TL;DR: Sending welcome emails to your new prospects helps you make a great first impression by introducing yourself, saying thank you, or offering a special promotion.
Do you know that not having ‘welcome series’ emails essentially mean worsening the customer onboarding process and decreasing the conversion rate for your business? Learn how to attract, engage, and delight your audience with WEBO Digital’s guidelines on welcome emails.
What’s A Welcome Email?
You’ve heard about the importance of making first impressions memorable all your life. The same applies to email marketing as well — as you need to deliver the right message at the right time. However, unlike other emails (a promotional or newsletter email), welcome emails are different and more crucial to your company’s success. So the question is — what’s a welcome email?
A welcome email is the first email communication your company has with your prospect. As a company, you want to thank them for being interested in your brand and tell them your brand’s story. Doing so ensures that you engage your audience better and help them with the onboarding process. Also, you make them feel valued and at home.
In other words, a welcome email is like a gentle handshake or a friendly smile. Right off the bat, you get a chance to extend your congratulations and welcome your new subscribers into the fold. Later, as a part of the welcome email series, you can send educational videos, toolkits, lead magnets, and special offers with call-to-action buttons without being too pushy or demanding.
By introducing your company’s brand value through its unique characteristics (and eccentricities) in a series of personalised messages, you are paving the way for enticing call-to-action (CTA) buttons and great sales deals later. What’s more interesting is that you don’t even have to send these emails manually — you can, in fact, automate the workflow by using marketing automation platforms such as HubSpot, Pardot, ActiveCampaign, Ontraport, etc., and send 3-5 series of emails automatically for every new potential customer.
Why Are Welcome Emails Crucial?
Let’s look at the stats first and see what stories the data has to tell.
According to Ciceron’s The First Impressions Email Marketing Study, 74% of people expect to receive a welcome email immediately after they subscribe to your company’s newsletter. Thus, timing is critical. Unfortunately, despite the staggering rate of clicks and opens, only a small percentage of companies bother with sending welcome emails to their prospects. The Ciceron study shows that only 39% of brands send welcome emails — and 41% of them don’t send any emails within the first 48 hours.
No matter how much you spend on your marketing campaigns, including social media promotion and pay-per-click (PPC) options, you are missing out on a great opportunity if you aren’t investing time and effort into sending welcome emails. With a carefully crafted and strategically placed series of emails, you can do many things, from increasing sales to asking for referrals to getting shares on social media.
As the stats point out, welcome emails have great engagement rates. This is where you get to introduce your company and set expectations with your customers. Besides, welcome emails save time — and slowly and gradually build customer loyalty. That’s why consider your welcome email as a huge untapped opportunity and make sure it does more than just confirm the newsletter subscription.
How To Use Welcome Emails [Some Best Practices]
Now that you know what welcome emails are and why they are so essential, we will now provide you with a step-by-step guide that you can use to get the most out of your ‘welcome series’ emails. Here are some of the best practices that we follow at WEBO Digital.
Devise an effective strategy.
An effective strategy goes a long way in shaping the overall success of your email marketing. Before you start automating your welcome emails, think about a few rudimentary ideas like segmenting your audience, the content in your email copy, the duration and frequency of emails, the number of emails in total, and any special offers you want to include.
After that, you might want to think in terms of triple As: acknowledgement, affirmation, and appreciation. First, acknowledge your prospect with a cordial welcome and make them feel right at home with a befitting subject line, email body, and signatures. Then, in the affirmation phase, make your readers feel good for signing up for your product or service — and you can also extend this in the latter emails.
Also, by sending educational content, how-to tutorials, DIY videos, etc., you can make your readers appreciate the effort you are putting in. Thus, with a proper strategy, you can nurture the leads and turn them into reliable customers.
Determine the timeline and frequency of emails.
Finding the proper email stride is critical to the success of any marketing campaign. For example, if you send too many emails, your customers might unsubscribe if they aren’t getting value. On the other hand, if you don’t email them enough, they will forget about you and might choose another company’s product or service.
So during the planning phase, you should have a tentative estimate of the frequency and strategic timing of emails (aka email cadence) you will send. A well-designed cadence improves the overall experience of your customers and helps you gain a competitive advantage. In addition, you can also take the help of email analytics tools to check the click-through or bounce rates and see if you’re going in the right direction.
The good news is that you don’t have to send every email to every customer manually. Instead, you can automate the entire process! For example, with the help of a marketing automation tool, you can create the ‘welcome series’ emails workflow, categorise your audience into many groups, and determine the logic for each workflow.
Personalise each email.
Sending an impersonal and cold welcome email can leave a negative impression on your readers. Thus, to maximise engagement, you must personalise each email you send to every new customer. So what tips and tricks do you need to apply to get the best out of your email campaign?
The essential thing is to include your subscriber’s name in the greetings — but that’s not enough! You can, however, put a unique spin on your customer’s name; for example, by placing the name in a fun, eye-catching colour.
Besides, as a part of the buyer persona research, you should collect some behavioural data of your customers and find out the trends they follow. You can then use more advanced techniques to tailor the email content based on your customer’s location, weather, and gender. You can also customise images and text as per the segmentation of customers into various categories.
Send the first welcome email right away.
As mentioned by the Ciceron study, 41% of brands don’t send a welcome email within the first 48 hours — and 27% send zero emails in the first three weeks. That’s a massive waste of marketing potential to attract more customers with a great first impression.
We recommend sending the first welcome email without delay, i.e., as soon as your customers fill in a form or subscribe to your company newsletter. A delay in the first email is going to harm your brand.
Thus, in your first email, you can do the following: a) thank and congratulate your audience, b) introduce your company and its values, c) deliver any lead magnets or free educational resources (optional) and d) tell people what to expect next. Finally, don’t forget to add some gravitas and encouraging words in your first email — you want to feel them good for being interested in your product or service.
Optimise the subject line.
Optimising the subject line for length, clarity, and attention to detail will ensure a higher click-through rate. However, many companies tend to keep the subject lines simple; for instance, “Welcome to the ABC Company” or “Welcome to the XYZ Network.” Though brief and to the point, these subject lines miss a personal touch, and the chances are that such emails might not be the first ones to get opened.
We recommend personalising and optimising each subject line for its fuller effect. By carefully choosing the subject line, you can evoke emotion in your audience. For example, rather than writing, “Welcome to XYZ Company,” you can try “John – Welcome to Our Exclusive XYZ’s Club” or “Welcome to the XYZ Community, John!” Personalised emails are 26% more likely to be opened and read.
If you are confused about which email subject lines work the best, you can brainstorm and come up with a list of 10 subject lines for each email. Then, you can send them for a brief survey — or perhaps you might want to run a few test cases and see which subject lines perform better via your email analytics tool. In any case, choose the best subject line for each email!
Include the copy that aligns with your company’s values.
When you draft the content for ‘welcome series’ emails, make sure it aligns with your company’s values and goals. Your recipient is at their peak interest, and you want to get their trust. To do so, you can start with storytelling techniques: How did your company start? Why did you start it in the first place? What difficulties and challenges have you had to face and overcome so far?
In addition to aligning the email copy with the company’s values, make sure you write conversationally. Your overall brand voice should be casual and friendly as if you are talking to a friend over a cup of coffee. You may use formal language with technical jargon in your website copy; however, emails are the place to be more human — and build a close and personal relationship with your audience.
Follow the Value, Value, Value, Sell technique.
The ‘welcome series’ email is also the place to showcase the best you have to offer, from great content to practical advice to how-to tutorials. What you’ll be doing is aiming for value-based selling techniques, i.e., sending value-based content multiple times before pitching a selling point.
Instead of pitching the products alone, you will focus on how the product or service will add value to the customer’s life. Focusing on customers’ needs will help them decide based on the product’s potential value. Following the value, value, value, sell means you send at least 2-3 pieces of educational content that gives value, then make a sales pitch for the reader to take advantage of, such as a limited-time sales offer.
Furthermore, we recommend going through Gary Vaynerchuck’s Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World, which follows the principles of value-based selling, for your further research on social media marketing campaigns. We at WEBO Digital refer to Vaynerchuck’s ideas on digital marketing, connecting with customers, and coming up with great social media strategies quite often — and tend to adopt his business philosophy that revolves around the jab jab jab right hook method, an extension of the value, value, value, sell technique.
Welcome Series Automation
By now, you have a good idea of what the best practices for sending welcome emails look like. However, if you are a bit overwhelmed about sending multiple emails to too many new prospects, we’ve got you covered. The answer to your questions resides in automating the email series.
Welcome series automation is effective because it allows you to reach the right customers at the right time. However, remember that when you send welcome emails manually, the timing will be based on what works for your email marketing team, not your new contacts. Therefore, it’d be best if you always respect your customer’s timings and preferences.
Besides, automated emailing allows you to create a multi-stage contact system triggered by a specific event (for example, subscribing to newsletters or filling in a form). The software runs automatically in the background and keeps customers engaged by sending emails on your behalf.
To do so, you can use HubSpot, ActiveCampaign, or MailChimp’s CRM tools for audience management and email marketing automation. In those platforms, you can also use segmentation, behavioural targeting, dynamic content, and A/B testing to drive traffic and boost sales for your business.
Benefits of Having ‘Welcome Email’ Series
By having a strategically placed ‘welcome email’ series, you can increase the credibility of your brand from the start. Just by sending a welcome email, you’re staying ahead of all other businesses that don’t bother sending any emails. You also get a chance to make a great first impression. Think of welcome emails as a firm and friendly digital handshake between you and your prospect.
After you send your first welcome email, you can send another one that contains compelling storytelling for greater engagement in a day or two. Tell your audience who you are, how you created the company, the challenges you faced, and how you overcame them. Your audience will empathise with such stories of failure and success, so take your time and energy into crafting memorable stories.
After welcoming your audience and telling them about your business stories, you also get a chance to showcase your products or services in your ‘welcome series’ emails. You can provide your customers with immediate value by sending educational content — and later pitching the idea of a sale. In addition, you can generate buzz and make your prospects excited about what you offer and what’s more to come! Thus, you can create excitement and suspense at the same time.
In the end, by having an opportunity to educate and sell simultaneously, you will create a better customer experience and enhanced loyalty. In fact, welcome emails are great tools to win customers as the recipients are at the peak of their interest — and they will pay greater attention to what you have to say. Of course, this is the time when the click-through rate escalates, and you should undoubtedly utilise this opportunity. Welcome emails strike the iron when it’s hot, for sure!
Additionally, you can also pitch small incentives to your new customers. Say you can create “members only” or “exclusive” offers and entice your audience to take action. After all, who doesn’t like a little discount or cashback on their first purchase? Apart from that, you can offer them other ways to connect, from social networking sites to online webinars. If you provide free consultations, welcome emails are the perfect way to let your customers know.
Three Sample Welcome Emails & Why They Are So Good
Here are three examples of welcome emails that do it right. We will go through each and tell you why we think they are good.
#1 – MindMeister
MindMeister is an online mind mapping application that helps users visualise, draw, and share their ideas in mind maps via Cloud-based infrastructure.
Their welcome email is both motivational and valuable. By sending links related to the knowledge centre and mind map templates, they make it easier for users to learn how to use their platform.
#2 – HubSpot
HubSpot is an American marketing software products company that specialises in inbound, content, and digital marketing.
Their welcome email is simple yet subtle, i.e., by following a text-based approach, they convey the message to their audience.
Also, they make the subscribers feel at home and help them understand and learn more about marketing via some useful resources.
#3 – Airbnb
Airbnb is a vacation rental company located in California, and its welcome email is an excellent example of things you can do with your first email.
The following is both a confirmation and welcome email. It contains the company’s value proposition in a single sentence and a list of helpful links that customers can browse.
The design is minimal and with an aesthetic appeal.
Though ‘welcome series’ emails are the perfect way to introduce your company’s value to your customers and lure them into buying products and services, the email series can also turn out to be counterintuitive when executed incorrectly. Here are a few considerations to keep in mind when designing your email marketing campaign.
Things Not To Do
Trying to be too pushy in your email copy will have a negative effect on your customers. Nobody likes a self-assertive or overly ambitious email with only one hidden agenda: quickly selling more products.
Going for the hard sell straight away is not a good idea. Remember that the goal initially is not to sell your products or services right away but to make your prospects aware and educated on what your company’s been doing.
Only providing educational content would turn your company into a free booth for information. In the long run, people will only reach out to your company to get some information, not buy any of your products/services.
Using too many or too few images or illustrations might change the aesthetic appeal of your message. However, graphic content will leave a lasting impression on your audience when adequately combined with the written word.
Throwing any feature in your customer’s way will make you lose credibility. With welcome emails, you first want to educate your audience and then pitch the best products/services that they might want to buy. The research you do on buyer personas will undoubtedly help you in this instance.
Sending regular marketing emails instead of welcome series would mean you don’t know the difference between the two. When people get in touch with you for the first time, they expect words of gratitude and encouragement, not some run-of-the-mill marketing email you prepared ages ago! Again, remember the value, value, value, sell proposition when sending welcome emails in a series.
To automate the workflow of ‘welcome series’ emails, you can take help from various marketing automation platforms, from HubSpot to ActiveCampagin to SmartrMail to MailChimp. However, you will follow the following steps when creating welcome email automation, no matter which CRM you choose.
Create the automated flow based on your subscriber’s action.
Configure the trigger settings (for example, when someone joins a list or segment or whenever someone downloads your lead magnet).
Add an email directly under the first instance of the trigger. Then, you can design and edit the email content on the CRM’s email composer.
Segment the emails into separate cohorts if you want to send individual emails to separate prospects (as in people who fill in the form vs. people who download the free ebooks from your company’s website). You can also use conditional splits to separate various audiences.
Add time delays between emails because you want a gap of a day or two between the first and second welcome emails.
You can automate the entire process after adding your third to fifth emails (depending on how many you send) and finalise the time delay. The automated process will kick off when prospects/customers take action on your company’s website.
Welcome emails indeed have the highest open and click-through rates of all the other types of emails you will ever send. So that’s an excellent opportunity for email marketers and companies, yes. Still, it’s also equally challenging to send the right emails at the right time — unless, of course, you have devised a solid strategy, written great content, and automated the workflow.
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