18: Make the most of your welcome email in your onboarding campaign

Try to send your welcome emails on behalf of coworkers who live in the same shoes as your target users.

If you’re in B2B, chances are you’re using your own product, at least a coworker is. Let them write the welcome email for new users.

This is especially powerful when you serve many different verticals.

Example: if you sell to marketers and sales. Ask all new users to identify with sales/marketing in the signup process. Send the welcome email to marketers from a marketer at your company who showcases how they use the product for marketing use cases. Send the welcome email to sales reps from someone on your sales team who showcases how they use the product for sales use cases.

JT: Okay Phil, you showed me a screenshot of this question you answered in a Slack community.

PG: Yeah shoutout to Elite Marketers and Founders Slack community that was started by Joel Musambi and Tomas Kolafa, two Ottawa-Toronto marketers. 

JT: So the question was about building email onboarding flows for b2b products and any great resources or things that have worked well. 

I know that during our time together at Klipfolio we experimented a lot with emails but in your past you’ve done a bit of freelancing and moonlighting in email onboarding land.

What’s this magic welcome email that works extremely well?

PG: So I want to preface this by saying that this really only works if your product sells to different segments of users. And this is usually the case right?

If you only sell to marketers for example, there might still be segments in the decision makers, so you could talk to the marketing manager who’ll be using the product, you might talk to the marketing ops person who needs to integrate new tools and you might need sign off from the Director who’s the decision maker. 

JT: yeah we could do a full episode on segmentation, maybe we should. Okay so let’s actually use an example here, let’s go with a popular name and let’s pick a tool that tons of verticals can use, lots of use cases. 

PG: Yeah let’s go with Basecamp. 

Project management tools. There’s so many of them. In part because everyone can use a project management or todo list type of tool.

Basecamp sells to a bunch of different roles. Marketers, sales, product teams, finance, you name it, there’s a use case for it. 

JT: So I’m on their site now, when you start a trial, there’s a few questions they ask you up front, did you go through this already?

PG: haha yeah I did a bit of prep for this.

When you start a trial of Basecamp they ask you for name and email, then company name and job title/role. 

They then ask if your company has these departments/anyone that works in these roles, they list sales, rnd, marketers, finance and managers. 

Then they even ask for a use case, if you’re working on any of these projects, site build, event, new product launch or rebrand. 

JT: That’s actually quite a lot of info to ask upfront. I’m okay with it if companies are doing something with that info though.

So you finished creating an account, Welcome emails come in about 5 mins later. Are you happy? 

PG: I’m actually really sad haha. Basecamp is a tiny team so email segmentation and onboarding is probably super low on their list. I remember when they hired a head of marketing their job posting said something like “this job isn’t about email nurturing, though very important, the scope of this role is much broader”. And that makes a ton of sense. Small team, you gotta prioritize. 

JT: So the welcome email wasn’t segmented?

PG: Sent from support@ and there’s no segmentation content in there despite knowing my role and my use case. 

They are probably using that data to inform other decisions, but I didn’t get any segmented content that could’ve boosted engagement.

JT: Okay, let’s say I’m Jason or Andy at Basecamp and we hire you to upgrade our email onboarding and you need to impress the shit out of these guys. What does the welcome email look like?

PG: Yeah so let’s go back to some of the questions Basecamp asks users in the signup process.

By asking for job title, they could lookup specific words and put me in a role bucket. 

Something really cool that they do in the onboarding is ask what departments you have setup and to invite someone from that team. In this case Basecamp knows if someone is from rnd or finance. 

JT: So user signs up, you know they fit into 1 of 5 role buckets:

  • Marketing
  • Sales
  • Rnd
  • Finance
  • managers

PG: So then next step is nominating 1 person in your company for each of those role buckets. And you help them write the welcome email from their perspective and share how they use the product.

So the welcome email to marketers comes from Andy, their head of marketing, he shows Basecamp in action for a product launch he completed recently and walks through his daily process for running marketing through basecamp.

Rnd email comes in from DHH, their famous CTO. He probably reminds you that he created ruby on rails in the welcome email haha but he’s probably able to craft something totally different for a technical user compared to a marketer in Andy’s email. So maybe in that email DHH talks about Basecamp 3’s API improvements or how they break up user stories into subcomponents and sub tasks.

The manager email comes from Jason their CEO and he walks other managers and team leaders through the Small Council team setup they use internally or maybe the campfire sections and how to keep the team in touch and highly collaborative.

JT: love it.

What you’re doing is creating instant connection with empathy in your welcome email. It’s written in language you’re familiar with and the use cases shown are super familiar with your world.

PG: Yeah so haven’t done this in a bunch of places there, it doesn’t always work, especially if you serve a very niche audience. But usually in B2B someone in your company resembles your target user.

I find it super fun to work for a B2B company that sells to marketers or marketing ops. So I’m someone on the team but I’m also very close to the customer’s worlds, I live in similar pain points every day.

Intro music by Wowa via Unminus

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