Welcome! Easy to say—hard to do well. The first email you send to new subscribers, customers, or clients is a high-stakes, high-impact moment for your business. Someone has invited you into his or her inbox—that sacred, crowded space—and now, you have to earn your right to stay there (lest you be cast into the trash or unsubscribed for all eternity).
All hyperbole aside—the average open rate for welcome emails is about as good as it gets, according to Smart Insights. Meaning that the welcome email is the email your subscribers are most likely to read. (A little surprising, right?) Not to mention that most welcome emails are super short—sometimes just 150 words or less. Still, that’s enough words to make an impact.
In this article, we’ll share with you proven marketing tips to make your welcome email clickable and convince readers to re-engage with you in the future. We’ll also review real-life examples of companies that are doing it well so that your small business can benefit from successful strategies.
Did you entice new subscribers with a downloadable lead magnet? If you did, a welcome email is a perfect opportunity to deliver on that promise. If you don’t, you’ll risk losing subscriber trust.
If you’re not familiar with lead magnets, they’re essentially an incentive that you offer to potential customers or clients in exchange for their contact information. The incentive could be an eBook, video, white paper, discount, brochure, newsletter, etc.
So, if you promised any of those, deliver on that promise in your welcome email. Don’t make your subscribers wait around for a second email.
Check out how Ralph Lauren and Brighton expertly deliver on their promise.
A welcome email is also the first chance to show subscribers who you are and make your emails instantly recognizable to them. They receive A LOT of emails every day. It’s important to make your welcome email unique and show that you have something special to offer.
The additional benefit of that is that your subscribers will come to recognize your distinct look and will automatically know what to look for in future emails.
Additionally, when you are setting up a welcome email, you need to ensure that the subscriber knows exactly who is talking to them. If your name is all over your site, you need to use that same name to send emails. Even if it isn’t, you should use a real name to build a connection on a personal level.
Stats also support this approach as according to Litmus, 42 percent of people look at the sender's name first before opening an email.
See how Nintendo and InVision add brand identity? They both use their unique branding in welcome emails – a good way for new subscribers to recognize their emails instantly.
Personalization goes beyond using your name or a subscriber’s name. You need to integrate subscriber data into your welcome email.
For example, if your lead magnet form had fields for their interests, you can use their selections in the second email. When a subscriber sees that you know what they like, they will look forward to your emails.
If you don’t have data to personalize your welcome emails, you can use the welcome email to gather more information about subscriber preferences.
A good way to deliver a personalized email with the lead magnet you promised is via video. Check out how Monday.com made their welcome email personalized using video.
If you’re not comfortable with adding videos to your emails, there are other options. For example, here at Designrr, we show a short explainer video that loads after someone downloads a lead magnet. You can think of this like something that we use instead of showing a bland “Success!” message.
It goes without saying that the video you show should be relevant to the lead magnet you are offering. In our case, we are offering visitors a post-converted to an Ebook using Designrr so they see how it looks. The video that loads is a short tutorial that shows how we actually created that Ebook and gives us a chance to display its capabilities to our newest subscribers.
Highlight your social media channels
New subscribers are curious and interested in your brand. Take advantage of that by inviting them to connect with you on social media.
Indeed, there are two key ways to use email marketing and social media marketing together: Social media is mostly used by brands to grow their subscriber lists while email is used to promote sharing on social media and to grow their social fan base. You should aim to do the same, and there’s no better email to promote your social channels with than the welcome email.
A welcome email and an invite to view your content on social media is an opportunity for new subscribers to learn more about you and the other side of your brand.
Check out this CB2 welcome email to see what we’re talking about.
Overall, social media + email marketing = stronger relationships.
Write a catchy subject line
It’s worth spending time to get your subject line perfect as it’s the first opportunity you have to let your personality shine through and to be clear that the email is a welcome message.
A Litmus stat shows that 34 percent of people look at the email subject line first, which means it’s the second most important part of a welcome email.
The ideal subject line should have a welcome greeting followed by something special. The something special part of the subject line could be an incentive.
You can also personalize the email subject line. Yes Lifecycle Marketing reports that personalization in an email subject line boosts email open rates by 50 percent.
Need a couple of ideas on how to craft the perfect welcome email subject line? How about you ask a question that is related to your lead magnet? You can also put a teaser on what happened next. For example, “Welcome to Leadpages! Here's what’s next.”
The bottom line is that if you create an enticing welcome email subject line, you’ll get more subscribers opening and reading your emails.
Sphero does welcome email subject lines really well. Refer to this example for inspiration:
We’ve covered everything you can do right to craft perfect welcome emails, so let’s cover the mistakes you should avoid when it comes to welcome emails. The items in this bulleted list may sound like a no-brainer but these small mistakes can create major problems down the line.
Avoid sending more than one welcome email. Doing so will often result in many unsubscribes or land you in spam folders.
Long emails A welcome email should be about 150 words. Nobody will stop you from testing longer emails but you better make sure you can keep the readers interested until the end of the email, or at least until they reach your CTA.
Not having a specific sender. This will put you in the spam folder or result in unsubscribes. People like emails from real humans so add a name to make it more personal.
Having many CTAs. Having too make calls-to-action will make your welcome email seem too sales-y. Remember: the welcome email is all about the subscriber, not you.
Bad design. As mentioned earlier, your email needs a good and distinct design that subscribers will remember you by. So, if you have bad design and poor branding, it is likely that your subscribers won’t be excited about your future offers which could negatively affect your CTR.
Not including social media channels You lose an opportunity for more engagement and leads if you don’t include your social channels in your welcome email.
Making it all about you. This point speaks for itself. The welcome email is all about the subscriber. For instance, instead of saying you have great content, describe how your great content will make their life a little easier.
Ready to write the most important email you’ll (probably) ever write?
Your welcome email is the first step to connecting with new members of your audience and sets the tone for your relationship. That means that you need to go the extra mile in your welcome email to truly connect with new subscribers and set the tone for your mutually beneficial relationship.
It’s important to deliver on your promises; to allow them to get to know you on their own terms, and to let your personality shine through.
Meet the author
Paul Bannister Founder & CEO
Paul Bannister is the founder and CEO of Designrr, an online tool that creates beautiful ebooks & lead magnets from web pages, word documents, videos, and podcasts. Paul has been building software companies for over 20 years. Prior to 2011, he helped build and sell enterprise SaaS software to companies such as Nike, Statestreet Bank, Adidas, Carrefour, and DeutschePost – which are still in use today. He was the CTO for 3 SaaS start-ups, the last of which sold to Taleo Inc for $38 million in 2011.