How to Write Captivating User Onboarding Emails?

Momina Asif
Momina Asif

Last updated on

May 9, 2024

The customer acquisition journey is usually complicated and loaded with obstacles. That is why even after the customer has signed up for your product and confirmed their identity as real users, you must still engage them through the different distribution channels.

For most marketers, user onboarding emails are one of the most convenient ways to engage and interact with the customer. They aim to reduce churn, create brand awareness, improve customer engagements, and provide insights that you can track for different metrics.  

Your user onboarding emails should, therefore, serve purposefully to guide or educate a new customer. But how do you write user onboarding emails that can help you achieve these purposes?

How to Write Captivating User Onboarding Emails

Writing captivating user onboarding emails is a tricky business. Consumers these days rarely open or read emails. The reason is marketers are not providing a personalized experience or their emails aren’t relevant enough to click on.

Here are some tips you should keep in mind to ensure more customers open your user onboarding emails.

Powerful subject line

Subject lines are what will make you stand out in your prospect’s inbox and avoid getting into the spam. Thus, ensure your subject lines are personalized to suit your target audience. Besides, they should adhere to the C.U.R.V.E. formula.

You can achieve this by using the recipients’ names or emojis in your subject lines. It’s also a good idea to add your product’s name to remind the user immediately whom they are engaging with if you are trying to re-engage a prospect.

Alternatively, you can use words that will get the customer to take action, like: “Ready to get started?” or “welcome, here are your login details.”

Add call-to-actions

Onboarding emails are meant to get the user to use the product and not give them several checklists of things-to-do. Hence, ensure your emails have one or two call-to-actions at most.

One may be to get the users to log in and start using the product and the other directing the user to a knowledge center where they can learn about the product functionality and features.

So, next time you design your user onboarding emails, avoid bombarding the customer with several options or choices on what to do. These will make them feel overwhelmed by your message and reduce their engagement or conversion.

Look at the example below.

Source: Really Good Emails

As you can see, once the customers see the email, he or she automatically identifies what to do next without confusion or help.

Personalization emails to suit different audience

User onboarding emails shouldn’t look the same for each user but customized to suit a user’s need and what plans they have signed for, their location, and probably which operating system they are using. Hence, the emails sent to trial users should differ from those sent to paid users.

To send your users personalized emails based on location, you can use retargeting pixels to collect data on users or use your CRM tool to find different user groups and try to fit your user onboarding emails to their needs.

Here is a personalized email from Clubhouse showing users their activity in the past year.  

Source: Really Good Emails

But that’s not all about personalization, you can also send video emails for your new users to convert trial users to paid users.

Such videos should explain to a prospect the value of switching. Personalization may also involve sending customized reports about your prospect business or their competitor generated from your own internal analytics.

Show social proof

Having an awesome product doesn’t guarantee every customer that signs up will use the product. Some will remain undecided and may only be nudged to accept your product only by showing them other customers that are using your product.

That is why it is prudent to show customer testimonials and case studies to bring undecided customers onboard.

You can also leverage storytelling in your social proofs to make your emails more engaging and capture users’ attention. This can be through videos highlighting the benefits of your product, sharing your company’s story, your office, milestone, and how your team works with new and existing customers. Such videos and addons add a personal feel to your emails, making it more humane.

Show the benefits

If you are a startup, social proof may not work for you since you have very little customer testimonials or brand story to share. In this case, you should not think of adding more features to tackle the slow adoption, rather, share the benefits that the product offers users.

You can use your analytics software to identify what features users are using most on your product and those they are not. Then direct them to other additional options that the user hasn’t exploited.

Avoid giving product manuals but aim to educate the users with free resources, video tutorials, and articles on why they should adopt the product and not competitors.

To avoid information overload, share tips on how to use your platform or direct the customer to your knowledge center and where to find resources or walkthroughs.

Add visuals

Did you know that humans process visual elements 60,000 times faster than text?

Yes, visuals are not just good for grabbing users’ attention, but they also keep readers engaged, improve readability and click-through-rates.

However, the success in any of your future onboarding emails comes from the ability to connect your images with your copy.

Add icons, emojis, and explanatory elements to highlight text and make them more clear, readable, and scannable. Take care not to overwhelm the customer with several visuals as these may require so much effort to process and thus eat into the customer’s time.

Show gratitude and appreciation

Last but not least, thank your customers for taking the chance to sign up or for being a subscriber. This can be through sending gift cards or even offering a discount on your product to your users.

You can also thank them for helping your company achieve a milestone or making them reach your target goals of X number of subscribers. Thank-you note makes the customer feel valued to be part and parcel of the company and its growth.

Here is a personalized thank you note from NHS appreciating NHS workers.

Source: Really Good Emails

Besides, it also provides an option for a non-NHS worker to nominate another NHS worker. A good way to bring on board a reluctant employee or staff to join your program.

Examples of captivating user onboarding emails

One thing to understand is that user onboarding emails can be sent at different stages in a customer life cycle, not just when the customer signs up for the product.

They can be used to re-engage an inactive customer, re-target one who has churned or hasn’t tried your product, or explain product changes. Here are onboarding emails to take inspiration from.

1. The welcome email

Welcome emails are known to have the highest opening rates as customers expect or are eager to engage with your product, during this time With welcome emails, take the opportunity not only to sell to your customers but also to create meaningful relationships.

Thus, you need to sound genuine as you welcome users to the community and improve their experience. You may go further to offer a discount or provide coupon codes, as shown in the example below.

Source: Really Good Emails

2. Re-engagement email

21% of users abandon an app after first-time use. To reduce such churn, you need to have a re-engagement email in your email marketing strategy to motivate new users, churned users, and those continuing to use your product.

See this re-engagement email from Skillshare to bring back an inactive customer.

Source: Really Good Emails

With re-engagement emails, show the new features you have added and probably provide an offer such as a discount.

3. The social proof

As mentioned before, social proof is a way to convince new or worried customers to try your product. You can use customer testimonials, case studies, or reviews. Here is an email from InVision showing brands that use their design tool.

Source: Really Good Emails

The aim is to make a worried customer know of others using their services and an option to share the email with other colleagues.

4. How-to emails

How-to emails are a customer’s reference guide. Sometimes when customers register to use your product, they may not know what to do. To avoid constant calls to customer service, email your new conquest explaining how the product works.

Remember to include a step-by-step guide and answers to common questions you think they would ask. Here is a how-to email explaining to customers how the product works.

Source: Really Good Emails

Notice how it is short, easy to skim, and navigable. They have also included a video that subscribers can watch without leaving their inbox.

5. The invitation emails

Invitation emails are emails that ask a customer to join a community, event, or register for a function.

Most often, you would want to explain to the customers the changes to your product or services or get to interact with the customer on a personal level to help them understand your product better. Let’s see how this works from the example below from Tinuiti.

See how they highlighted the topics of discussion and the speakers who will be at the event?

Source: Really Good Emails

The aim is to get the customer to start a conversation with the brand.


Writing and sending captivating user onboarding emails is one of the biggest growth strategies to increase your product’s user adoption. But crafting captivating user onboarding emails requires lots of research and effort.

Besides, you also have to understand what kind of email marketing tools to use, the graphics to include, your audience and their needs, and how every single word is written.

With the tricks above and example, you should be able to send onboarding emails that improve click-through-rates, conversions, and increase sales.

Author Bio

Momina Asif

Content marketer by day and book nerd by night, Momina works at Mailmunch as a Marketing Communications Specialist. Momina eats, sleeps, and breathes content marketing. Her expertise ranges from ideation to production to distribution of content, thanks to 4+ years of experience in the B2B content marketing sphere.


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