Create an onboarding email sequence

Business Benefits

Improve the lifetime value of your customers by nurturing them through the onboarding process.


Choose an email automation tool that allows you to set time-based and action-based triggers for sending emails to customers.

Tools like Eloqua, Infusionsoft, Hubspot (enterprise), or Marketo will allow you to create these kinds of trigger-based campaigns and have a lead scoring system that will alert you to hot leads.

More affordable solutions like Vero, Customer.io, Klaviyo and Mailchimp’s Mandrill app will allow basic automation and a decent number of emails sent out to your subscribers, but you’ll sacrifice features like automatic lead scoring and landing page builders.

Segment your leads based on how they respond to your initial communications.

A simple segmentation strategy is:

  • Team Awesome – People who open, click & interact with everything.
  • Team Average – People who open & click, but at pretty standard rates.
  • Team Meh – They didn’t even look at the free thing you sent, why are they on your list?

For example, members of Team Awesome really love your lead gen material. They’ve taken every action you’ve asked and their behavior suggests they can’t get enough. They’re also periodically looking at pages that indicate buying motivation.

Develop hook cycles for each segment that focus on triggering and rewarding actions that they’re already inclined to perform.

For example, you might gear Team Awesome’s hook cycles to send material that improves their knowledge of the problem and how your product solves it, because this primes them to become paying customers much sooner. Once they become paying customers, you might focus on product mastery. Then on getting them to be a source of referrals.

Meanwhile, for members of Team Average, you might focus a hook cycle on solving their problem the hard way without using your product, to help them understand and feel the need for your product. In the background, you might also use email retargeting to reinforce your messaging & try to move them into the Team Awesome segment.

Reward new subscribers in your welcome email with a personal message or special offer to increase the response rate and assist in initial segmentation.

If done right, this helps you to quickly identify your segments and gather qualitative research within those segments to better inform future messaging across all areas of the customer lifecycle.

For example, GrooveHQ redesigned its welcome series so that its first message – sent by the CEO – focused only on being welcoming. Apparently, getting a message from the CEO was reward enough, as it received a 41% response rate & trial customers would let Groove know why they chose the product.

Set the next email in the sequence to either offer the next steps for those who completed the desired action successfully, or offer help to those who didn’t.

The structure for the early part of a campaign like this might look something like this:

Sample Trigger Email Workflow

Use actions like user purchases and visits, as well as time periods, to trigger the next email in your sequence.

When you’re using personalized & behavioral based messaging it does not have to be restricted to time. One email can trigger another, and like quantum physics, packets of possibilities might exist within the accumulated within the user behavior.

For example, using these methods allowed music teaching program Hearandplay.com to increase their customer lifetime value by 416% in just 14 months.

hearandplay customer lifetime value