How we reduce our onboarding emails — Unbounce (Part 1)

UX in Marketing| Strategy | Onboarding Emails | Case Study

Back in April of 2015, we started a brand new team here at Unbounce. The main goal of the team was to convince evaluators of our tool to see the value the tool in their first 60 days. Our first challenge was to tackle the on-boarding emails and in-apps.

The Team

Our team consists of 3 people. Justin Tsang, Marketing Strategist, Jennifer Pepper, Content Strategist and me the Design Lead.

JT, Jen, and I


Too many emails! Only in the first day client got 5 emails. Emails were thought out in days instead of phase of the users.


To create a series of emails and in-app messages that will guide Evaluators on what to do to learn how to use Unbounce and furthermore, how to use it to generate more conversions, more efficiently.

Step 1-User Journey:

Each email and in-app message in the track contain three key elements: a CTA, goal and trigger. Based on these three elements, each communication piece is connected as one unified automated workflow. To ensure we’re not simply getting Evaluators to try out XYZ features, we developed milestones instead that lead Evaluators to a final goal, which is to convert more, and more efficiently. Each milestone includes specific actions and features that need to be explored. From an outward-facing perspective, Evaluators will see the milestones as steps as part of a progress.

I took the opportunity to introducing user journeys to the marketing team. One goal Generating conversion quicker. So how do we get there? And coming up with phases, that had certain tasks that you needed to accomplish in order to get to the next. Instead of thinking of list of features and days in emails which was the previous strategy.

Step 2- Add a progress bar:

Add a progress bar. We did a lot of research and discovered that for the user to understand in what step of the journey they are is good to give them guidance, is a good way to see how many more emails they will receive as well as how far they are from the goal.

Our emails, had little imagery, so the progress bar was a good opportunity to add a more delightful element with illustration.

I started blue sky, with sketches and metaphors of building, or evolutions. I soon realized that these explorations are better for onboarding in app experiences and is hard to put these in an email as the space is limited.

My initial sketches + Inspiration Gathering

We talked about badges as progress. Grabbed icons from conversion glossary that I had previously done, the only ones that I had to re-create made were the plumbing phase, and the live phase, realized that badges were more for in app. And what we needed was more of a linear progress bar. You can see my exploration bellow.

Step 3- Use In-apps, e-courses or create landing pages to reduce the amount of content

To reduce the amount of content in the emails, we directed the ctas to e-courses and documentation from our Unbounce Academy or creating separate landing pages to educate the evaluator even further. We also added in-app messages to prompt them in case they didn’t complete an action or to congratulate them.

Email 1- Training
An Evaluator has just signed up for Unbounce. This is their first onboarding email. It’ll show them what they need to do to get “onboarded” It’ll also kick them off by suggesting that they use a new Training Template within the template library. Case study coming soon.

Email 2- Build
If the Evaluator hasn’t published a page yet, we’ll send them this email. It’s meant to intro the user to the Academy. Our assumption is that they may need a better, more hand-hold’ed introduction to the builder.

Email 3- Plumbing, Add Domain
This email introduces Evaluators to the need to set up their plumbing (domain, integration, GA), but prompts them to set up their domain first. It’s triggered once they’ve published a page. To explain further how to set up their domain in a simple way we created a landing page, you can read the case study here.

Email 4- Optimize
This email is sent to Evaluators who’ve successfully set up their “plumbing” which includes integrations and CNAME/WP plugin. It’s meant to get Evaluators thinking about adding a variant to A/B test.

Email 5- You are live! now Analyze
This is the wrap up email. It’s meant to get Evaluators thinking about how to calculate the ROI of their UB landing page. It finishes with getting them to think about their next campaign to battle the one-campaign-mindset.

Once they have completed the track we added a 5 questions survey to gather feedback of the overall experience.

Onboarding Email WorkFlow

Step 4-Usability Testing:

We ran usability test internally as well as externally. This was huge step, as the marketing strategists and content creator ran the usability testing with clients, and Justin Tsang, our marketing strategists, even said that it was one of the coolest things he has done at Unbounce! We found really good value in it, as it proved some of our hypothesis, Justin wrote the emails with a more sophisticated language as well as with tips and terminology of a more mid level marketer, when we did the test internally some people were concerned that some of the terms were too advanced, but when we did it externally with clients they felt it was on point! So for the next campaign we will do more usability testing with clients! Is more work but totally worth.

Step 5-Prioritizing Feedback:

Feedback can be hard to prioritize so went over our notes and videos and categorized our feedback based on How Might We and gave them points and that was easy to see what we needed to prioritize.

One of the most important feedback was that Step 4. Plumbing, was too complicated and a lot of information for one email. We decided to split that email into 3 separate emails, to make them more concise and less complicated. As the designer I needed to figure out how to make step 4 within 3 steps. I looked for some inspiration and you can see my result bellow.


At the end we were able to reduce the emails from 15 to 5 emails! Make the on-boarding track more concise and focused with one specific Call To action.

Case Study of Phase 2 of the on-boarding track will be coming soon.

Latina in tech | Co-founder @shinebootcamp | Designer at @goclio |

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