Onboarding journeys are a little like dating. Sure, she agreed to go out with you, maybe even gave you her email address and phone number, but it's really the first few dates that can turn a promising relationship into a long-term commitment.

Nurturing a relationship with your customers means more than simply selling to them-it's about building trust, loyalty and mutual benefit.

Want to know what sets high-performing marketing teams apart from their lesser counterparts? Journeys. Sure, we talk about them all the time (and maybe even overuse the term now and then), but the simple fact is, according to the 2016 State of Marketing Report, when marketers implement customer journeys, more than two-third agree it's had a positive impact on their business.

Seventy percent of marketing leaders say they've seen a positive impact on their customers' willingness to recommend products or services, and 73% say a customer journey strategy has positively impacted overall customer engagement. Not only that, but it's the second biggest priority for marketers this year.

Each and every one of those customer-influencing journeys begins with onboarding.

So, what does a great onboarding journey look like?

B2C Customer Onboarding

When the Adore Me marketing team began analyzing the behaviors of its email subscribers, they noticed that 80% of all conversions happened within the first week of a customer opting to receive emails. Engaging these customers in that first week became critical.

The small marketing team began using A/B testing to find the messages and frequencies that best resonated with Adore Me subscribers. A minor change to one email's subject line, for example, accounted for a conversion increase of 33%.

They then parlayed all the information gained through rigorous testing into a strategic welcome series that includes seven emails, triggered after a customer signs up on the website. The welcome series begins with an offer, but as the series progresses, customer-centric content, such as how to find the the best fitting bra, is featured.

In addition to sales, the ultimate goal of the welcome series was to build brand advocates and increase VIP membership. To date, the welcome series has resulted in a 23% increase in conversions to purchase.

Learn more about how Adore Me and other digital marketing leaders use email to bolster business with this ebook: 8 Stories of Email Success.

B2B Customer Onboarding Great onboarding isn't just for B2C companies. Check out how WeddingWire has created an onboarding journey for its vendors.

As the global leading online service for the wedding and social events industry, WeddingWire connects its vendor network to members seeking event products and services such as venues, photographers, and other creative professionals. Onboarding these vendors and keeping them engaged is a priority for the business.

WeddingWire begins the relationship with a series that acclimates the vendors to the brand and gets them integrated with the larger WeddingWire community. The content then moves to educational newsletters, customized by region and industry.

There are even promotional emails that offer additional opportunities to showcase the vendors' services through the WeddingWire platform.

With several vendor conferences offered each year, WeddingWire also has the opportunity to bridge the physical with the digital with a mobile experience that includes text updates and even swag giveaways.

With email as its anchor, WeddingWire has moved its vendors from providers to active and engaged members of its community.

Want to learn more about WeddingWire? They're going to be featured in a session at this year's Connections. Have you registered yet? If not, do it here!

Finally, when it comes to onboarding, we practice what we preach. Check out this webinar to see how Salesforce uses Marketing Cloud for customer onboarding.