How to Power User Onboarding with Small Wins

by Janet Choi

Onboarding new customers is like teaching kids how to swim. You want everyone to be a future Olympian but have to start from scratch with how to blow bubbles in the kiddie pool first.

The big problem with mastering a new skill is that the kiddie...

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Why You Should Use Video in Onboarding Emails

Dropbox was an incredibly novel idea — back in 2009. The concept of the cloud hadn’t quite broken into public consciousness yet and smartphones hadn’t reached its omnipresence. Explaining Dropbox to somone on the street in 2009 would’ve been met with confusion, misunderstanding, or disregard.

So Dropbox took a chance.

Rather than add lengthy explainers or detailed product descriptions to their marketing site, they changed the game for marketing consumer products on the web. Dropbox partnered with video studio Common Craft to make a 2-minute explainer video that cost them $50,000. They wiped the homepage slate clean to show only the explainer video and a download button.

old Dropbox homepage

Upon putting up the video, Dropbox’s conversion rate jumped up by 10%, resulting in 5 million new customers and $24 million in revenue. With over 25 million views today, the video played a huge role in getting Dropbox to 100 million users by 2012, with $0 advertising spend.

Video is one of the most effective ways to engage people — and not just as a way to drive product signups. Combine video with email, and you have a powerful engagement system on your hands, especially for user onboarding to educate, engage, and ultimately win happy customers.

Let’s dig into 3 reasons why video works so well in emails and the tactics you’ll need to incorporate video into your own campaigns.

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3 Must-Have Triggered Lifecycle Email Campaigns

There’s a neat arts event in my Brooklyn neighborhood one weekend every year where local artists open up their studios to the public. You get to see incredible art and talk to artists where their magic happens. This year, as I found out, there were over 300 artists participating.

Even with a handy map and directory, really, where does one begin?

At the last minute, I bought a ticket to the weekend’s final curator-led tour, and I was so glad I did. Instead of hunkering down in front of my laptop that afternoon, I met 5 incredible artists, a great curator, and a very smart grade-schooler who asked all the best questions.

What does this have to do with email? Well, it’s the challenge of action in the face of overwhelming choice.

With so much to do, it’s easy to default to nothing or too much. Most of you know that lifecycle emails can provide much-needed momentum to propel people through your various funnels. But like most endeavors worth doing, we tend to want to do “all the things.”

all the things mentality

Too often, that means getting overwhelmed and stuck not doing much — or trying to do everything at once, not doing any one thing well, and losing steam.

We see this often at Getting started can be a struggle. So here’s a quick guide to getting started on planning effective lifecycle emails and getting your first 3 campaigns out the digital door.

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5 Types of Engagement Emails to Nudge Users Towards Aha Moments

Ever feel that tiny emotional tingle, that little rush, of getting a notification on your phone for a new message, an Instagram favorite, a Facebook tag?

If you’ve been a long-time Facebook user, you might’ve felt the buzz from Meenal Balar’s work firsthand. Meenal was a growth manager at Facebook from 2009 to 2014 during the company’s stage of massive global growth — and her job was to get everyone, everywhere using Facebook every day.

While email and mobile push notifications were foundational to Facebook’s engagement, Meenal’s team quickly learned that the deluge of social activity triggered notifications that had worked so well early on started to wear off. And when notifications don’t seem helpful, impactful, or delightful, they feel spammy, leading to opt-outs, unsubscribes, and even the dreaded churn.

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How Increased its Trial to Paid Conversion Rate by 2.4x

Early on in the life of, their conversion rate from trial to paid sat at 5%.

When you’re a new company, no one knows about you. You move mountains to get 100 people in the door. Thirty days later, only 5 of them become paying customers, and you have to get back to mountain-moving to bring in another 100 people. That can hurt.

The bright spot for was that when prospects did dig into the product and go through the somewhat lengthy setup process, they stuck around. In the life of the company, average monthly churn has never gone above 3%, and over the last 8 months, they’ve performed at 1% churn.

The team knew that they’d built a useful product that filled a real need. They just needed to get customers to really try the product to get to that realization too. So they turned their focus to improving their trial onboarding, and those changes ultimately increased their conversion rate by a whopping 2.4x from 5% to 12%.

Here’s how they did it.

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