July 27, 2011

Top Tips for an Email Welcome Series

by Jim Davidson, Head of Research

Are you looking to move from a welcome email to a welcome series? I have broken out a few top tips that you can use to make the transition from a one time touchpoint to a multiple email welcome series that will kick off the new relationship the right way. It is important to take this crucial introduction one step at a time and not overwhelm the new subscriber with too much too soon. We want to the subscriber to connect with the brand, make their first purchase, and steer them toward long term engagement. You can think of these categories as individual emails or you can combine elements that make sense for your business and your customer.

Welcome

Reinforce Brand: This is your first chance to say hello! It's important to make a good impression with this critical message. Make sure you are using a standard from name and from address that you also use for your standard promotional emails. Include images and copy that reflect your brand and your site experience. This is even more important if your welcome messages are not instantly triggered. A subscriber may not remember signing up for your email program and recalling the experience could lead to fewer spam complaints.

Set Expectations: At this stage you're still introducing yourself to the subscriber. So it's key that you let the subscriber know what they can expect to receive. Staples’ welcome email tells the subscriber what to expect, such as:

  • Frequency - ex. weekly deals
  • Value Proposition - ex. exclusive coupons or discounts
  • Email Expectations - Show them a sample of a typical newsletter (a visual reference for future communications).

This email helps create a sense of anticipation about future messages which can work to drive longer term engagement.  

Staples Welcome Email

Offer Incentive for first purchase: Your welcome email is the first opportunity to convert a new subscriber into a first time buyer! Make sure you are offering an incentive for making their first purchase and test a limited time offer to couple the high engagement level with a sense of urgency.

Educate, Inform and Connect

Other Ways to Connect: Highlight other communication channels where your subscriber can connect to your brand. This is where you really want to focus on asking the subscriber to sign up for Facebook, Twitter, YouTube Channel, and your blog! Give them all of the options and the value of connecting to each channel.

Other Brands & Store Locations: Do you have other brands? Brick & mortar locations? Make sure subscribers have the option to sign up for your sister brands and find their preferred store. While I don’t feel like this is the most visually appealing approach, Old Navy definitely has a comprehensive approach:

Old Navy

Remind and Follow-Up

First Purchase Coupon offer reminder: Bookend the first email in the series by reinforcing urgency and the expiration of the first purchase coupon if it has not been redeemed. You will want to make sure you exclude anyone who has already purchased.

Preference Center / Complete Profile: Do you only collect email address during the opt-in process? Encourage the new subscriber to complete their profile on your site so they receive emails that feature the best offers and products for them.

For many moving from a welcome message to a series, the process may seem daunting. But follow these steps to easily create a unique series for your brand. You should have most if not all of this information readily accessible, it's just a matter of assembling it and scheduling appropriately.

Have you seen any welcome series messages do extremely well? Any messages that you had made improvements on? Share your thoughts below!

Jim Davidson
Manager of Strategic Services at Bronto

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Jim Davidson, Head of Research

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Comments

Submitted by Lauren Hall-Stigerts (not verified) on

Thanks for this insight, Jim! I’d love to see a best practices blog post about welcome emails *after* a customer has signed up and paid for an ongoing service (as opposed to before a purchase is made). How do you retain those customers? How do you hold their interest? What research techniques should you consider when setting up a post-purchase welcome program? Thanks!

Submitted by Jim Davidson on

Hi Lauren. Thanks for the request! Look for an upcoming post featuring welcome email tactics for purchasers and ongoing services.

Thank you for sharing this content. I would like to see case studies or examples of what content works from a welcome email to help build a long term relationship with the subscriber.

Submitted by Jim Davidson on

Hi Dawn!  Thanks for the comment.  We have a few customer success stories highlighting how Bronto customers have implemented and optimized welcome messages.  Check 'em out:
Moda In Pelle
Gander Mountain
Also, check out this webinar I did on "Combating Data Overload." Around the 11-minute mark, I talk about how you can leverage subscription date to engage subscribers.

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