Email marketing: Tips for welcome emails

Email marketers are constantly evolving and adapting to a changing digital landscape. During 2010 many tested the efficiency of send welcome emails. (The web was a-buzz with statistics, findings and articles on welcome emails.) The results were impressive, and we believe it’s now safe to say that welcome emails have become a commonly-used tactic in email campaigns.

Welcome emails typically have very high open rates (often up to 50 – 60%); probably because they’re sent at a time when subscribers are interested in communicating with your brand (the minute they sign up to your mailing list). It’s a good point at which to get your relationship with your subscriber off to a good start, and also show them that you plan on engaging them through your email campaign, rather than just sending them the obligatory promotional mailing every once in a while.

The difference between a welcome email and a confirmation email

A confirmation email is an email that’s usually generated and sent automatically when someone’s subscribed to your newsletter. As the name implies, it confirms the subscription. If you follow a double opt-in process, this email will contain a verification link the recipient has to click on. It’s usually just a few lines.

A welcome is a more comprehensive email (like your newsletter) that welcomes the recipient to your campaign. It’s more similar to your newsletter (or other email marketing emails) than a confirmation email.

A few things you can include in your welcome email

Set expectations: Tell your new subscriber what they can typically expect to get from your newsletter; whether it’s tips, industry news, company news, promotions or product updates. Also set a frequency expectation by telling them how often you’re going to be sending them these emails.

They want to communicate: People sign up to your newsletter because they want you to communicate with them. Unfortunately, when they reply to your bulk email send, you might not pick up the email among all the other replies in your inbox. Provide all your basic contact info in your welcome email – everything from your general admin email address to your phone number and social accounts.

Privacy assurance: With spammers hard at work everywhere people can be reluctant about handing over their email address. Provide them with assurance – tell them exactly what you’ll be using their email address for and that you won’t hand it out to any third parties.

Show them what they’ve missed: Provide a link to your newsletter archive so that they can get an idea of what your past newsletters have looked like and read up on interesting info they’ve missed out on in previous sends.

An option to unsubscribe: If they don’t like your newsletters, they will unsubscribe eventually. So be honest and up front about what they can expect from future mailings, and give them the option to unsubscribe immediately if they don’t like the sound of it.

Include a friendly reminder: Remind your subscribers to add you to their address book or whitelist your email address. Don’t risk your emails landing in the spam folder!

Don’t forget to say “thank you”!

A few tips for sending welcome emails:

• Send your welcome emails as soon as possible after the signup.

• If you have an automated confirmation email you don’t want to change, send your welcome email immediately after the recipient has clicked on the verification link in the confirmation email. It’s worth testing what works best for your mailing list – sending a combined confirmation and welcome email, or sending the two separately.

• Some email marketers have had success with sending a series of welcome emails. If you try that, be sure to stipulate in your confirmation email (or in your first welcome email) that you will be sending the recipient a series of welcome messages and tell them how they’ll benefit from reading these welcome emails.

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