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How Many Onboarding Emails Does a 30-Day Free Trial Need?

Onboarding emails help new users get up to speed with your product and help build the habit of logging in. When used as part of an omnichannel onboarding strategy, these emails can help boost free trial conversions. How many emails should you be sending, though?

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I’ve previously compared the onboarding cadence across five 14-day free SaaS trials. Today we’re going to review the cadence of onboarding emails for 5 different SaaS companies over the first 30 days.

To start, I chose 5 series that I’ve reviewed email by email. The full breakdown for each series is linked.

The free trials included:

Next, I wanted to understand how often companies reach out to trial users over the first month. What is the balance between staying top of mind, while avoiding coming off as a clingy stalker?

On average, a 30-day trial onboarding sequence has 9 emails.

Interestingly, that is basically the same number that was uncovered in my analysis of 5 14-day sequences.

Mailchimp - 9 emails

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Wistia - 9 emails

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Mint - 5 emails

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Zoom - 8 emails

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FreshBooks - 14 emails

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Two email series, Mint and FreshBooks, sent winback emails.

In fact, FreshBooks sent a few.

UNSURPRISINGLY, THE MOST POPULAR DAY TO SEND AN ONBOARDING EMAIL IS DAY 1.

For the record, I count the day a trial user signs up as Day 1, not Day 0. A few free trial series sent more than one email on Day 1 because of authentication messages. Other than authentication emails, it was most common to receive an Introduce the Building Block email.

THE SECOND MOST POPULAR SEND DAY WAS DAY 2.

The longest gap between emails was 11 days, between Mint’s Day 5 and Day 16.

A few sequences had consistently spaced out emails.

For example, Mailchimp emails sent like clockwork every fourth day. I received emails on the 4th, 8th, 12th, 16th, 20th, 24th, 28th, and 1st. Goes to show you don’t have to overthink the cadence of a time-based sequence too much.

AS FAR AS SEND TIMES GO, MORNING IS MOST POPULAR.

Most of the emails were sent around 9:00 AM CST. Mailchimp broke the mold by sending most of their emails around 4:00 PM CST.

Want to know when to send SaaS emails and what to say?

I’ve got 30+ free email templates in the SaaS Email Marketing Toolkit here.


Stephanie Knapp