You know the old saying, “first impressions are everything.” It generally refers to people, but the same concept can be applied to brands. Welcome emails are the first impression your subscribers (who are also your potential customers) have of your brand. The tone and content of this initial email are essential in starting this relationship out on the right foot.

In part one of our “9 Must-Have Email Campaigns” series, we will dive into the welcome email, why it’s important and how to make it effective for your email campaign strategy.

Why do you need a welcome email?

A welcome email should be sent after a person subscribes to your email list. It accomplishes a number of things; it shows your appreciation, provides you with a number of opportunities to keep them engaged and sets the tone for the relationship with your subscribers and what they can look forward to getting from the relationship.

Not to mention, welcome emails are so commonplace that consumers have come to assume they will receive them after signing up for a list. According to Neil Patel, 74 percent of consumers expect a welcome email.

3 tips for an effective welcome email

To optimize your welcome email campaigns, follow these tips:

1. Give subscribers what they want

Think about what your customers actually want to receive in your first email. Begin with an expression of gratitude, thanking them for signing up and welcoming them. If you’re feeling especially generous, offer a new subscriber discount on their first purchase.

Don’t be overly promotional in your welcome email. Point to relevant and informative content pieces on your website that will help subscribers become more familiar with your brand and its mission and spark interest and curiosity.

Try to get to know subscribers right off the bat. Ask for some additional information, like how they found out about you, which can be helpful in understanding which avenues are garnering the best results in terms of building your subscriber list. Additionally, ask them for their birthday and mailing address, adding an incentive like birthday and mail-only specials. This information provides insights into the age-range and geographies of your target customers.

Lastly, offer additional ways for subscribers to get interact with you so they don’t miss out. Link out to a landing page to download your app, if you have one, as well as to your various social media pages. The more ways people can interact with you, the more engagement you’ll get from them.

2. Set realistic expectations

Subscribers joined your list for a reason. They want information, deals, exclusive perks or all of the above. A vital element of a welcome email is to explain what is to come, including:

      • Types of content
      • Benefits (exclusive offers, early access to products)
      • Frequency of emails

Communicating benefits is essential. List what subscribers are going to get out of your emails, from content downloads and helpful content, to promotions and subscriber-only offers, to surprise gifts. People will start to eagerly await your emails.

There are a couple of things you should be mindful of, however. First, don’t make promises you can’t keep. If you don’t give subscribers special offers, don’t make lead them to believe you do. This only creates friction with your audience and prompts more unsubscribes.

Also, make recipients aware of how often emails will come to avoid any surprises. If you plan on sending frequent emails, give subscribers options between the type of content they want and/or how many emails they prefer to receive in a given period of time. By setting their own preferences, recipients won’t get frustrated by receiving irrelevant content or too many messages from you.

3. Don’t wait to send

When a person subscribes to your email list, you are at the top of their mind. Send your welcome email within the first few hours to capitalize on that awareness. The sooner you send it, the higher open and engagement rates the email will produce. If you wait too long, the person may forget they subscribed at all and unsubscribe, or worse, report you as spam.

The first part of your email a person sees is the subject line; create one for your welcome email they can’t help but click on. If possible, include the subscriber’s name in the subject line and throughout the email to make the messaging more personal. After all, you’re essentially writing a thank-you letter to your new subscriber in hopes of a long-lasting relationship.

Wow your subscribers from the very beginning with an engaging welcome email that fulfills their expectations while leaving them wanting more.

Now that you’ve gotten the welcome email out, what should you do next to keep subscribers engaged? Stay tuned for our next edition of this series, focused on standard promotional email campaigns.

Must-Have Email Campaigns: 2. The Promotional Email

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