DEV Community

flo merian
flo merian

Posted on • Updated on

The README email

In software development, a README file is where you can have a detailed description of a project — why it exists, what you can do with it, and how you can use it and contribute.

When building an open-source product, is the main place to learn more about the history of the project and its roadmap. As maintainers, we pour time into it to make it as awesome as possible.

I recently had the opportunity to work on the onboarding experience and welcome email sequence for an open-source company, and when we started thinking about how we wanted to welcome new users, this file really inspired us.

This post highlights the principles we defined and the email sequence we set for a great onboarding experience.


  • No spam. We send two emails: one welcome email when a new user signs up and one check-in after seven days. We might send a PMF survey from time to time, up to 1 email per quarter. That's it. No nurturing, no outreach, no spam.
  • Simplicity. We keep things simple and straight to the point, in one plain email -- the README email -- that includes the key elements you need to get started.
  • Human after all. You don’t get an email from a hello@ support@ or worse no-reply@ address. We send new users emails from personal accounts.

With these principles in mind, below are the two emails we send to new users:

how we welcome new users

Two emails:

  1. The README email;
  2. Quick check-in.

Email #1: the README email

Subject line:

{yourProduct}: readme
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode


Hey {firstName},

Welcome to {yourProduct}! We're building an open-source alternative to XYZ.

Below are the most helpful links:
- GitHub: Star this repo!
- Discussions: Request features and integrations
- Issues: Report bugs

Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

Email #2: checking in

Subject line:

{yourProduct}: checking in
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode


Hey {firstName},

How's your experience with {yourProduct} so far?

Feel free to book a quick call with me:

Or reply to this email!

Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

Post Scriptum

This email sequence is the first iteration of a running experiment to make the onboarding experience as awesome as possible. It certainly isn't perfect, and we may edit and improve (simplify) it. Enjoy!

Over to you, I'd love to learn more about your most memorable onboarding experiences.

What's one product that struck you for its first-time experience?

Top comments (0)