The Indispensable Welcome Email and How to Get It Right
I recently came across a retail brand and fell in love with the quirky products they were offering. Being a savvy shopper (and email marketer), I signed up for their mailing list…and there it came—a welcome email telling me about the brand, what I can expect in their future emails, and, of course, a welcome discount! Perfect!
The welcome email is the first email from a business to the newly added subscriber in their family. It is not only an instant notification of successful subscription but a great chance to connect with the potential customer and understand what they like or dislike. In fact, we've found that welcome emails have on average 4x the open rate and 5x the click-through rate of a standard email marketing campaign. That's powerful stuff.
An email this critical needs to be done right. Here are four ways you can build and improve your welcome email.
1. Be Quick About It
Immediacy is key in good welcome emails. In fact, 74% of consumers expect a welcome email as soon as they subscribe. With this expectation, wouldn’t you want to make the most of this engagement? Send a prompt welcome email that assures subscribers of a successful sign-up while also starting a great conversation.
Need more reason to be quick? Consider this: 45% of first-time purchases by new subscribers happen within 24 hours of sign-up.
2. Personalize It
We’re in an era of personalization and you need to go beyond just “Hey [First Name].”
At sign-up, ask for more information than just an email address or a first name. For example, ask for a zip code. This can be used in the welcome email through information about local stores (populated through dynamic content).
If you don’t want to collect information on the front end, make use of the unparalleled attention welcome emails receive to ask for more information in the email itself. Every additional data point you can gather can be useful in terms of list segmentation and relevant content delivery further down the line.
3. Keep Your Promise
Keep every promise you make and only make those you can keep. If you promise a sign-up incentive, information, or deal, deliver it. And keep any promises you make in the welcome email later as well. Any good relationship is built on trust—don’t abuse yours.
4. Keep It Simple
Well over half of all emails are now opened on mobile devices. With smaller screens and even smaller attention spans to deal with, you need to ensure that your welcome email is focused on greeting the new subscriber, telling them (briefly) about your brand, and pointing to your desired call to action.
Simply put, though, you likely can’t tell them everything about you in one email. If you want to tell your subscribers more, a welcome email series is a great option.
What Goes Into a Great Welcome Email Series
A welcome email series can work wonders for your email marketing program. Listrak tracked the email campaigns of 1000 top retail companies and found that a welcome email series generated more revenue on average than that of a single (or no) welcome email.
The FIRST email
Tip: Your first welcome email should go out immediately after a new subscriber signs up.
This first correspondence should include a simple thank you or welcome note. If you promised a discount code or incentive, deliver it now.
Give subscribers an idea about the frequency at which you’ll be sending your emails. If you’re set up with one, provide a link to a preference center so subscribers can set their own frequency preferences.
Most of all, this first email (and really, all of your welcome emails) should be an extension of your brand and a solid introduction into becoming a part of it.
Uncommon Goods does this introduction nicely in a series of emails to new subscribers.
This first email welcomes the subscriber and gives them a peek into the brand’s story, artisans, and their ethics and values.
The SECOND email
Tip: Send this email 1-2 days after the first email.
This is a great time to get to know a little more about your subscriber by asking them for additional information like birthday, preferences, location, etc. As previously said, the more information you have, the better you can segment your list and send them more targeted, relevant content.
Alternatively, this email can also introduce your product categories or services offered, just like in this second email I received from Uncommon Goods.
The THIRD email
Tip: Send this email roughly 2-3 days after you send your second email.
An excellent use of this message can be to connect your new subscribers to other platforms, like Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest—really anywhere you have an established, active presence. Getting your email subscribers to follow you on other platforms will help turn them into loyal brand advocates.
A wonderful example of this principle in action is this third email I received from Uncommon Goods.
NOTE: 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. This will help ensure you don’t overmail folks right away.
Welcome Emails: The Bottom Line
If you currently have no immediate welcome email going out to new subscribers, get one in place as soon as possible. You are missing out on a chance to deliver a great first impression, not to mention lots of revenue.
If you have a welcome email but want to deliver more content early on, a welcome series is a great solution. Use this opportunity to craft compelling content that will cement a strong foundation for a long-lasting subscriber relationship.
About the Author
Scott Cohen is the VP of Marketing at InboxArmy, full-service email marketing agency. He has been living and breathing email marketing since 2007. With both agency and client-side end-user experience, Scott brings a unique perspective to email marketing that combines best practices with real-world-tested strategy and tactics.