Staff Designer @ Philo

From Trial to Paid: How Philo's Email Onboarding Series Increased Subscriber Retention.

Revamping Philo's Onboarding

Philo faced challenges in retaining subscribers beyond their 7-day free trial, due to a lack of engagement with users during the trial period. To address this issue, we developed an email onboarding series with the aim of converting trial users into paid subscribers. To improve the subscriber experience, it was necessary to define the various stages of their journey. Our welcome email was designed to cater to diverse user flows and was built using the Rails framework to allow for dynamic copy. With over 50% of users signing up on mobile, the email's visual design was made mobile-first to enhance their experience.

From Figma to Gitlab

When evaluating the effectiveness of Philo's initial welcome email, it became evident that the messaging did not effectively convey the value of the product nor properly educate trial users on the platform's features. As a result, I recognized the need to streamline the email and to break down the key features into separate, targeted messages. By adopting this approach, I was able to provide users with a clearer understanding of the benefits of Philo, as well as a more comprehensive introduction to the platform's features. The result was a more engaging and effective onboarding series that successfully converted a higher percentage of trial users to paid subscribers, ultimately contributing to the growth and success of the company.

Email send map

As part of the effort to align Philo's visual identity with updated brand guidelines, I utilized Figma to create a variety of visual styles for email designs. With the goal of developing a flexible template for future use, I iterated on the design, considering different color schemes and layouts until arriving at a cohesive direction that met stakeholder expectations.

Once the design was finalized, I proceeded to code the emails using HTML/CSS and stored the files in Gitlab for easy access and sharing with other team members. To ensure the highest quality of our email communications, I uploaded the templates to Philo's staging site and conducted thorough testing to identify any bugs or issues that might impact the user experience.

The resulting templates provide a consistent and polished look across all of Philo's email communications, making it easier for users to recognize and engage with our brand. With a focus on both aesthetics and functionality, these templates offer a versatile tool for communicating with users and promoting our service in an effective and visually appealing way.

  • Welcome/Transactional — This email is the first step in our onboarding process and has been designed to provide our users with a warm welcome and comprehensive information to ensure they have a smooth and engaging experience with our product. Apart from introducing our product, it confirms any discounts that have been applied to their subscription and gives information about upcoming billing cycles, thereby reducing any confusion and uncertainty that may arise. It also showcases a brief but insightful overview of our product, highlighting its features and functionality to encourage users to explore and fully utilize our platform. Through this email, we aim to establish a strong foundation of trust and engagement with our users, setting them on a path towards becoming loyal and satisfied subscribers.
  • Content Email — The email presents Philo's extensive content library, highlighting how it is organized and giving users an overview of trending content. It includes links to each title and headline, allowing users to access their preferred content quickly. The design emphasizes the organization and categorization of the content to make it easier for users to navigate.
  • Save a show Email — The "Save a show" email is an essential part of the Philo onboarding series, providing users with a step-by-step guide on how to save their favorite titles to their unlimited DVR and access them on the platform. To ensure clarity, the email includes in-product shots, icons, and supporting copy, helping users navigate the process seamlessly. Additionally, the email emphasizes the value of Philo's unlimited DVR feature, empowering users to take control of their viewing experience and save the content they love. By educating users on how to save shows, Philo can increase user engagement and retention, ultimately leading to increased conversions and revenue.
  • Favorite a channel Email — This email is aimed at improving the user experience by enabling them to customize their streaming experience. We encourage users to favorite their preferred channels on Philo to create a personalized and streamlined viewing experience. The email provides a detailed guide on how to locate and favorite specific channels within the product. The email is designed to showcase a visual representation of Philo's channel guide, making it easy for users to identify and select their favorite channels. With this feature, users can quickly navigate and access their preferred channels without having to scroll through a long list of channels each time they open the app, saving time and effort.
  • Multi-Device Email — In this email, we aim to empower users to enjoy the full Philo experience on all their favorite devices. We showcase a range of supported devices through colorful icons that users can easily identify. Our design is mobile-responsive, making it easy for users to access the email on their smartphones, which is where over 50% of our users sign up. We also provide a clear call-to-action for users to learn more and get started. By following the step-by-step guide linked in the email, users can add Philo to their chosen device and access their favorite content anywhere, anytime. With Philo's multi-device functionality, users can switch from watching on their phone to their laptop, tablet, or even their TV, seamlessly.

Achieving 5% Conversion Boost

To provide a more engaging experience for our subscribers, we wanted to ensure that our email campaigns were informative, user-friendly, and tailored to each user's unique preferences. After careful consideration, we developed five single-send email campaigns with 20 variations for each, enabling us to support all dynamic copy options.

Over a six-month period, we tested and refined our email campaigns to ensure that they were optimized for our audience. Our primary focus was on the open rate, click-through rate, and unsubscribe rate, which are critical indicators of user engagement.

Our efforts paid off, as we saw a significant increase in our open rate, which rose to an impressive 29.59%. We also saw a higher click-through rate of 2.96%, which demonstrated that our email campaigns were resonating with our subscribers. In addition, the unsubscribe rate was a low 0.22%, indicating that our subscribers found value in our content and were not eager to opt-out.

Ultimately, our onboarding series was a resounding success, resulting in a 5% increase in conversions from trial users to paid subscribers. By developing user-friendly, informative, and visually appealing emails, we were able to increase engagement, boost retention, and convert more trial users into loyal subscribers.