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December 11, 2008  

"A good opt-in procedure lays the foundation for a strong email program," writes Loren McDonald in an article at MarketingProfs, "but a well-thought-out series of welcome emails will help turn your newcomer into a long-term subscriber." A proper welcome program speeds up engagement, notes McDonald, and reduces list churn "because you reach out to your new subscribers and establish inbox recognition while the opt-in is still fresh in their minds." He recommends a program with these elements:

A transparent opt-in process. Begin at your subscription page with a clear explanation of the topics, frequency and formats your subscribers can expect. "The double opt-in confirmation email is not a welcome message," he says, "but it can explain that a special message welcoming the new subscriber will come next."

A multipurpose welcome message. In addition to general pleasantries, use this for purposes like affirming your company's value proposition and inviting the recipient to visit your site for a purchase or to complete a profile.

A series of follow-up messages. Ease new subscribers into the relationship with "drip" emails that minimize inattention and attrition.

"[I]f new subscribers don't act on any of the emails in your welcome series," says McDonald, "that inactivity can trigger a new track of emails that offer help, advice or surveys to uncover problems."

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