When it comes to customer retention, the importance of onboarding cannot be overstated. Just one onboarding-related push notification sent during the first week of customer acquisition can be hugely powerful, helping to increase app retention rates by 71% over two months. Pair that with a message via a different channel also during the first week, such as a welcome email, and you can increase retention by at least 130% over two months.
And this first impression is often the best chance you have to connect with and spur action from your customer. Welcome emails have the highest open rates, nearly 60%—which is nearly triple the average open rate, and generate nine times the transactions and eight times the revenue compared to typical emails, according to these findings on customer engagement.
So how can you make sure your onboarding-related messages, via push, in-app, email, or other channels, set your customers up for long-term engagement? We asked marketers working in the industry to share their best advice and examples of welcome campaign messages from companies they think are getting it right.
Welcome your newest customers in real time
To be effective, send your first welcome message to new subscribers right after they sign up, like Soundcloud, which sent the email below within seconds of creating an account in the app. Following up in the moment generally leads to higher open, click, and transaction rates than emails sent later in the day or week.
Another example of capitalizing on timeliness? Upon download, messaging app LINE sends a push notification driving users to an in-app message (which is an under-utilized messaging channel), showcasing the app’s popular features, the ability to send stickers and messages. LINE could have just told users how to send stickers and messages, but leveraging push, the app company does a great job of showing instead.
Use multichannel messaging to your advantage
As mentioned above, combining an email with messaging via another channel increases the impact of your outreach. Take a cue from the shopping app Wish, which sent this email and paired it with a welcome note via Facebook Messenger bot, a brand new platform for customer service and engagement, immediately upon signing up for an account.
What caught the attention of Rachel Wallack Cooperman, Associate Creative Editorial Director at March of Dimes, she says, “are the real numbers (especially the discount numbers); the clear button as a CTA; and the great use of white space to keep this minimal and appealing to the eye.”
Include a special offer or free shipping
Already sending notifications in real time? Improve your stats even more by including a special offer, like Birchbox, Roxy, J.C. Penney, and Instacart do with their welcome emails below. Doing so has been found to produce double the transaction rates of real-time sends that don’t include offers. And including free shipping can really sweeten the deal and produce the highest transaction rates.
What else helps? Wallack Cooperman advises using bolding and colors and keeping your language positive and upbeat as you’re emphasizing the value of your products or services.
Personalize and humanize your welcome
Personalization should start with greeting the new member of your audience. “Address the new user by name,” says Steven Macdonald, a digital marketer focusing on content and conversion rate optimization with SuperOffice, adding that marketers should include as many pertinent details specific to the subscriber as possible.
And the personal touch should continue with the email sign-off, says Macdonald, including a specific signature, contact information, email, and Twitter handle from someone at the company.
“Better yet, show your new user that they’re important to your business by sending an email from someone they will recognize,” says Macdonald. “A great example is Unbounce. When you sign up to a free trial on Unbounce, they send you an email from the Unbounce CEO, Rick Perreault. It’s much easier to build a relationship with new users when they know who you are, as opposed to sending an automated email that make you sound like a robot.”
Messaging that comes from a real person has real benefits, says Wallack Cooperman. “There’s nothing like a real person telling you about something that interests you… No one wants to hear anything preachy from a nameless, faceless voice.”
Use onboarding to demonstrate the benefits
Basecamp does this with in-app messaging, says Paul Manwaring, UX and marketing consultant with Outsprung, by letting you explore their dashboard with pre-populated data. “This is really handy as it lets you see the app fleshed out and you get to try out all the features. They don’t just dump you into the dashboard… They provide an interactive guide that shows you the most important features and there is a little popup on each page with a short video showing you how to use the feature.” And, they follow up with a welcome email within minutes of sign-up, too.
Keep them engaged, while they’re already engaged
As we’ve written about, in-app messages let you reach customers at their most engaged, when they’re most ready to hear from you and interact. Gaming app QuizUp takes advantage of this built-in attentive audience by encouraging first-time users to get started using the app right upon download with this welcome message (or should we say, welcome gaming challenge?). The game it suggests is also an easy one for dipping your toes into QuizUp, ideal for getting to know what the app is all about.
What’s at stake if you don’t have your customers at hello? Customer churn
Churn is the unhappy reality of not retaining the customers you’ve worked to attract. With careful and creative onboarding, you can set your company up for the best odds of customer retention. If you’re ready to improve how you welcome your new customers, check out our guide to onboarding.