Last updated: November 29, 2021
Oscar Wilde put it well: “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”
This is a great email copywriting tip. (And I guess I’d better explain myself here.)
Every digital marketer wants to get more out of their email marketing. The key question: which content drives the best results?
Naturally, it’s useful to be aware of what competitors or just other marketers write in their signup confirmation email, onboarding sequences, newsletters and follow-up emails.
I myself keep an email marketing “swipe file” that I regularly go through. But if you follow others, you’re missing out an opportunity to stand out, to build your brand and to get exceptional results with your email workflow.
These days, it seems like everyone adds a personal touch to their onboarding email series, using a personal email address instead of generic emails like firstname.lastname@example.org. Similarly, it’s common to link to useful blog posts with usage tips of the product or service, add social proof or showcase current customers with case studies. These have become the bare minimum of any onboarding flow.
My claim: you’ll get the best results from your marketing email automation if you write emails only YOU can write.
Forget email templates, forget copying others, and start looking for what is unique to you. Let’s explore this with some great examples of user onboarding emails.
Examples of effective onboarding emails that are unique to the writer and brand
1. Outfunnel: Going against the “personal touch” trend and highlighting a core feature with an attention-grabbing email subject line
Here’s the first email we at Outfunnel send to all new trial users a day after they’ve signed up as part of our onboarding email sequences:
P.S. Read more about how we won back 80% of our time by optimizing our user onboarding.
Every reasonable marketer sends automated marketing emails like this to support their customer journey, as users are evaluating their product or service, and its key features. They do this to keep potential customers “engaged”, to help improve conversion rates and because it’s easy with modern email tools like Mailchimp or Campaign Monitor.
Usually, companies tend to want to create an illusion of personal attention, but since we are a marketing automation tool, I deliberately took a different tack.
I was in a unique position to do this because automating marketing is a core message of ours.
2. Weekdone: Sharing a real-life example of their product’s “promised land” user experience
Here’s another example, from Weekdone’s onboarding strategy:
A really useful feature of Weekdone is a weekly report on what everyone’s been doing and what they’re planning to do next. Receiving this information is a bit of an “aha moment” that helps turn leads into customers.
How to provide the “aha moment” if the user hasn’t done the key action of adding their team members into the system yet?
Weekdone was uniquely positioned to create an onboarding email campaign that serves the goal of reminding the email recipient of the active trial period and showing value that arises from using the product.
3. Ducksboard: Sharing an example of their app experience
This next email sequence example is from a dashboard company that doesn’t exist anymore because it got acquired by a larger, NASDAQ listed software company (I guess the email didn’t do all that terribly then).
Again, because the company was all about dashboards, they could make their emails all about dashboards. And very few other companies can take the same approach.
(Full disclosure: yours truly wrote each of those customer onboarding emails. I guess I was uniquely qualified to write this post :))
How to come up with a unique angle for your user onboarding emails
Onboarding email from a marketing automation company that’s about marketing automation.
Email from a weekly reporting tool that features a weekly report.
Email from a dashboard app that heavily features dashboards.
Not really surprising, right? But what is surprising is that very few companies do this. When I look through my swipe file, there are lots of examples of onboarding email series with cunning creative writing, elaborate email design, but very few emails that bring the tool or service to life with a unique angle.
- what’s unique about your product, service, company or you yourself, that can be brought to life via email?
- what’s an “aha moment” that you could communicate via email?
- what information do you have that very few others do?
Can’t find a unique angle for your onboarding emails?
My theory is that everyone has a unique angle. That everyone can (and should) write the email only they can write. If you can’t find it, let me try to find this for you. I’ll work for free with 3 companies that contact me first, and I’ll also pick a few ones that reply within the first month.
(I may ask you to use our own simple email campaigns tool to test it out.)