Everything about welcome emails: a guide

“You never get a second chance to make a first impression.”

As soon as a prospect leaves their information, reaching out to them and welcoming them to your brand can be a deal-breaker. You have to strike the iron while it’s hot; otherwise, the prospects will lose interest. The best way to create a fantastic first impression is with a well-thought-out welcome email. 

Welcome emails can generate 320% more revenue than any promotional email, and the open rate is four times more than an average email marketing campaign. Crafting the perfect welcome email and timing it right can change your customer relationships forever. Here’s a guide to learn everything about welcome emails.

What is a welcome email? 

A welcome email is often the first communication you establish with a subscriber or customer. Since it can be sent to onboard subscribers, prospects, or paying customers - we will refer to them collectively as subscribers in this guide. 

Think of it as meeting someone for the first time. You introduce yourself, interact with them, and put your best foot forward. A welcome email does much of the same, with the bonus of increasing customer retention and revenue. Every brand must design a welcome email template that works and automate it to reach your subscribers’ inbox as soon as they’ve signed up with you. 

Since the subscriber initiates them, welcome emails are transactional emails sent via email automation. With an open rate of more than 84%, welcome emails are the perfect way to connect with new prospects.

Why should you send welcome emails?

Email automation for welcome emails might seem like a clear plan of action for every brand, but only 50% of brands use them. By automating your welcome emails, you have a competitive edge and an opportunity to introduce yourself and your brand, add promos, set expectations, and more. Here are a few benefits of automated welcome emails:

Establish brand credibility

In most cases, subscribers are skeptical of new brands and don’t trust them, and for a good reason. During the first few interactions with the contact, you have to reassure them that they can trust you by being transparent. A friendly and timely hello from your brand, while thanking subscribers for joining your product/email list is the first step in cementing your relationship with them.

Nurture your leads

Having welcome emails with your marketing automation software as part of your email marketing strategy can help in lead nurturing. By educating subscribers about your product/offering from the first email, you can nudge them to go further in their journey by offering discounts, promos, free trials, guides to use the product, etc., and sustain their interest in your brand. You can set up a proper lead nurturing drip campaign to be triggered after your first email.

Strengthen engagement with storytelling

Just because welcome emails are transactional in nature, doesn’t mean they can’t be fun. You can create a stellar welcome email and use it to tell your brand’s story, give recipients a peek into what makes your product or service so outstanding, add a video explaining your journey so far, or even a guide on how to get started. Storytelling is a powerful tool to keep subscribers engaged.

Automatically segment your subscribers

A welcome email can segment your subscribers from the beginning, and help you maintain accurate data. When you send your welcome email, you give subscribers the option to manage their preferences and decide what kind of emails they want to receive further. You can add monthly, weekly, bi-weekly, or daily options so that subscribers can choose how often they want to hear from you. 

By setting these in advance in your marketing automation software, subscribers segment themselves, and you can create personalized experiences by catering to their specific needs. 

Start mapping customer journeys effectively

Since welcome emails are most likely your first touchpoint with your customer, it’s easy to track your communication’s impact from the beginning. Do they like your content? Did they open your email? Did they click on the CTA or reply? Did they unsubscribe? If yes, what was the reason? Welcome emails act as the stepping stone that helps with customer journey mapping, and you can encourage subscribers to stay with you for the entire journey and nudge them into purchasing if they haven’t already.

Easier contact onboarding

Welcome emails don’t necessarily need to be a single email. You can also create a welcome email series via drip campaigns. When a contact subscribes for your emails/product for the first time, you can trigger the first email with a friendly hello and introduction. You could then follow this up with two more emails over a week, to give them access to knowledge bases, guides, blogs, and support articles to help them acquaint themselves with your product.

Essential elements to create a stunning welcome email

Now that we’ve discussed the goodness of welcome emails, let’s dive into the essential elements that you must consider while making one!

Trigger email at the perfect timing 

Timing is everything when it comes to effective email marketing. It’s crucial to send a welcome email immediately after customers have subscribed because 74.4% of customers expect a welcome email with their continued interest in your brand. You need to perfectly time a welcome email. It’s the perfect opportunity to increase your engagement or tempt recipients with a little offer. If they’re keen, they might just make their first purchase using the offer you provided. Keeping the interest sustained is important, so if there’s a delay in sending the welcome email, it’ll be a classic case of ‘out of sight, out of mind.’ You can opt for an email marketing software that triggers your welcome emails as soon as you have a new subscriber with high email deliverability

Look at this welcome email from Spotify Design - an interdisciplinary product design community. As soon as you sign up to receive design updates to your inbox, Spotify Design triggers this fantastic email.  It sets expectations for the recipients and emphasizes on how convenient it is to unsubscribe, making subscribers feel comfortable. (Source)

Craft a clear subject line

Email subject lines can be fun introductions and can be the deal-breaker. Without a good subject line, it’s highly unlikely that a recipient will open the email. Your subject line must be clear and precise, so your subscribers open it without second thoughts. To make sure it’s straight to the point, marketers prefer to use the word “welcome” in the subject line to avoid all confusion. 

Here’s an example of the email subject line for a LinkedIn premium welcome email. It’s clear and to the point. The subject line also says, ‘Let’s get started,’ which indicates that the mail contains the features available to premium users and what they can achieve using them.

Thank your new subscriber

When your new subscribers have trusted you with their email ID and decided to let you into their inbox, it’s nice to say thanks. A simple thanks in welcome emails is a way of appreciating your subscribers for trusting you and adds a human touch to your automated emails. Gratitude fuels positive feelings, so by saying thanks, you have a positive impact on the mind-set of your subscribers and helps build brand loyalty. This is an email from Slides that’s clear in its appreciation for its subscriber and gives them details on what they can achieve using their platform. (Source)

Tell them who you are

Your welcome email serves as an introduction to your world. Use this to talk about your brand, what makes your products better than the rest, and show them your brand’s personality. You could probably tell how you started the business or share your vision with them. Make it personal, so it strikes a connection with your subscriber. 

Let’s look at this example by Open Spaces, where they talk about what they believe in, how it led to their business idea, and what they hope to achieve for you (the subscriber). It’s simple, straightforward, and written with a personal touch that feels like someone is personally introducing themselves. (Source)

Set the right expectations

When you’re creating a welcome email,  let your subscribers know what to expect from you. Here are a few things you can define in your welcome email.

Check out this welcome email from BBC. They clearly define their subscriber can expect from the upcoming emails. (Source)

Deliver the incentive you promised

If you offered something as an incentive to get your website visitor to subscribe with you, ensure you deliver what you promised. These incentives are called lead magnets and are a great way to increase your subscriber rate. Deliver what you promised to make sure you don’t lose credibility.

Here’s what a lead magnet looks like. You could offer a discount, ebook, checklist, or even a guide to keep subscribers interested. (Source)

Add a Call to action (CTA)

Every email has an objective. Although welcome emails are just a friendly introduction, it is also used to give offers or create a reputation with the subscribers. Any activity from an email requires a CTA. Here’s an email from Tinder that not only welcomes its new users but also guides them through different sections of the application to make the most of their experience. (Source)

Ask subscribers to add your email to their contact lists

Getting your subscribers to add your email ID to their contacts is the best way to ensure you don’t get marked as spam. This process is called allowing IPs and has an impact on the deliverability of your emails. Don’t merely ask subscribers to add you to their list. You need to create enough value for them never to want to miss your emails.  

Sonos, a brand for home sound systems, adds the following to the footer of every email. So that their subscribers never miss out on any updates, they request the subscribers to add them to their address book. (Source)

Add contact info and links to your social media handles

Strengthen your communication with your subscribers and ask them to join you on your social media platforms. If they like your brand and content enough, they might follow your social media updates too! With every email, give customers a way to contact you, so it doesn’t feel like they’re communicating with a computer. Providing contact information and social media links is an excellent way to improve your relationship. 

Here’s how the social media and contact information looks like in McDonald’s emails. (Source)

Include unsubscribe link

It’s essential to ensure you always give your subscribers the option to end their communication with you. Not only does it help you keep your email list clean, but it is also GDPR compliant. Not putting something like your company address or unsubscribe link can put you at risk of a fine. Brands usually add the unsubscribe CTA at the footer of every email, welcome email, or not. Here’s the unsubscribe link from Google’s email footer.  (Source)

The best welcome email templates

As easy as they might sound, welcome emails are not a one-size-fits-all template that brands can use. There are different templates that you can choose from that suit the goal you want to achieve. Here are a few templates for your inspiration that you can learn a thing or two from!

 

The thank-you welcome email 

If you just want to thank customers for subscribing to your content, do just that in your welcome email. Appreciating every effort your subscriber takes in their journey with you, helps them stay motivated. Here’s an example of a thank you email from Blinkist that shows their gratitude and defines what subscribers can expect. It has a single CTA that takes the recipients to discover more and clarifies when they would receive emails from Blinklist. (Source)

The offer welcome email

An offer email is one where you persuade subscribers with a discount exclusively for them in appreciation of their subscription and is mostly valid only on their first purchase. Sometimes, these offers have a validity period to ensure subscribers take up the offer sooner than later. For example, look at this welcome email from Fleur & Bee that gives its subscribers 20% off on their first purchase. (Source)

The hello + get started welcome email

The most common of all welcome email templates is the hello, and let’s get started email. The goal of the email is usually stated in the subject line. This email template helps subscribers understand what the product or service is, and how to use it.

This example of Indeed gives its subscribers a clear step- by- step guide on what to do next using its platform. It provides its subscribers actionable steps and reading material that aids in the subscribers’ career. (Source)

The video welcome email 

A fun way to introduce your brand and stand out among welcome emails is by using videos or GIFs in yours. With the rising consumption for video content, make use of the open rates of your welcome email and use a video to show off your brand’s personality, or to instruct them on how to use your product or service. Airtable uses a video welcome email template to help its subscribers start using its platform with ease. (Source)

The trial welcome email 

These are emails sent when prospects sign up for a free trial/plan with your brand. Since every customer is on a different journey with your brand, you can’t have a fixed welcome email template for all subscribers. When someone subscribes to your free trial/plan, it helps to mention how long their trial is valid, what you provide in the trial/plan, and how to get started.

Here’s the perfect example of a trial welcome email template by Whereby that provides full information on what their free plan includes, so subscribers are not taken aback when they miss out on something. The email also gives the option to upgrade to a premium plan if the subscriber requires more features. (Source)

Conclusion

Welcome emails are one of the most important emails you’ll send to subscribers. It helps to have a clear goal and strategy while creating your welcome email to ensure you optimize it fully. Figure out what content will work for your subscribers and deliver it to them. Keep in mind the essential elements and inspiration we discussed to increase your email engagement and build a long-lasting relationship with your customers.