Email is inarguably a top marketing channel for communicating and connecting with customers and prospects—and converting those prospects into paying customers.

Considering that there are myriads of newsletters to choose from, the exchange of a prospect's email address for your newsletter or free trial subscription is a feat in and of itself. When a prospect makes that choice, making the effort to add her name to your email list, she indicates her interest in your company's services or products.

She might even buy sooner than later—depending on how you welcome her.

Unfortunately, however, 50% of businesses don't send a welcome email—losing the opportunity to connect with and convert prospects.

And the remaining 50% that do, often forget that first impressions count. The result? An automated welcome email lacking in personality and warmth. More on this later. But first, what is a welcome email, and why should you bother sending one?

A welcome email is the first exchange of friendly communication between a business and a new subscriber. It is triggered when new contact joins a business's email list, and it's usually sent within 24 hours of signup.

The welcome email sets the tone for the relationship with your subscribers. The average open rate for welcome emails is 50%, making them 85% more effective, in that sense, than standard newsletters. They are therefore ideal for helping you to get your subscribers to get to know you, like you, and trust you.

They are then more likely to open and click your future emails, buy from them, as well as forward them to others who can then become your prospects.

Here are five elements of welcome emails that'll earn you your subscribers' "know, like, trust" factor and tip the scales in your favor when you're ready to promote your offers.

1. Welcome and thank your subscribers

Imagine you're hosting your neighborhood block party. Within an hour, familiar faces fill your backyard, which is filled with food, chatter, and laughter.

Two new families who've moved to your neighborhood make it to the party. How would you welcome them—beyond opening the door and ushering them in? Would you spend a few minutes getting to know them? Get them drinks? Offer them appetizers? Since you're the host, you'd perform such niceties.

Your subscribers are newcomers. They want to feel special and they need attention as soon as they subscribe to your list. So, welcome them and thank them for choosing to hear from you when there are several companies that offer the same services as you.

By doing so, you'll add a personal touch in your first email and make a favorable impression.

Also, congratulate them on their decision to opt in for your lead magnet (whether your newsletter, an e-book, or other collateral). They've taken a tiny albeit important step in their journey to improve their lives or business—with the help of your lead magnet. They deserve a congratulatory pat on the back.

2. Reaffirm the reason they signed up for your lead magnet

Here's where you unpack the real motivations behind the signup.That single action taken by your subscribers gives you a hint of the pain they're in, an insight into where they are on their journey and what they expect from you.

Here's a three-pronged approach to reaffirm their choice and build mutual commitment:

  • Connect with them on an emotional level, and reflect back to them what they feel. You might, to an audience of copywriters, say something like this: "If you're staring at a blank screen, frustrated because you don't know how to write sales copy and you delete the few words you've typed within the last hour—you're not alone."
  • Emphasize that they shouldn't have to deal with the pain and frustrations they've endured for so long.
  • Point out that the desired outcome they seek is available to them through you—your content and eventually your paid solutions.

3. Demonstrate leadership and authority

We've established that your subscriber is in some pain when she opts in to your list. She's pinning her hopes on your lead magnet to assuage some of that pain and help her pivot into problem-solving mode.

She wants to place her trust in you to deliver the solution. So, it's time to kick modesty to the curb, throw some credibility bombs, and position yourself as a subject-matter expert.

Here's how you can prove why you're the real deal:

  • Name the publications, podcasts, or shows you've been featured or interviewed on about your expertise.
  • Mention that the strategies included in your lead magnet are ones your clients have used to get results.
  • If your book was featured on an Amazon bestseller list, mention it—so long as it's relevant to their concerns, of course.

Use this tactic sparingly, however; don't make the whole email about how awesome you are. The focus is still your subscriber.

Strike a balance between credibility and relatability.

4. Set expectations

What should your subscribers do after you've delivered the opt-in? What's the next logical step? How often can they expect to hear from you? How can they learn more about you, your products, your services?

Anticipate your subscribers' questions and set expectations by providing clarity in your welcome email.

A typical welcome sequence for new subscribers is composed of 4-5 emails; the first email sets the stage for what to expect in the subsequent emails.

5. Get social

You probably want to stay connected with and to engage your subscribers outside of email, too. So invite them to follow you on Instagram or connect with you on LinkedIn. You can include social media share buttons in your welcome email, encouraging subscribers to share your email list with their friends and networks.

* * *

A well-crafted welcome email gives you an opportunity to connect with your subscribers on an emotional level and inspire confidence in your brand.

Your list is an invaluable resource for you, so it's important to set the tone early in your relationship with subscribers. The more you nurture them, build trust, and offer value, the likelier they are to buy from you.

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How to Write a Welcome Email Series That Wins Hearts and Wallets

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image of Amisha Shrimanker

Amisha Shrimanker is a conversion copywriter who specializes in sales copy for online product launches.

LinkedIn: Amisha Shrimanker