Why You Need to Onboard New B2B Subscribers (and How We Do It)

September 21, 2016 Victoria Hoffman

Why You Need to Onboard New Subscribers

Marketing databases decay at a rate of 22.5% annually – that’s a lot of valuable data (and potential pipeline) lost year over year.

Of course, there are many reasons that contribute to database decay that are completely out of your control. People switch jobs, email addresses change... marketing life goes on.

Even though database decay is to be expected, there are also plenty of ways you can minimize deterioration caused by reasons you can control: namely, by preventing deliberate unsubscribes.

Some of the most frequent reasons why people unsubscribe include the following:

  • Your emails are irrelevant and not personalized – We’re no longer anticipating the personalization era – we’re in it. Providing a preference center so subscribers can select the type of content they want will help your subscribers stick around (and is an expectation in our digital age). Similarly, take the time to optimize your emails for the inbox and write catchy B2B subject lines.
  • You’re sending too many emailsHow many emails are too many? While there’s no universal rule as to how frequently you should be sending content to your subscribers, it’s important to set expectations before they subscribe so they’re not bombarded with unexpected emails. Similarly, it’s worth performing some tests to determine the right email frequency for your audience.
  • Your subscribers don’t know who you are – Whether you like it or not, people sign up for things all the time, and either don’t take the time to understand what they’re signing up for, or forget. This might be the result of shady list building tactics, but I’m going to assume that you’re building your lists properly (and legally, of course). In this case, the first few emails your subscribers receive are critical for ensuring that they stick around long-term.

“Onboarding” new subscribers

We’re going to hone in on fixing the third reason listed above. Too many marketers focus too much on getting new emails in their database and don’t think enough about what happens to that subscriber after they’ve submitted their email (aside from blasting emails to it).

Whether or not a new subscriber understands or remembers what they signed up for, you should set up an appropriate email sequence to welcome the subscriber, and invite them to enjoy your content.

In other words: set up an onboarding workflow to welcome new subscribers to your content subscription.

In addition to increasing the likelihood that a new subscriber will stick around, setting up an onboarding workflow for new subscribers can:

  • Set expectations and familiarize your list with your brand’s content and key messaging
  • Encourage consistent email clickthroughs and make a positive impression
  • Improve conversion rates and help push subscribers through your inbound funnel

Think about your subscriber content in a similar way as you’d think about a product or service. If you want your end user to get the most of it, they have to be taught how to use and enjoy it properly (another reason why marketers must be teachers in an era of self-education).

Setting up your “welcome” email sequence

Of course, I’ll preface this section with the disclaimer that you must consider your audience’s specific requirements and desires, as well as your brand’s unique tone, goals, etc. before implementing any sort of marketing automation workflow.

Uberflip’s current "welcome"/"onboarding" email sequence kicks into gear immediately after someone newly subscribes to receive our content. We send one email per day for five days, then they are subscribed to our regular daily email newsletter (which usually features our latest content). Upon implementation of this sequence, we saw our conversion rate from lead to MQL increase to 8.24%, and received some great feedback in response to some of the emails in the workflow.

Here’s a breakdown of each email in our welcome sequence:

Email #1

Subject Line: Welcome to the Uberflip Hub!

Goal: The goal of this email is, of course, to welcome subscribers, as well as give them a taste of the range of content in our Hub and what they can expect to receive from their subscription. The content provided in this email ranges in both topic and format. Check out the copy below (note: all emails are sent from me, the blog manager).

welcome email

Email #2

Subject Line: I’m Sorry, Content Marketers, But Your CMS Won’t Cut It

Goal: Formatted like our usual daily content email, this email provides one of our top performing blog posts to our new subscribers. Since this post has historically performed well, we can safely assume that our new subscribers will enjoy it, and we can continue to drive traffic to it by including it in our “welcome” sequence. Win-win!

I’m Sorry, Content Marketers, But Your CMS Won’t Cut It

Email #3

Subject Line: Finding everything you need? :)

Goal: The goal of the Uberflip Hub is to be a valuable resource where B2B marketers can find answers to all things marketing. We want our subscribers to click through our daily email and read our content, but also to continue to explore the content on our Hub. This email demonstrates how subscribers can find additional information in our Hub.

Email #4

Subject Line: The Ultimate Guide to Content Experience

Goal: This email functions similarly to email #2. By sharing one of our more premium, gated pieces of content, we’re aiming to gather more information from our subscribers. Upon implementation, we were nervous that sending gated content to subscribers so soon might cause unsubscribes. However, we found that both this email and the conversion rate on the eBook continued to perform well, likely because subscribers were still new and therefore interested in exploring more of our content.

The Ultimate Guide to Content Experience

Email #5

Subject Line: Did I ever tell you you’re my hero?

Goal: As the last email in our sequence, the goal here is to gather feedback on the content that the subscriber has received (and we’ve generated quite a few responses). In this email, we thank the subscriber again for subscribing, and encourage them to use the subscription as a way to reach out to marketers at Uberflip and provide feedback at any time. We also include this fun gif, because why not? :)

welcome to our hub

Make your subscribers stick

Whether you want to decrease your database decay rate, or increase your funnel conversion rate, welcoming and onboarding your subscribers is a great way to keep them hooked from the beginning.

We’ve seen great results with our particular “welcome”/“onboarding” email sequence so far. As with all of our marketing activities, however, it’s a work in progress that we hope to improve so we can provide the best experience for our entire audience.

Do you have any processes in place to welcome new subscribers? If so, we’d love to hear more about it – tell us in the comments!

See our workflow in action! Subscribe to the Uberflip Hub.

About the Author

Victoria Hoffman

Victoria is a Content Marketing Manager at Uberflip. When not executing Uberflip's content marketing strategy, she enjoys musicals, pizza, and puns.

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