How FullStory sends onboarding email

Weekly reports of how you’re doing, gentles nudges to install the script, and a forward-looking reply-to address

Record my session?
Okay. But please ignore all
my random clicking.


FullStory is a SaaS tool that captures the web sessions of your product users and web visitors. You can see everything these people do — clicking, swiping, scrolling — and discover where you can improve their experience. These recordings are some strange sort of voyeuristic magic, and they’re super effective!

With such an emphasis on user experience, I was curious to see how they handled the experience for their own customers. I signed up for a FullStory trial last fall. Here are the onboarding emails I received.

How often FullStory sends email to new users

The first 35 days

Total: Five emails sent, two during the trial

My best guess at FullStory’s onboarding strategy

I observed four types of email that FullStory sends:

  1. Your traditional “getting started” drip campaign: welcome and verification emails, plus a custom email based on whether or not you’ve installed the recording script.
  2. A weekly report of your performance on FullStory
  3. A newsletter roundup of interesting and useful stories
  4. A roundup of product news

It turns out that I ended up with multiple FullStory accounts, some for work and some for hobby. Whoops. The silver lining is that I got see a lot of variety to what FullStory sends. On some accounts, I’d install the script, sometimes I’d forget. Sometimes I’d interact with the product quite often, other times I’d forget. Then there was this interesting bit of data: When you sign up for FullStory, they ask you a question:

I’m not sure how this impacts the onboarding flow (probably because I would always answer in the same way). I didn’t notice any unique elements within the emails themselves, so perhaps they use the data internally to build personas or they’re saving the data for a rainy day. Still, it’s one of my favorite onboarding tactics, to get to know your incoming users a little better — whether or not it changes the content of the emails you send.

All in all, my best guess at FullStory’s onboarding emails goes like this:

  1. You get a verification email.
  2. The next day, you get an email reminder to install the recording snippet, or you get a success email that the script is installed and you have data
  3. (If you’ve installed the script) You get a weekly report with the performance of your website
  4. Everyone gets a newsletter roundup every so often (in my experience, this was more or less a monthly newsletter)
  5. Everyone gets product updates when they happen

Learnings

  • FullStory’s key onboarding sequence is just one email based on one event: did you or did you not install the snippet
  • A weekly report can be a fantastic way to make your product sticky
  • I hear a lot about personalized content in onboarding emails, and this can often be construed as “put someone’s first name in the email.” That’s nice, but personalization can also mean a whole email of just your own stats, like the weekly emails that FullStory sends.
  • FullStory uses a cool reply-to email: thefuture@fullstory
  • The exact timing of FullStory’s email sends was a bit hard for me to pin down. My guess is they’re experimenting a lot with the when and how of onboarding email.

3 onboarding email tips and takeaways from FullStory

  1. Know the key step that users need to take in order to find value in your product. Organize your onboarding around this.
  2. Send weekly reports if possible.
  3. Have a handful of go-to email types: e.g., reports, newsletter, product news.

Here are all the onboarding emails that FullStory sends

Here’s more on each email that I received from FullStory during those 35 days. Caveat: I’m sure tons has changed and will change with their onboarding emails, so your mileage may vary when you sign up and see for yourself. 😊

Verification email

Sent minutes after I signed up.

Subject: Welcome to FullStory
From: FullStory Support, team@fullstory.com

Note: I’ve signed up for FullStory multiple times for work and leisure. In the past, they sent a plain-text confirmation email. Like this:

First email

Sent the day after I signed up.

Subject: You’re not getting the FullStory yet
From: The FullStory Team, thefuture@fullstory.com

Note: On a different FullStory account, I had installed the recording snippet before these emails went out. Here’s the email I received instead:

Second email

Sent minutes after I signed up.

Subject: 🗞 FullStory News >> 5 Searches for You | InVision Interview | Why Snickers “Satisfies” | Now with More Dogs!
From: The FullStory Team, thefuture@fullstory.com

Third email

Sent minutes after I signed up.

Subject: FullStory Weekly: October 30 — November 5
From: FullStory, team@fullstory.com

Worth noting

As time went on, the FullStory weekly emails kept evolving. One of the most interesting things I saw was a change to the subject line. They began including a name:

FullStory Weekly: November 27 — December 3 for kevan

Very cool!

Your thoughts

If you have some thoughts or questions about Fullstory’s onboarding flow, I’d love to hear them.

  • What do you think of their four types of email content?
  • Would you send more product emails earlier in the process?

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Want to see more onboarding email breakdowns? Check out the rest of Season One of the series, featuring onboarding campaigns from …

👉 👉 Intercom ……. Trello ……. Extra.ai ……. Brandless ……. Fullstory ……. Wistia ……. MixMax ……. Grammarly ……. Dribbble ……. Hubspot ……. Pocket ……. Treehouse ……. CBS All Access…….

All available now on Medium.