Why You Should Use Video in Onboarding Emails

by Janet Choi

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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The Persuasion Playbook for Email Marketers

If you turn your Econ 101 textbook to the first page, you’ll find a definition of homo economicus: the economic man. It’s an old-school way to understand why people make the choices they do. This character is rational, self-interested, and thinks purely in terms of maximizing his utility. Nothing will persuade him except his own economic gain.

And as any marketer knows, that’s a totally unrealistic model.

Sure, we all value utility and economic gain, but we also chase rainbows, windmills, waterfalls, and that last cookie in the jar. Assuming that we’re 100% rational and self-interested is a myopic view of what actually motivates people. If your email marketing campaign is governed by this principle, you’re operating from an expired field guide.

how to email real people

You need to bring more to the table than a good product or a good deal. You need to persuade people to come and stay at your table in the first place.

What follows is our collection of 5 motivational principles to help make you a powerful communicator, no matter what message you’re trying to get across. We’ll dive into why these principles are effective and explore lots of ways you can apply them in your emails.

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How to Create Webinar Invitations that Drive Registrations

The webinar is the marketer’s party. Okay, these learning and lead-generation gatherings probably aren’t as fun without the punch bowl and perfect playlist — but at the planning stages, there’s the same fear. What if nobody shows up?

For webinars (and, presumably, parties) — it all comes down to the invitation.

Email is simply the most effective channel for promoting webinars. 2012 data from BrightTALK show 58-64% of people attending thanks to email and direct invitations. The 2013 ON24 Webinar Benchmark Report states that 80% of registrations come from a combination of email and site promotions.

Your webinar invitations also deserve their own emails. Justine Jordan, VP of Marketing at Litmus, advises that you go beyond tacking on promotional mentions on regularly scheduled marketing messages:

[S]end a stand-alone email! We used to send newsletters with webinar registration links inside, but have found that sending dedicated emails for each webinar results in many more registrations.

Georgiana Laudi, VP of Marketing at Unbounce, also reports: “70% of all our webinar registrations come via our invitation emails.” For our own upcoming welcome email webinar, we can thank our dedicated invitation emails for 76% of registrants so far.

That’s all to say — your invitation emails are vital to a successful webinar! Let’s look at how to make them super effective to bring more people to your web party.

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5 Tactics to Fuel Retention and Slash Churn

Churn is a SaaS company killer. With 5% churn monthly, you’re losing half of your customers every year. That means you need to bring in half the number of the customers you have every year just to stay flat.

At iDoneThis, the easiest way to run a remote daily standup, our churn could get as high as 10% on a monthly basis! That made growth extremely challenging, and we knew we had to cut it down significantly.

After months of hard work, we were able to reduce our churn to 3%, about a third of what it was at its peak. That’s still too high, but putting a dent in that dreaded rate made all aspects of running the company feel easier.

Here’s how we did it.

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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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