Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Behavior based SaaS onboarding emails - a step-by-step guide

SaaS businesses reach their users via emails. The better the emails are targeted, the better user conversions can be reached. This is fairly simple, yet quite complex when thinking how many different rules and how much content must be created for the best onboarding processes.
The smartest companies target their onboarding emails based on users' behavior. This blog post describes how to create such a process with SignupLab. Sign up to SignupLab if you don't have an account yet - it's free. SignupLab provides simple tools for managing your SaaS sales and sign-ups:

1) Create onboarding process steps with sign-up statuses

Sign-up statuses (under Setup / Customize) define how the sign-ups are flowing as a process. Default sign-up process can be fairly straightforward:

You can vary these steps to make them more suitable for your app’s needs. Process always starts as "Signed up" and ends when user converted to a customer or the trial period expired.

2) Create email templates

Email templates (under Signups / Email Templates) define the content of the sales letters that you are going to send. Create one or two emails first, for example a simple welcome message, and return to this step when you understand more how these email templates are later used.

Notice that you can define dynamic content with the data fields. For example [FIRST-NAME] will be replaced with users first name when email is sent.

3) Define activity rules

This is where the magic happens. Activity rule is a template for a group of emails or tasks, which can be applied to the sign-ups. User can be applied to different activity rules during trial period, based on behavior.

A simple set of activity rules might look like this:

In the best case a user is first applied to basic rule, but soon after trial started he is updated to “Evaluator”. This triggers more focused emails about the product’s features. Finally user is updated to “Active”, meaning that in-depth explanations as well as meeting request are sent.
Keep in mind when creating activity rules:
  • Always add a "source" for the sign-up's matching rule. Source can be for example "webapp" (use your imagination ;) and is defined when sign-up is logged to SignupLab. This way you can easily avoid sending emails by mistake to wrong users (if you for example manually add users or import from your existing user database).
  • For activity rules that are applied later during the sign-up process give at least few hours timer with the trigger - otherwise user might receive your emails within too short period of time (for example if user converts to "Evaluator" already few minutes after first welcome email was sent).

4) Start logging the sign-ups and statuses

Now that you have a rule engine ready, all you need to do is trigger the rules with incoming sign-ups. You can choose from many available integrations:

- A simple web form for sign-up (“Web-to-Signup”)
- JavaScript snippet inside your app
- HTTP call from inside your app
- Create a “Zap” with Zapier
Each one of these integrations makes requests to SignupLab API. That's why you should be aware of two different methods: “signup” and “action”. With the latter you can change user's status based on your app's logic: For example user might become "Evaluator" of the project management software after creating a new project and "Active" after calling other team members to collaborate.
To learn how to get started with API methods, simply sign up to SignupLab and browse the integrations manual. Make couple of tests with "curl" and see yourself how the triggers are working:

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