3 Must-Have User Onboarding Emails


So far, we’ve focused on in-app tutorials and tool tips as the primary drivers of user onboarding. However, when used properly, email can also be an effective way to bring users to a WOW moment.

What makes a good user onboarding email?

Personalized, timely user onboarding emails are great at moving users to the next step. To deliver those kinds of context-aware emails, they need to be trigger-based.

A trigger-based email is like any other email, except that it’s sent based on what users do in your app. For example, when a trial user logs in after a week of inactivity, they might automatically get a personalized email welcoming them back.

It turns out that untargeted, impersonal emails just aren’t as effective as trigger-based emails. In fact, trigger-based emails have open and click-through rates that are twice as high as untargeted email campaigns.

The three must-have user onboarding emails

There are many creative ways to put email to work for your business. We recommend every company have at least these three types of user onboarding emails.

The warm welcome

Welcome emails are by far the most important email you can send to users. Welcome emails typically have the highest open rates of any marketing email, and they’re the first conversation users have with your company (so make it count!).

A good welcome email is short, helps users get the WOW moment, and includes only three things:

  1. A reminder about who you are and how your product can help them.
  2. An explanation about what to do next and why they should do it.
  3. A single call to action.

Here are a few examples of great welcome emails:

readerrr email
welcome shopify
welcome email tumblr


The re-engagement email

Getting users back into your app can be incredibly challenging, but not impossible. There are a few simple ways to re-engage users with an email. You can email when a user:

  1. Starts creating content but doesn’t publish it.
  2. Doesn’t discover a key feature of your product.
  3. Gets an error message more than once.

Try to be helpful and personal, not robotic, and create a dialogue with users who may be confused about your product’s value.

Our favorite re-engagement emails:

Kickstarter reengagement email
Lift reengagement email
mailchimp reengagement email
alert rdio

The evaluation email

Once users have had enough time to try your product, send them a message that gets them thinking about the next step in the relationship.

If they’re actively engaged, now is the point to ask them to upgrade or refer friends. If things went south, send them one last winback email asking for a second try.

The best evaluation emails we’ve seen:

evaluation beats
evaluation shopify
evaluation mention

Bottom line

When used effectively, email can be an important part of user onboarding. If they’re smart and timely you’ll get great results.

This lesson was written by Ashli from, an awesome product for sending trigger-based emails. Check them out if you're looking to onboard with email.

Want to become a User Onboarding Master? Check out our free User Onboarding Academy!

For years I've studied everything I could get my hands on to build my app businesses using strategic, online marketing tactics. After growing and running two successful software companies that have been featured by Apple, CNET, Mashable, and more, I'm finally part of a team that builds an amazing tool (Autosend) that helps others grow their own online business. I'm passionate about sharing my knowledge using customer behaviors to predict their next move and act on it.

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