7 Steps to Create the Best Welcome Email

Creating a good welcome email is still something that’s sorely missing from a great many email marketing programs. While some of this is well known for the more experienced email marketers among you, there is always room for improvement when it comes to tailoring your welcome emails to new subscribers.

Sure, most senders clearly understand the need for some kind of subscription confirmation email but there are still so many bad welcome emails being sent, despite a huge amount of collective drum banging from ESPs.

Just like in real life, email first impressions really count. For most subscribers the welcome email will be the first thing they receive so it is very important that this message is on brand, compelling and useful. This email is so much more than a simple subscription confirmation – it’s a hello and a thank you from you, to this person who has been kind enough to share their data with you and who wants to know more about you and your products and services.

Don’t you think it deserves more than a couple of lines of hastily written copy and a company logo? For this reason, we’ve compiled a list of 8 steps to craft better welcome emails for new subscribers. Enjoy!

A Great Welcome Email Should:

1. Begin With a Thank You 

It’s just good manners. While it’s important to confirm that the user has successfully signed up, you also want to make sure that your new subscribers know how thankful you are to have them. Your customer (or potential customer) has engaged with you and it’s important to recognize that and establish a good first impression.

2. Contain Whitelisting Instructions

It’s a best practice to include any whitelisting instructions – normally found in the pre-header. To learn more about pre-header best practices and the best ways to include these instructions, be sure to check out our post on using pre-headers effectively in your email campaigns.

3. Explain the Benefits of Being an Email Subscriber 

Why would someone want to sign up for your email list? Let your new subscribers know what they will gain from receiving your email communication. A welcome email presents the perfect opportunity to explain the value of being a loyal customer.

4. Educate Your New Subscriber About Your Brand 

It’s important to remember that this is your welcome email; however, don’t get too carried away and include your boilerplate in the welcome email. Improve this initial communication with personalization, as you are offering an experience that will form the way customers view your brand.

5. Set Some Expectations About Frequency

New subscribers should know what to expect from your emails the future. You will want to set some expectations as to the frequency and type of emails you’re planning to send. It’s essential that you follow through with this promise. Future emails should be consistent with what is promised in the welcome email.

6. Contain Relevant Links

As an online marketer, you should take this opportunity to link back to your website. Consider incorporating a call-to-action at the bottom of the email to point new subscribers back to relevant information on your website.

7. Show That You Value Their Readership

Make the subscriber feels like you actually value their readership. One way to do this is by providing new subscribers with an exclusive offer or promotion in the welcome email. This is also a great way to get customers to sign up in the first place.

The Importance of Welcome Emails

By successfully crafting and implementing a welcome email campaign, marketers can expect to see some pretty impressive results. Get this right, and you’ll likely experience some of these results:

  • Significantly reduce the time until the first purchase
  • Increased lifetime value of subscribers
  • Increased performance metrics in other emails
  • Increased conversion rates
  • Increased brand affinity and loyalty

Taking Your Welcome Emails to the Next Level

But why stop there? Sure you’ve worked hard on getting a nice, all-singing-all-dancing welcome email but have you gone far enough? Probably not. Most people haven’t. So sit down and think about how you’re collecting new subscribers.

If you’re an online retailer, for instance, you will probably have at least three different ways of collecting a new email subscriber (ignoring offline methods, partner sites, competitions, etc.); email drop-box, new account registrants and transactors to name a few. To me, it doesn’t seem right that someone subscribing through a transaction should receive the same welcome message as someone who just enters their email address on your homepage with no other details.

So now we’re adding complexity, why not take this even further. What about adding other emails to create a welcome series? This is a topic for another day but there’s a lot to be said for following up on your initial welcome email with an educational email or two, or perhaps an offer (maybe not for people who opt-in while purchasing though).

If you want to know more about how you can make the most of your first impression just ask Emarsys in the comments below.

Friday, 11 May 2012