Is there more than one path a new user might take to get to your product?
If you’re anything like the plethora of team-driven software out there, there could be more than One Path to Rule Them All.
Take team-driven softwares like InVision, Airtable, Trello, and LastPass. You have the decision-maker (the person who says “We’re using this software!”) and then you have the collaborators (the people who go “oh okay let me figure this out”).
As you can see from the brief example above, you don’t always have buy in immediately from the entire team. Nor do you really have a new customer right away.
Sure, that collaborator might eventually become a paying customer but right now… they’re a collaborator.
SO WHY AREN’T YOU TREATING THEM AS SUCH????
(Like how I use proper grammar and also Internet yelling? I’m emphatic and classy.)
Look, waaaaaayyyyyy too many SaaS companies are treating every single customer like they came in from the same vantage point. Like they’re a brand new core user, not just in it to make the boss/client/VA happy.
If you treat those fringe users like commodities, they’ll use your product once and run.
If you treat each user like they’re on their own unique journey and customize their onboarding to address that, you’ll win customers over for life. <<< Click here to tweet this!
Which brings us to today’s email onboarding tear down.
That unique customer journey begins with that first touch: onboarding.
Enter: my experience with Lucidchart.
Recently, a client sent me a customer journey workflow (:praise_hands:) done in a software I didn’t yet have an account for: Lucidchart.
Cool. I’ll just click that link and see it. Oh.
Also me: Okaaaaay. Guess I’ll create an account.
Let’s see what this chart’s all about:
Still me: :sigh: Can I just see my chart now?
I’ll leave it to my friend Samuel Hulick to do the in app onboarding tear down here but, as you can see, I was getting frustrated.
Yes, I’m a tough customer but shouldn’t we all be???
What’s so frustrating?
- I have to log in to see the link. Is there a shareable link available so I don’t have to log in? Maybe that’s part of Lucidchart’s customer acquisition model. IDK. But it sucks to have to log into yet another piece of software to see something a client is sending over.
- Lucidchart clearly knows I’m coming from an invite link. It says so on the screen that asks me to log in. So the next step should be to just show me what I came for to start with.
- But it doesn’t. Once I’m logged in, I can’t see the chart right away. It’s covered by an onboarding tip screen. And then when I close that I still have a notification bar at the top that says “New to Lucidchart? Click here to create your own document”. Let’s expand on that for a second:
- Yes, I’m new to Lucidchart. I literally just created a login.
- I came from an invite link. I want to see the document that’s been shared with me. I have no interest in creating a new one right now.
- I don’t need to be distracted/frustrated by Getting Started Tips. Not here. Not now.
- Please show me my chart. Please.
And then I finally X out of everything above and get my chart. It’s beautiful. I love my client. She’s a goddess.
I even think about how I might use Lucidchart for future clients.
And then I check my inbox.
1 email from the company
2 from a team member
This is a story of a really great product with, what I imagine to be, a wide customer base and more onboarding opportunities than episodes of Law and Order on a weekday afternoon.
Welcome To Customization
One of the things I love the most about working with SaaS companies is that there’s so much data to pull from. You can see exactly how someone came to your platform, where they came from, and if they already have an account with you.
Then you can see what they do (or don’t do) with your software every single day after that.
Did I mention endless opportunities?
Lucidchart knows I came in through an invite link but their onboarding emails seem to have no recollection of that fact whatsoever.
In fact, the very first email I get from them within moments of (finally) seeing my chart is this:
The subject line is “Welcome! Complete Your Registration” so I’m assuming there’s something vital to do related to my ability to go back and view that chart again.
But there isn’t.
The call to action is to “get diagramming” but that’s not even why I came to Lucidchart in the first place.
Setting aside the whole debate about requiring an account to view a document (I’m Team No Account Needed, fwiw), let’s stick with their workflow but focus on the emails.
Lucidcart knew that I came in from an invite link and could have sent me an email like this:
Have you ever found yourself tacking post-it notes to the walls in your office, wishing you had a giant dry erase board at your disposal? Been there, but giant dry erase boards and stacks of post-its don’t travel very well (we tried).
Your good friend invited you to Lucidchart so they could share their vision with you in a more portable way.
(That quick link to follow packs up very nicely, doesn’t it?)
Since you created an account with us to view that vision, I figured you ought to know what is now at your fingertips:
– diagrams with up to 60 objects per document
– unlimited collaborators
– drag and drop editing
– flowcharts that are highly shareable (and addictive to create!)
I know you joined us to be a part of that shared project but I do hope you’ll check out Lucidchart for your own needs while you’re here. You’re on a free account now and there are plenty more features available to you in Lucidchart if you should choose to upgrade.
For now, here’s that link again for the project your friend shared with you:
CEO and Co-Founder, Lucidchart
Something like that.
But maybe that first email from Lucidchart was a fluke, right? Maybe.
The next email I got from Lucidchart was from someone named Mitchell Cox. Since I don’t know Mitchell it’s really good that the subject line included the word Lucidchart:
Having that word in there (without it simply saying “Mitchell from Lucidchart”) helped me:
- Remember that I started a Lucidchart account
- Not delete this email from a person I don’t know
Nevermind the fact that there’s no one named Mitchell Cox currently at Lucidchart…
Let’s talk about this subject line.
Two days after joining Lucidchart because I was forced to in order to see my client’s diagram, I’m now encouraged to Upgrade! To Free! Premium!
Okay, so look. Asking your brand new user to upgrade should come when it makes the most sense for them. And why waste that valuable inbox real estate to get them onto another free trial?
If Lucidchart was tracking activity with the app, this email could be perfectly timed to arrive right when the user has seen the value in the product.
That looks different for everyone but maybe for Lucidchart they created a new document or even shared a new chart with another collaborator.
They’ve realized value – or they’ve seen the value potential in the product – and they’re technically ready to convert.
That could happen on day 2 of a 30-day free trial, but most companies will let them go the full 30-days (or even longer) before they try to get them to convert.
Imagine if you asked for the sale right after they achieved “success” … if that happens on day 3, you could convert a customer on day 3 of a 30 day trial, instead of waiting until the trial is over.
This is also why you should tie your customer or prospect communication (in-app messages, emails, phone calls, etc.) to their progress – or lack thereof – through those success milestones instead of saying you’ll just send something on Day 1, 5, 7, and 32.
Let’s assume the user (me, actually) didn’t touch the product since that first interaction. Then the email above could address that problem and aim to get the reader closer to discovering the value of the product.
Since I can’t help but teach every single company to write emails that put the customer waaaaaayyyy ahead of the product, this email could look something like this:
Since you first checked out Lucidchart two days ago, we’ve been scheming on what might make your life easier.
I noticed that you didn’t start your own document yet. So I was thinking that maybe you’d love to see how a chart like the one your collaborator built is made right here in Lucidchart.
It’s as easy as those post-it notes you’re still tacking all over your walls.
Click here to watch an under-2-minute demo:
I’ll be on the other side of this email address if you have any questions. We also have public forums full of power Lucidchart users who can teach you a thing or two. Check those out here and join the Lucidchart community!
VP of Growth, Lucidchart
- Focusing on making the life of the customer easier right up front
- Adding something personal to their journey like “I noticed that you didn’t start your own document yet.” lets them know that their actions matter.
- Direct response to the above: see how it works with a demo video.
- Honoring their time by saying how long the video is.
- Giving them multiple ways to reach out (email and forums).
- Personal sign off from someone who cares if I become a customer.
THEN (and only then, once the value is clearly known) would I bring in an email about an upgrade.
We aren’t even there yet in this case.
On we go…
Connect to Convert
I feel like I say this time and time again but here it is: it’s not your job to convince, it’s your job to connect.
Share the win for the customer.
Then bring them home for the sale.
Unfortunately, Lucidchart’s third email to me (sent just 2 days after the last email and a mere 4 days into my use of Lucidchart to date) pushed on that upgrade to the free trial.
Context of the email aside, let’s talk about content for a moment.
Because words matter. And the words here are confusing.
Take a quick read through the screenshot above.
Conversion focused emails that pull the reader toward an upgrade to a paid account should be chock full of cystal-clear positive language. Did you have to read through this a few times to realize that the limitations described here are what I’m missing out on with a premium account?
Flip the script, Lucidchart!
Hi there, Val.
I hope you enjoyed that demo video I sent you a few days ago. There are so many more features available in Lucidchart that we just couldn’t cram into a 90 second video so I wanted to take a moment to tell you about them.
Right now you’re on our forever free plan. It’s a great starting point but you’re missing out on some of the things our customers love the most about Lucidchart.
If you upgrade to a premium account, you’ll get access to:
– Premium Shapes Library – with mind mapping and mockup shapes to help bring what’s in your brain to life on the page
– Unlimited Document Creation – premium plans get an unlimited number of live documents and all the objects you need to get the job done
– Upload and Edit with Visio – only our premium customers can upload and edit Visio docs to Lucidchart
– Powerful Third Party Integrations – the best integrations (like Confluence, Jira, and AWS) are available to upgraded accounts
But don’t just take it from me. Here’s what Ali Kahn of Warby Parker has to say about Lucidchart:
“In the past, we had to save a document to a network drive, email it around, manage different versions, and make sure all versions were up to date. With Lucidchart, you can view, share, and manage permissions all at once…Now, people can visualize things in a simple way, rather than reading 30 pages of a project process.”
You can read more from Lucidchart lovers here.
Want to get the same results as the Warby Parker team?
Upgrade to a premium account now and we’ll give you 2 weeks for free!
See you soon,
And there’s so much more that can be done here.
This, unfortunately, was the last email I’ve received from Lucidchart.
They came on hot and heavy and when I didn’t convert, poof. They were gone.
Lucidchart has opportunities in entrance path emails, behavior based emails, win-back emails, and more.
Most of all, Lucidchart has a personalization opportunity. One that we all can learn from, apply to our own onboarding, and watch the data prove the value over time.
Always remember Ed Fry’s guiding principle to get it all right:
- they’re emailing! too many SaaS companies don’t email collaborators at all
- the emails are easy to read (mostly text-based)
- the from name is a person (though it could include the company name for clarity)
- wasting an opportunity to focus on upgrading to a paid account by focusing on an upgrade to a free trial of that account
- flipping the language to be about what you lose instead of what you gain
- 3 emails nearly back to back and nothing after that
- not recognizing how I got to the product in the first place
- seemingly no awareness around my use of the product
- pushing that upgrade to the free trial (instead of adding value and converting straight to a paid account)
- no personalization of any kind
Applying a bit of data is not only fairly easy for a software company to implement, it’s practically required work to have any impact in the inbox these days.
Lucidchart can pull more data, apply the right content to each segment, and swipe the email copy above to make it all happen.
Want emails like this for your own brand?
I work with a limited number of SaaS companies to increase conversions and reduce churn through onboarding and ongoing retention emails.
If you’re serious about seeing conversions go up and customer churn go down, click the button below and complete the form. I’ll be in touch with our next steps!
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