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Zoom Onboarding Email Breakdown

Hits and misses during the first month of the Zoom Basic Plan.

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Series Overview

Sometimes I break down free trials, other times I just look at “free.” In the case of Zoom, I signed up for their free Basic Plan. Since this isn’t a trial with a set expiration date, I chose to capture emails for the first month.

During the 31-day span, Zoom sent me eight emails, including one account authentication message. This is a time-based sequence, meaning I did nothing and still the messages sent to me like clockwork. However, upon signing up for a webinar like they asked, I did receive a confirmation email plus a “we missed you” message when I didn’t show. (Those two aren’t counted on the timeline below)

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Day 1.1: Authentication

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Subject Line: Zoom account activation

Sender Name: Zoom

Send Time: Immediately after signup

Objective/Content: Confirm account

CTA: Activate Account

Day 1.2: Welcome

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Subject Line: Welcome to Zoom!

Sender Name: Zoom

Send Time: Immediately after confirmation

Objective/Content: Outline what’s included in the Basic plan, as well as introduce resources

CTA: Activate Account

Strengths:

Outlining what’s included in the user’s plan isn’t something I’ve seen in a welcome email before, but I think it’s interesting. It definitely sets expectations about what a user can accomplish, as well as what limitations exist. Just in case the limitations presented just can’t be handled, Zoom provides a handy-dandy “upgrade now” button.

What to learn:

  • Welcome emails are as much about expectations as they are about introductions

Weaknesses:

There’s great content here, but the email is in danger of having too much to offer. While there is, at least, some visual separation between sections, I think the information in the middle is getting lost. I would suggest focusing this welcome email on expectations + support and follow it up a day or two later with the videos in the middle. The tasks shown in the video thumbnails are foundational for a user’s success, and they deserve much more of a spotlight.

What to learn:

  • Don’t try to do everything at once. Pick an objective, and potentially an added piece of valuable content, and stick to it

  • Building block features, such as scheduling and joining a meeting, are critical to user adoption. Give them their appropriate platform

Day 6: Value-Add Content

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(After registering, there was a confirmation email sent. After I failed to show, there was also a “Zoom User Onboarding — We Missed You!” email with a link to re-register or watch previous sessions)

Subject Line: Join a live training

Sender Name: Zoom

Send Time: Day 6, 3:15 AM CST

Objective/Content: Encourage new users to join a product tour video

CTA: Get on the Guest List

Strengths:

My favorite part of this email is the CTA copy. “Get on the Guest List” sounds waaaay cooler and exclusive than “Sign up for Our Webinar.” The body copy is also pretty concise.

What to learn:

  • Small tweaks in copy can change the vibe of action entirely

Weaknesses:

This is a small detail, but I think the two headlines would make more sense if they switched spots. I also think the fine, light gray text doesn’t stand out enough from the white background.

What to learn:

  • Ask for input to make sure emails are easy to read, and that readers’ eyes are being directed to pertinent information

Day 9: Use Case

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Subject Line: Don’t Zoom Alone

Sender Name: Zoom

Send Time: Day 9, 3:17 AM CST

Objective/Content: Showcase ways to involve team members

CTA: Invite a Colleague

Strengths:

I like lists of three, and I give out bonus points for clear visuals. Therefore, the collection of three icons to represent features is a win in my book. The descriptions that go along with the icons are also solid.

What to learn:

Weaknesses:

Again with the little font! I can see it, but “Invite your team to Zoom for free!” is just too easy to gloss over. I also think some benefits other than “don’t Zoom alone” could have been pulled out to support this use case. They have one at the bottom, “Keep ideas flowing and accomplish more with Zoom.”, but it’s like they banished it from the limelight.

What to learn:

  • Think of the reasons why someone would want to use a certain set of features. Does it save them time? Make their work process easier? Increase productivity or sales?

Day 14: Value-Add Content

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Subject Line: Host Like a Pro

Sender Name: Zoom

Send Time: Day 14, 3:20 AM CST

Objective/Content: Showcase ways to involve team members

CTA: Invite a Colleague

Strengths:

The line “Host Like a Pro” was so nice they used it twice. Having the same subject line and header is a recurring theme in these emails, but I do like this one. Who doesn’t want to feel like a pro? There’s also a reappearance of our friend the three-piece list.

What to learn:

  • Use your tool and resources as a way to empower your people! A confident and excited person is going to be much more receptive to changing their routine and adopting your software

Weaknesses:

I would’ve loved to see the CTA copy match the tone of the “Host Like a Pro” headline. One extra sentence in the body copy could’ve supported the idea as well. For example, tell them about the how-to videos that will help them impress their boss/client/etc on the next conference call.

What to learn:

  • Each message has a mood, and it will be more impactful if all elements support it

Day 19: Use Case

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Subject Line: Record it, or it didn’t happen

Sender Name: Zoom

Send Time: Day 19, 3:28 AM CST

Objective/Content: Introduce different recording features

CTA: Enable Recording/ Upgrade Recording

Strengths:

I like that the CTA buttons are also at the bottom of the page.

What to learn:

  • Want to really drive a point home? Direct to the same CTA throughout the email

Weaknesses:

When I first looked at the email, I thought the top had been cut off. Then I realized it was just that the headline was very fine. Maybe Zoom has an aversion to bold lettering. I also feel like the body copy could have a little more context.

I’m most confused by the copy on the dual CTA buttons, though. If I look at the fine print for each recording feature I see that some are only available with Pro plans. Perhaps that accounts for “Upgrade Recording”. However, what does “Enable Recording” mean then? Even within the Basic plan do I need to activate the capability? This is where some additional context in the body copy would’ve helped.

What to learn:

  • Writing copy can be difficult when you’re too close to the product. That’s why it’s important to review emails from a total stranger’s perspective — does the lingo make sense?

Day 25: Feature Spotlight

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Subject Line: Scheduling Made Easy

Sender Name: Zoom

Send Time: Day 25, 3:30 AM CST

Objective/Content: Introduce Zoom plugin for scheduling

CTA: Links to plugins

Strengths:

I like the product image — it’s a screen that many people are probably familiar with, and it shows how easy it would be to integrate into your current workflow.

What to learn:

  • Keep in mind that new users will likely have to change their routines or workflow to fully adopt your product. Your objective is to minimize resistance to that change

Day 31: Value-Add Content

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Sender Name: Zoom

Send Time: Day 31, 3:25 AM CST

Objective/Content: Call attention to the Zoom blog

CTA: Visit the Blog

Weaknesses:

This is an example of an email that’s caught up in the product and forgets about the “why”. Every email doesn’t have to be big and showy, but even these simple drop-ins need to have a reason to click through. Instead of using my love of Zoom to pull me through, why not talk about the fact that the reader can stay ahead in their industry by hearing about the latest competitive advantages that video conferencing provides? Or link to a case study?

What to learn:

  • No matter how many people use and enjoy your product, there are only going to be a small percentage that gives a hoot about you as a company. It’s nothing personal, people are just busy, and it’s hard to care about and give attention to a million different things

Series Review

Overall, the first month’s worth of emails from Zoom for the Basic plan lacked focus and a clear story arc. There were times where important details were somewhat glazed over, while other points weren’t fully driven home. Some changes I would love to see in the series are:

  • Pulling the building block features out into their own emails — scheduling, joining, and controlling a meeting are foundational steps

  • Add some more context and punch to copy to make the tone of each email cohesive

  • A stronger focus on the goals and emotions of the user

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