10 Best Practices For Creating Successful Welcome Emails

Jen Murray
Jen Murray
Lead Nurturing Manager, Emarsys
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Creating a great welcome email is something that’s still missing from a lot of email marketing programs. Even for experienced email marketers, there’s always room for improvement when it comes to tailoring welcome emails for new database contacts.

Sure, most brands 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.

Why Are Welcome Emails So Important?

Any company that is exploring the effectiveness of email marketing needs to understand what makes welcome emails so important. Your welcome email will be setting the tone for how new subscribers can expect to interact with your brand.

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

  • 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
“#WelcomeEmail series reduce time until first purchase, boost #CLV, conversion rates, loyalty & more,” says @blueprintmkt       CLICK TO TWEET

Just like meeting someone for the first time, 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 branded, compelling, and useful.

“You have to consider your customer experience, and create your welcome series accordingly. Not every brand needs a 3-drip welcome series. You have to do what’s right for your brand and your customers. First and foremost, think about your target audience and ask, “Why did they sign up?” Next, “Where did they sign up?” For some brands, not all contacts signed up via the footer on their website. Contacts can sign up via checkout, social media, and other places. Understand where and why people sign up so that you can echo those experiences in the series. But make sure it’s a “welcome” and be friendly! This is a foundational piece to any relationship between customers and brands. Brands should use their welcome series as an opportunity to set the stage for ongoing relationships.”

Cameron Halcomb • Customer Experience Consultant, Emarsys  LinkedIn

“Consider your #customerexperience & create your #welcomeseries accordingly. Not every brand needs a 3-drip series. Do what’s right for your brand and your customers,” says @camhassler       CLICK TO TWEET

This email is so much more than a simple subscription confirmation. It’s an all-in-one opportunity for you to say hello and extend your thanks to a person who has been kind enough to share their data with you. They are looking to learn more about your brand, as well as your products and services. Don’t you think it deserves more than a couple lines of hastily written copy and a company logo?

To help you with your email marketing efforts, we’ve compiled a list of ten best practices to help you create the best welcome emails for new subscribers. Enjoy!

10 Best Practices for Creating Successful Welcome Emails

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. Nail the Subject Line

Your goal should be to get the customer to continue their journey with your brand once you land in their inbox, and the subject line holds the key. If the target audience consists of new subscribers to your brand, the subject line provides them with a peek inside. It’s meant to breed interest, and it presents you with an opportunity to provide a positive brand experience from the get-go.

3. Contain Whitelisting Instructions

It’s a best practice to include any whitelisting instructions — normally 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.

4. 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.

Image source: eBags

5. Offer a Personalized Incentive or Discount Code

Saying “thank you” and providing relevant information is great but it only goes so far. Many brands recognize the importance of inspiring further action as soon as possible. Welcome emails are your first shot at driving purchases so leverage that opportunity with personalized discount codes and incentives.

Image source: TravisMathew

6. Educate Your New Subscriber About Your Brand

It’s important to remember that providing the subscriber with brand information is the goal of 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.

Image source: Scottevest

7. 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.

8. Include 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 that will bring new subscribers to a page with valuable and relevant information on your website.

Image source: Lime Crime

9. Show That You Value Their Readership

Make the subscriber feel 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.

10. Use Interactivity

Spice up your welcome emails to make them as engaging and eye-catching as possible. If you can, show that you’re human, too. In their welcome email, for example, Drizly includes an interactive image of their employees to show their human side — killing two birds with one stone.

Taking Your Welcome Emails to the Next Level

Why stop there? Working hard on your email strategy and putting together a welcome email that follows these best practices can be valuable for your overall marketing efforts, but is that where it ends? Absolutely not. Consider how effective you are in other areas that could help boost your welcome emails. For example, how are you are going about collecting new subscribers?

If you’re an online retailer, for instance, you will probably have at least three different ways of earning a new email subscriber:

  1. Email drop-box
  2. New account registrants
  3. Transactors

Someone subscribing through a transaction shouldn’t receive the same welcome message as someone who just enters their email address on your homepage with no other details. This is a complex process, and it’s one that is worth exploring.

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). 

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Jen Murray
Jen Murray
Lead Nurturing Manager, Emarsys
Yes, I would like to receive Emarsys email updates on products, services, news, and events. I can unsubscribe by using the "unsubscribe" link at the bottom of each email, or by emailing unsubscribe@emarsys.com.

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