The Perfect Welcome Email
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You're at a party, chatting with someone you just met. You've asked lots of questions - about his background, his family, his work - when the conversation finally turns to you.
"And how about you?" he asks. "What do you do?" At that point, would you walk away?
In real life, you'd never ignore someone right as he began to express an interest in you. But in your business, there's a good chance you're doing just that if you don't send welcome emails - messages that introduce your company and it's value to a new email subscriber.
When you gain an email subscriber, that person has never been more interested in hearing from your business.
Compared with other promotional emails, welcome emails are four times more likely to be opened and five times more likely to be clicked, according to a report by Experience Marketing Services.
That means that welcome emails are prime real estate for educating new prospects about your business and for encouraging them down the path toward becoming a customer. Welcome emails set the tone - not only for your future communications, but for the ongoing relationship between you and your customers.
The best welcome emails result from the combination of digital marketing strategy and marketing automation software that automatically sends relevant emails when new leads come in. That's why Digital Marketer, a leading strategy and consulting group, and Keap®, a leading provider of sales and marketing software for small businesses, have teamed up for this eBook on crafting effective welcome emails.
In this piece, we'll explain what every welcome email should include, analyze examples of successful emails, and explore why welcome emails are the perfect start to a relationship that can continue well beyond the first sale.
How and Why to Send a Welcome Email
One of the best ways to attract new leads and convert them into customers is through email marketing - and a welcome email should be part of those with broader efforts.
According to technology firm, Gigaom Research, 86 percent of digital marketers at companies of all sizes regularly use email marketing - and they consider email more effective for awareness, acquisition, conversion, and retention than any other tactics.
The popularity of email marketing also means that your prospects already see plenty of marketing messages in their inboxes. To get email addresses, you first need to give. Think about something you could offer as a "lead magnet" to prospects that would compel them to hand over their email addresses, like a helpful piece of content, a free consultation, or a video course. In any form, a lead magnet should attract your target audience by offering a specific solution to their problem.
After you collect an email address by offering a lead magnet, it's time to send your welcome email. If you use marketing automation software like Keap®, the welcome email can be automatically triggered as a result of an action the prospect takes, like filling out an online form.
The software also allows you to evaluate the effectiveness of your welcome email by measuring metrics like open rate and recording actions like links clicked. These insights help you better understand your prospects' interests and behaviors, allowing you to send emails that resonate with them and increase their affinity for your company.
What a Welcome Email Should Do
If someone reads your welcome email and proceeds to make a purchase, congratulations! But most of the time, an immediate sale won't be the result of a welcome email, nor would it be the goal of one.
A welcome email should:
Some prospects thoroughly investigate your company before giving their email addresses to you. Others, though, might have glanced at your website for only a matter of seconds before signing up. For that reasons, your welcome emails can't assume that prospects know everything - or anything - about your business.
Use the welcome email as an opportunity to introduce your company, it's values, and it's differentiating qualities. To provide more information, turn the welcome email into a multi-day email series - sending resources like answers to frequently asked questions, top-selling products, or a roundup of your best blog posts.
The dividing line between the inbox and spam folder is engagement. When your emails are regularly opened and clicked, email service providers recognize them as messages people want to receive.
Digital Marketer uses a three-part welcome series that's designed to increase that engagement. The emails bounce subscribers around from the inbox to the blog to social accounts - helping to improve email deliverability and compel subscribers to spend more time with your company. In a subtle way, the welcome emails shift subscribers habits, moving them closer to the next steps with your company.
There are only so many emails you can send before your business becomes overbearing. But social channels allow you to stay i touch with customers on a much more frequent basis. In your welcome email, link to your social accounts and describe what prospects will find there, like tutorial videos on Youtube or photos of newly-released products on Instagram.
The 5 Key Elements of a Welcome Email
Whether you're sending a single welcome email or a multi-day series, your messages should contain these five elements. Here's as look at the first email in Digital Marketer's three-part series.
Your email should include a clear, straightforward subject line (like "Welcome to [Company]) and an introduction to your business and it's offerings.
To personalize the email and differentiate it from the marketing emails to come, consider sending them the welcome from the CEO rather than from your company. Consumers like seeing that there are real people behind your brand.
Joining an email list involves some mystery for subscribers. Will your company send emails on a monthly, weekly, or daily basis? What exactly will be in these emails: promotions, special offers, helpful tips, company news, event information? While you have their attention, tell new subscribers what kind of emails they’re going to receive and how often they’ll receive them. It’s better to be upfront about your intentions now than annoy prospects over time with unexpected emails, which can lead them to unsubscribe—and lose interest in your company. Here’s how Digital Marketer sets expectations.
When everyone already gets more than their fair share of email, why should subscribers volunteer for more emails from you? Don’t assume that subscribers realize how your emails will benefit them. Dedicate a portion of your welcome message to explaining what subscribers will learn or gain as they hear from you.
The next steps
New subscribers now understand who you are, what you’ll be sending, and how your emails are going to help them. They trust you a little more than they did when they signed up for your emails. So now you can ask a small favour or two in return. Digital Marketer asks for two “micro-commitments” that both move the relationship forward and ensure continued communication. The welcome email asks subscribers to follow Digital Marketer CEO and founder Ryan Deiss on Facebook and Twitter, explaining that social channels are a primary method of communication. It also asks them to “whitelist” Digital Marketer as an email sender, a tactic that can improve email deliverability—even if only a small percentage of readers comply with the request.
The open loop
Back to the example of meeting someone at a party: If you hit it off, you don’t end the night with, “Well, it was nice meeting you.” You make plans to continue the relationship (or at least drop hints about doing so).
A welcome email should end the same way. Give subscribers a preview of what’s coming to their inboxes next, like a helpful video or special offer. Here’s how Digital Marketer teases its three-part welcome series, creating suspense that entices readers to open the next emails they see.
5 Welcome Emails That Work
The best way to understand good welcome emails is to see them in action. These five emails highlight the key elements of a welcome email.
The company: Aritzia, a women’s fashion boutique
Why the email works: In three simple, visually-appealing points, Aritiza tells new subscribers what sets their company apart from countless other places to shop. The email also introduces a playful brand voice that helps subscribers feel more connected to the company.
The company: Airbnb, the global network for renting accommodations
Why the email works: Airbnb’s welcome email encourages subscribers to take next steps by completing a profile, verifying personal information, and exploring accommodations. When subscribers spend time engaging with the site, they’re more likely to book a trip.
The company: Mashable, a media company focused on technology and entertainment content
Why the email works: Mashable sets expectations by telling new subscribers the three types of emails they’re going to receive: top stories, viral news alerts, and breaking news alerts. The company adds that newsletters are personalized to reading habits, encouraging new subscribers to keep opening, clicking, and reading.
The company: Poppin, a retailer of modern office furniture and office supplies
Why the email works: Poppin makes newcomers feel like they’re part of an exclusive club by immediately explaining the benefits of receiving their emails. They tell subscribers to “get psyched” for emails about sneak previews of new items, secret sales, contests, and more.
The company: Everbliss, an app that connects patients to therapists and coaches in a live video call
Why the email works: The email positions therapy (and Everbliss) not as a one-time solution but as a daily, ongoing source of support. The message naturally leads new subscribers to the next step: taking a quiz and trying a free session with Everbliss.
After the Welcome
A welcome email is still only the beginning of what’s known as lifecycle marketing. In this concept, the sales and marketing process doesn’t have a beginning and an end. It’s a continuous effort to attract, sell, and wow customers—and then do it all again. Your welcome email should be the gateway to other email marketing campaigns that gradually turn a stranger into a customer into a fan of your business.
Digital Marketer calls these email campaigns The Machine, an automated series of emails with five stages:
Welcome emails introduce new subscribers to your business, “indoctrinating” them on its benefits.
Engagement emails convert leads into customers by making a direct offer. To decide on an offer to make, think back to how you gained the new subscriber in the first place: the lead magnet.
The prospect has a problem, and your lead magnet spoke to solving it. The offer in your engagement email should continue along the same theme, showing the prospect that your product or service is the solution they’re looking for.
When engagement emails result in sales, your work isn’t over yet. Some buyers will always be interested in buying more. Your next series of emails should attempt to upsell or cross-sell another product or service related to the one the customer recently bought.
What if the customer isn’t interested in the upsell offer? Continuing to make the same offer again and again isn’t the answer. In fact, repeatedly sending the same messages to everyone on your list is a good way to lose subscribers altogether. Instead, you can find out which offers do interest him through segmentation. Automation software like Keap® allows you to divide your customer list into any number of like-minded groups. You can automatically segment customers by sending a survey or analysing their behaviours, like tracking the email links they click. You can then target them with engagement and ascension emails that are more relevant to their interests.
At some point, your customer might go dark: no more email opens, clicks, or purchases. If you give up, you may be leaving money on the table. Using automation software, you can target contacts who haven’t engaged with your emails within a certain time frame by sending a discount or special offer to win back their business. Then, the email machine starts up all over again.
In a world where almost everyone gets too much email, email marketing remains the most effective tactic for acquiring, converting, and retaining customers—but only when done right. And that starts with your welcome email. When you gain a new email subscriber—someone who willingly surrendered their email address to your company—they deserve a warm welcome. Welcome emails are better opened and better-read than any other marketing emails your company will send. They bridge the gap between collecting leads and converting them to customers, allowing you to introduce your business and educate them about your offerings. When you send an effective welcome email, you start a relationship with your subscribers that can last for many more emails—and sales— to come.
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