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Faster onboarding for Flexmail

Flexmail is a Belgian B2B email marketing tool that helps companies standardise email campaigns, forms and surveys. They are focused on GDPR compliance and email receiver transparency. This is how they can compete with big US-based competitors like Mailchimp.

Reducing Flexmail’s onboarding time from 6 months to days

Flexmail was struggling with onboarding new users. Their sales and marketing teams worked overtime to bring in new users and convert them. They spent a lot of time explaining how the tool worked and ensuring the software would fit the user’s specific email processes. Moreover, it also took up to 6 months (!) before interested users converted to paying customers. The platform suffered from a lot of feature creep due to 12 years of engineering-driven design introducing more and more configurations to Flexmail, which did not help the onboarding process.

User research to find the essence

We started off by talking to a range of different Flexmail-users and diving into the product analytics, to get a grasp on current usage, pain points and struggles with the tool. We learnt, for instance, that A/B testing is really important as a sales argument to onboard users, but in practice, it is only used by a small percentage of Flexmail users.

More importantly, we learnt that sending an email is the first thing a potential user wants to try. This became the central goal of our redesigned onboarding. We knew that when someone imported their contacts and designed an email, the chances of them dropping out of the Flexmail software are low. Therefore we decided to focus on the contact organisation as an important feature to highlight.

A brand new contact system

We wanted to create contact lists from one centralised database showing all the contact data. By doing it this way, it would be easier for a user or a marketer to find all the data for one person and edit it in one go. We redesigned the way users upload and organise their contacts, both minimising the effort and maximising the flexibility to segment contacts afterwards.

Smooth Sailing rocks at challenging existing concepts but they are conscious enough to stay true to the nature of your product.

UX design - laying the entire puzzle

In the current usage statistics, we found that managing contacts, sending campaigns and linking forms to these campaigns were very important features. Constructing workflows, landing pages, and doing A/B-testing were less important and we grouped them under the category “Automation”.

To generate some “Contact” ideas and concepts, we looked into 100 accounts and how they structured and filtered their contacts. By seeing first-hand how these users had hacked the current way of working, we understood how to redesign it.

Product design - creating the interface

The colours and positioning of buttons and forms can make a big difference in usability. Besides those elements, speed and contrast are important to make the tool accessible to everyone. We created a visual language for Flexmail that could be understood by the target audience and could be easily expanded on in the future.

After that, we created a testable prototype, which is a clickable website in HTML that could be adapted to simulate real-world scenarios.

Validation usability in real life

With a testable interface in hand, we could go back to existing and future users of Flexmail. Based on scenarios we check if people understand the concepts, in this case, the segmentation, and everything is findable and usable. From five test users, you already learn most of the pain points of the interface. A long list of feedback and feature requests will arise. Every user test is interesting, even after 15 years of designing interfaces.

Feedback analysis

You cannot just implement every feedback and request. We had to distinguish between what will help this user and what is good for all users. If not, you will end up with a lot of not-used features and conflicting user feedback. We learned from these tests that asking for a logo during the onboarding was way too early. Users wanted to know what the tool was about before customizing it.

The result? Onboarding takes days instead of months

The development of the whole flow was not trivial and took some iterations. We needed to make sure existing customers could find there way as well through the revamped way of working.

The results are astonishing though, in steads of the months of lead time, most of new Flexmail clients request a demo and onboard by them self. Resulting in an average onboarding time of a few days. This means a massive difference for Flexmail, in terms of sales focus but no doubt in the speed of growth.


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