Using Product Usage Data to Onboard and Nurture Customers

Level 3 - Champion Level 3 - Champion
Level 3 - Champion

AppFolio has seen immense success when using product usage data to onboard and nurture our customers. Using engagement programs and the template provided here for how to structure a product data-driven nurture, written by my incredibly talented colleague @shannonmacq, (LinkedIn) you'll be well on your way to seeing similar marketing successes with your own customers! 


Building product-driven nurtures is one of the most powerful options we as marketers have to provide the most relevant onboarding materials, give our customers access to support, and help drive product adoption in one seamless experience. Below is a template for how to think through your first product nurture to create the most tailored experience for your customers.


Stream one:  Welcome Message


Stream One’s objective is to welcome your new customers and help familiarize them with the resources they’ll need for success. You can listen for customers who have just begun their onboarding journey using a triggered stream. This stream’s emails can provide links to relevant help articles, and community pages and provide their best point of contact for support to create a straightforward and positive onboarding experience.  


Email One will provide a value proposition and remind your customers why they purchased your amazing product. This stream can be triggered using your CRM or other synced platform to pinpoint your new customers. This first email is a great place to build excitement and can be short and sweet, encouraging them to log in or familiarize themselves with your product. We are beginning their customer journey off strong by re-introducing them to your product and letting them know what experience they can expect in the coming weeks.


Email Two is where we can introduce your customers' human resources. A quick introduction, a token from, and a reply to address is a great way to naturally provide your customers with all the contact information they may need. Email two is also where we will provide some helpful getting-started and set-up resources. Providing links to help articles and week one set-up tutorials can be included here as well. This messaging is providing your new customers with the resources they will need while familiarizing them with the level of care they can expect from your company which we will continue in stream two.


Stream two:  Starting Set Up


Once a customer has completed any milestones you hope to accomplish in stream one, stream two’s objective is to provide a seamless and guided setup experience by your company and get them engaging with your product. This stream’s emails can provide links to sign up for your company’s newsletter, links to login and supply on-demand webinars to dive deeper into your product, driving product adoption.


Email One will link to any additional resources your new customers will benefit from and a step-by-step guide to anything they need for their setup to be successful. Email one is also a great place to include a place to sign up for your newsletter or a link to log in, aiding our goal to drive product usage.  We have officially started our setup on the right foot and we will now provide additional resources in the following emails in this stream.


Email two and however many additional emails you want to include in this stream will depend on how detailed your setup process is and how many milestones need to be reached. Helpful resources to provide in this stream include; embedded on-demand webinars, additional help articles, and calendar links to where they can receive additional support. These emails will help achieve stream two’s objective by directing the customers to the product and breaking up the setup into manageable steps while keeping the process as personal as possible.


Stream three: Completing Set Up


Stream three’s objective is to use tailored product data to complete the setup. We can now listen for customers who have not completed elements of setup using their synced CRM or other platform data to move through the streams completing them. 

Email One will target anyone who has not finished the necessary pieces of setup. You can send an email to anyone who still has empty necessary fields or needs to enable additional parts of your product. Email one will provide relevant help articles needed to unblock this stage of setup and can come directly from their support person using tokens so the customer can respond with any questions they have. Email one will provide a tailored, and data-driven approach to unblocking the customer's setup experience while using the opportunity to provide a consistent and positive experience with your company.


Email Two will only go to those who do not unblock the objectives from email one, using exit criteria to remove anyone who enables the service needed or otherwise completes the objective of email one. Email two can be a quick re-stating of the roadblock with a reminder of the documentation available to them and who they can reach out to for support. 


Email Three is going to anyone who has not unblocked the issue and this will be the most personal touch, helping our new customers feel supported in their setup rather than pestered. Sending a plain text email from support, offering to aid in set up while including a link to their calendars can help aid in a smooth completion of set up while leveraging this touchpoint as an opportunity to provide a positive customer experience.


Stream four: Driving Adoption


Stream four’s objective is to focus on our low adopters. This is where our product usage data is most powerful and can help us identify and increase customer engagement. Work with your reps to identify the best data points for identifying who is not adopting your product. Using custom Marketo objects to sync relevant data provides a powerful targeting opportunity. Low or partial adopters can benefit from a re-stated value proposition as well as an opportunity to respond directly to representatives to talk through any sticking points. If you can access scheduling links, here is a good place to link directly to their calendars. An added benefit is that you can remove people from subsequent emails in this stream by listening for increased adoption, and customers who have booked time with your reps or otherwise engaged with your emails. 


Email One is our softest touch and is where we will restate our product value and include the most relevant customer testimonials. Leveraging customers in the same segment or with the same use case as your nurture recipient in dynamic email content is a great way to surface how people with similar use cases find value in your product to customers in a positive manner.

Email Two will go to those whose adoption has still not increased. Providing links to log in, embedded video tutorials and any additional resources you may want to resurface can be added to this email.  Email two, and any additional emails you choose to add to this stream should drive a positive opportunity for your customers to re-engage whether that be with your website, content, or support representatives until their adoption increases. 




Congratulations, you’ve taken the first step in thinking through and creating your first product nurture! Your customers have been welcomed, introduced to, and walked through the setup of your product, being given all the information they need to be successful. You have provided an array of options for them to engage and become familiarized with the product. We’ve also identified anyone struggling with adoption and created a positive series of touchpoints for them to re-engage. Now you can continue to think about your customer journey and follow this framework to create any additional product nurtures you’d like to continue to drive adoption, keep your customers engaged, and promote additional features.