. So, in addition to traditional text-based forms of education, supplement your onboarding emails with targeted walkthroughs, tutorials, and demonstrations - especially visual and interactive content - that bring your offerings to life for new customers.
Every customer onboarding experience is an opportunity to set the foundation for a long-term, mutually beneficial relationship. The right combination of thoughtful communications, helpful resources, and personalized touches during onboarding transforms new customers into loyal advocates who buy more, stay longer, and recommend you to others.
Never underestimate the power of a few well-crafted, strategically-timed emails at the beginning of the customer journey. Simple tips like thanking customers promptly, providing useful guides, offering targeted incentives, asking for feedback, and tailoring content personally can substantially improve the onboarding experience and set customers up for success from day one.
So invest the time and effort needed to craft onboarding emails that genuinely benefit and educate your new customers. Otherwise, you risk losing them before their relationship with your brand begins. When done right, customer onboarding emails pay massive dividends by ensuring customers get maximum value from what they bought - and continue returning for more.
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