When you’re putting your brand directly in front of customers, first impressions mean a lot. If a customer gives you their email address, they’re giving you permission to share your story with them, so sending a welcome email is a good way to introduce yourself — and perhaps make a sale in the process.
According to email marketing software company Emma, welcome emails achieve an average 50 percent open rate, and customers who receive them show 33 percent more long-term brand engagement. When you combine that with the fact that 75 percent of customers expect to receive a welcome email upon subscription, the decision of whether or not to send one out should be a no-brainer.
Some experts recommend sending a welcome email immediately upon subscription. Gee Ranasinha, founder and CEO of marketing agency Kexino, recommends sending it out anywhere from one to three hours after a customer signs up.
“Whatever timeframe you choose, make sure it’s no longer than 48 hours from sign-up, since that’s the limit when subscribers are likely to be most engaged,” he says.
Subject lines are key to getting subscribers to open any email, and it’s especially important to grab the attention of new subscribers in your welcome email. Ranasinha says to opt for a friendly greeting (if it fits your brand), along with including the subscriber’s name for the extra personal touch — and to increase open rates.
When it comes to the design of effective welcome emails, Bob Phibbs, CEO of The Retail Doctor, recommends simplicity.
“One message, one picture [that is] easily scannable with a link to further information,” he says. “Most try to pack the kitchen sink and wonder why they don’t convert.”
Phibbs also recommends simplicity in the content. His advice? Say thank you, tell them what they’ll get, promise not to spam them and show them how to unsubscribe.
“Being able to find the unsubscribe link doesn’t mean people will be more likely to leave your list; that’s down to the quality of your content,” Ranasinha says. “We’ve found the unsubscribe link acts as a kind of safety net, providing reassurance that it’s easy for them to stop receiving emails if they want.” Providing access to the unsubscribe link is also a legal requirement.
Being part of a company’s email list puts a consumer into an “exclusive club,” Ranasinha says. The subscriber will now be receiving more information than the average customer, likely before the general public. Capitalize on this by tailoring the welcome email’s message to convey the exclusivity and privilege that goes along with being part of this digital list.
“The initial paragraph should be almost congratulatory in tone, commending the recipient on their decision, reiterating the goal of the email series, the benefits to the subscriber, and outlining the sender’s commitment to providing content pertinent to why the subscriber signed up to the email in the first place,” he says.
No matter the content, make sure it’s consistent with your brand’s voice. Ultimately, the welcome email will set the tone for your future interactions with subscribers, so when making a first impression, people should know what to expect. Keep it simple, keep it consistent and keep your promises, Ranasinha says.
“Whether you say you’re going to send out emails every week, every other week or every month, make sure you move heaven and earth to make that happen,” he says. “Customers take you at your word. You’ve made a promise to them. Make sure you stick to it.”
Do’s and Don’ts of Welcome Emails
- Do send the message soon after a person signs up.
- Do express gratitude. A simple “thank you” goes a long way.
- Do consider offering an exclusive discount to new subscribers.
- Don’t be too wordy. Get right to the point.
- Don’t overcomplicate the design.
- Don’t embed videos or too-large files that will slow email client performance.
- Don’t send the email from a “no-reply” address.