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Three Ideas for a Compelling Welcome Email

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The saying is "you never get a second chance to make a first impression," but because of today's flooded inboxes, you barely get a first chance to make a first impression.

That's why sending a welcome email to new subscribers should be a vital part of your email marketing strategy.

Email is a powerful way to build relationships with your customers and members. And a well-timed hello sets the tone from the start, right at the moment when someone shows they're interested in your business.

Feels like a no brainer, right? Then why are so many companies dropping the ball?

Results That Will Surprise You

Think about it—people who sign up for your emails clearly have some interest in your business, and they want to hear what you have to say. So, say something! On average, welcome emails garner a 50% open rate, making them 86% more effective than email newsletters.

Despite the astounding results, only 57.7% of companies greet new subscribers with a welcome note. Welcome messages typically have four times the open rate and five times the click-through rate of other bulk mailings, and they set the scene for long-term engagement. By not sending a welcome email, you're missing out on a key part of email marketing strategy.

Want to go the extra mile without a lot of extra effort? Set up an automated welcome series.

According to recent research, only 1% of businesses in the Internet Retailer Top 500 sends out a series of automated welcome emails. And retailers that do reap the rewards: Businesses sending a series of welcome emails see a 13% increase in revenue compared to the original welcome email.

A welcome series helps you connect with your audience, capture their interest, and set expectations for communication in the future.

Real World Success

Still not convinced? Meet two Emma customers who saw real success with a simple welcome note.

Maggie Whitley, owner of online shop Gussy Sews, knew it was important to let Gussy fans know from the get-go that there was value in signing up for her emails. In addition to sharing regular news, Maggie also sends a welcome email that offers 15% off any online purchase. That single email sees a 79% open rate and a 21% click-through rate, and more importantly, it drives online sales year-round.

The European American Bakery Cafe also packs value into its welcome note by offering new subscribers a $5-off coupon. Additionally, the company sets expectations right off the bat about what customers can expect to receive in their inbox, including exclusive online offers, sneak peeks at new menu items, and invitations to upcoming events. The bakery's welcome email gets a 74% open rate and a 29% click-through rate. It's a sweet deal all around.

Try these ideas for a strategic welcome note.

1. Clever Coupons

It doesn't take a marketing genius to know that customers love coupons, especially when they land in their inbox at just the right moment. Don't underestimate a small but mighty coupon! Even a modest incentive can create substantial results.


For example, Boogie Wipes offers a mere 50-cent coupon in their welcome email and sees an 80% click-through rate. Chinet sends a $1-off coupon in their welcome email, which boasts a 93% click-through rate.

2. Social Savvy

While making introductions, be sure to show your new subscribers all the ways they can connect with your business online.

Adding links to your social sites in a welcome series is a simple yet effective way to integrate your email and social marketing. After all, you know that welcome emails get higher click-through rates than other bulk mailings. Give new subscribers the opportunity to explore your brand on their own and trust that they'll probably do it.

3. Clean Confirmations

Adding a confirmation link to your email can help pave the way for lasting relationships with your subscribers.

People who receive a welcome email show 33% more long-term engagement with a brand. If you want to ensure your subscriber list is spotless, you can continue to communicate with the right folks by creating an opt-in confirmation.

If your organization isn't sending a welcome email (or a welcome series), what are you waiting for? Welcome emails are performing well above other marketing emails, with nine times more transaction rates than other email types.

A welcome email is easy to overlook on your to-do list because it's not "urgent" in the same way your latest news or product is. If you schedule the time to create it this week, however, you can be seeing these same results for your business right away.

You'll need an email marketing partner that can welcome new subscribers automatically—usually with an autoresponder feature.

* * *

Whatever you do, don't miss out on the chance to build better relationships with subscribers who have just signed up for your list. Sometimes, the key to marketing success starts with a simple hello. Or hi. Or howdy-do, if that's how you roll.

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Emily Konouchi is director of content and communications at Emma, an email marketing software and services provider that helps organizations of all sizes get more from their marketing. She is also the director Emma’s communal dishwasher-emptying efforts, but only when she has writer’s block.

Twitter: @emikonouchi

Google+: Emily Konouchi

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  • by Stacey Sat Mar 22, 2014 via web

    Hey Emily. Today I signed up to approx 30 newsletters from eCommerce stores/brands - mainly in the high fashion industry and smaller lesser known labels. While I wasn't keeping a hard count. Most made the experience a really poor, valueless task. Many didn't say thank you, just dropped you back in the home page. Hardly any had a welcome message, and out of the few who did, only one looked thought out. Some of the bigger brands were nailing it with the homepage pop up and really incentivising you to give your email, coupon codes, info on shipping, etc, but on a whole, the experiment taught me this:

    There must be 100s and 1000s of brands out there, keeping their bottom line much lower than it needs to be, because they don't understand, care about, or optimise email marketing.

  • by Jose Argudo Mon Mar 24, 2014 via web

    Well, for me, when I subscribe to someone's blog, or store, or anything I "expect" to receive a welcome email, and for a welcome email I mean something a bit creative, those emails with a single line "you are subscribed, thank you" really doesn't work.

    If i receive one of these, I don't expet much for the next newsletters, marketers should take great care on this part of the process, as it's the first contact with the new subscriber and can be a great difference if this first impression is a positive one.

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