How To: Crafting an Effective Welcome Email Series
Updated: Oct 4, 2019
When it comes to new email subscribers, first impressions mean everything. Nothing makes me cringe more than when I sign-up for a company newsletter, hear nothing for weeks, and then get sent a random email to buy a product or go to an event. I’m like, “Um, excuse me… Who the F are you?!”
The first email a subscriber gets from your brand is kind of a big deal. It’s equivalent to a first date. Your first impression will play a huge part in how well you and that person get along later and it more than likely will be the major factor in your decision whether or not to see the person again.
If that sub-par dating analogy did nothing for you, maybe these welcome email (also refereed to as onboarding emails) statistics will:
The most effective triggered email types for e-commerce brands are cart-abandonment emails and welcome emails. (MarketingProfs)
Welcome emails have 4x open rate and 5x click-through rate than other email marketing (Campaign Monitor)
Welcome emails have 14.4% click rate compared to just 2.7% in other types (Invesp)
Welcome emails with special offers and promo codes can even boost revenue by 30% per email, when compared to those without offers. (Campaign Monitor)
Welcome emails see more than 3x the transactions and revenue per email over regular promotional emails. (InboxArmy)
New leads are most engaged within 48 hours of subscribing. (VerticalResponse)
Subscribers who receive a Welcome email show 33% more engagement with the brand. (InboxArmy)
With the holiday season quickly approaching, you’re likely looking forward to increased traffic to your website and more newsletter sign-ups. Are you prepared to crush the first date and welcome these new visitors and prospective customers with open arms (I swear, that’s the last dating reference!)?
Here are 5 “musts” to keep in mind as you build your onboarding experience, plus ideas and directions on what actually goes into your onboarding emails.
1. CONSIDER ONBOARDING AND WELCOMING NEWBIES VIA A SERIES - NOT JUST ONE EMAIL
Building a strong relationship takes a little TLC so we always recommend a three email onboarding series approach. Here is an example of a three email approach:
Email #1: Thank You/What’s in it for THEM
The first email in your onboarding series is really all about introducing your brand and welcoming a new subscriber into becoming a part of it. Since they were just on your site, they hopefully know at least a little bit about you so the real focus of email #1 should be around one single CTA.
Put another way, what is the next best step your subscriber should take now that they have joined your brand?
Depending on your product, blog or store this could be to encourage readers to:
complete their profile
read a help doc or guide
login to their account
make a purchase
Try to think of ways to introduce your brand through the lens of why this new subscriber should care - What’s in it for them?
If you promised a discount code or incentive, deliver it early in the email. A “where is Waldo” situation is not what we are going for here.
Email #2: Get To Know Them More
This is a great time to get to know a little more about your subscriber by asking them for additional information like their birthday, shopping preferences, location, etc. The more information you have, the better you can segment your list and send them more targeted, relevant and personalized content. Keep in mind that people are more likely to give you additional information if there’s something in it for them. Perhaps you plan on sending a special message or discount for someone’s birthday. Let them know that’s why you want their birthday. Maybe you offer special events across the country and you have to be on the list to get an invite. Be upfront with why you want their address/zip code.
If the subscriber knows that extra goodies are involved when they fork over additional deets, they will be a much more forthcoming.
Use the other real estate in your email to introduce other services you offer or your product categories.
Email #3: Invite Them to Your Other Platforms
Now’s the ideal time to ask new subscribers to join you on your other platforms like social media. Don’t forget to also share any hashtags you would like your new fan to use if they do share anything on social.
Here are some ways to creatively show off and invite subscribers to your other platforms:
Include a few images of one of your social feeds - teases your subscriber with just enough of your content to make them curious and hopefully inspire them to join you.
Introduce your social media team/person: Give a little behind the scenes of who’s behind your social.
Share UGC’s: If you use user generated content in your marketing content, this is a great time to tell a new fan and encourage them to share their experiences for a chance to get featured.
2. TIMING IS EVERYTHING: SEND OUT YOUR WELCOME EMAIL IMMEDIATELY.
A customer who has just signed up to your email subscription list has your brand on the brain. They want to hear from you. In fact, new subscribers expect an immediate email to hit their inbox, especially if they signed up because you incentivized them with a discount.
If you can get your email in front of them while your brand’s at the forefront of their mind, you’re far more likely to convert this lead into a customer.
3. LEAVE THE LAME “WELCOME TO COMPANY X” SUBJECT LINE TO YOUR LESS CREATIVE COMPETITORS.
The hard truth: Your email is worthless if no one opens it. Fortunately, fun and creative subject lines get opened. Plus, your new subscriber is literally waiting for this email. Let’s knock their socks off right!?
Here are some welcome email subject line ideas to get you started:
Good decision, [FNAME]. Welcome to our family.
[FNAME], thanks for signing up! Ready to dive in?
[NAME OF YOUR BLOG]: You’re all signed up!
See what you can do with [YOUR PRODUCT], [FNAME]
Congratulations – you’re now a subscriber to [NEWSLETTER NAME]!
Emails with personalized subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened. (Campaign Monitor)
In case you missed my blog “10 FREE Must-Have Tools For Digital Marketers,”I mention a few email tools, including a free subject line tester, here.
4. REMEMBER YOUR ALT TEXT
Not everyone lets images into their inbox. It’s a real bummer but it’s reality. Here’s an example of an email that was probably beautiful, but the subscriber has images blocked:
#sadtimes All those blanks could be ALT text descriptions, which means that while the subscriber misses out on your beautiful artwork, at least they are able to take something away from your email.
5. KEEP YOUR NEWBIES OUT OF YOU REGULAR EMAILS UNTIL THEY ARE DONE ONBOARDING
Depending on your send frequency for your normal marketing emails, you may want to exclude new subscribers from your regular mailing schedule until they have completed your welcome series. Nothing will scare a new subscriber away like being bombarded with your marketing emails right off the bat!
The moment someone opts in to your email list is the moment they have officially entered the honeymoon stage of your relationship (Ok I swear that’s the last one!). They love you and they want more of you.
When you send personalized, timely, and engaging emails while your brand is at the forefront of their mind, you’re taking a huge step toward building a long-term relationship with them. Spend a little time to welcome them the way you would want to be welcomed and start reaping all of the amazing benefits of turning a mere “email subscriber” into a brand super fan.
Sign-up for RHM's newsletter and see a welcome email in action (cough-cough shameless plug). About the Author: Founder. Dreamer. Master of None. It's been 9 years since Jules has been paying off her Masters Degree in Social Work—zero of which have involved doing actual Social Work. Instead, she's built a career decoding the puzzle that is the internet and digital marketing. Experienced. Humble. Often burned by auto-correct. Jules created Rolling Hills Media so she could write her own rules and to help brands do the same.