First Impressions: A Marketer’s Guide to the Welcome Email
04th Feb 2020, Author: Dominique Scanlan
Recently, members of the Treefall Marketing + Creative team attended an event hosted by the Kansas City Direct Marketers Association titled The Power In Your Network: Best Practices in Nonprofit Marketing. While in attendance, we gained insight on storytelling for appeals and campaigns, best marketing practices for reaching millennials and women, successful direct mail tactics and email marketing and automation strategies for nonprofits.
What is a Welcome
Email and When Should it be Sent?
Welcome emails are typically sent after a customer makes a purchase, or a potential customer signs up for your newsletter or email updates. The purpose of a welcome email is to confirm purchase or sign up, thank the individual for taking a specific action and to offer some sort of value, whether that be through related products, articles or blog posts on your company page or more information about your company and mission.
Welcome emails should ideally be automated to send immediately after purchase or sign up. Customers have come to expect an immediate welcome email, and studies have shown that if a welcome email is sent, individuals are significantly more likely to read future emails.
Welcome email formatting depends on your brand identity as well as the content to be conveyed. Many marketers prefer image-heavy emails because they are visually appealing, but studies have shown that simple email templates receive more conversions.
1. Conversational content. The tone should match that of a first-time meeting.
2. Personal, non-pushy approach. Now is not the time to ask the consumer to purchase another product, donate to your charity or share your information.
3. Cut to the chase. Consumers are constantly receiving email and do not have time to read a long, drawn-out message, especially if it does not offer value.
4. Appreciative tone. The recipient signed up for your news updates or bought your product. Thank them. It pays off.
Want to see these four tenets in practice? Check out the
below example from Apple.
When a customer purchases an iPhone X, they receive this email. The email congratulates the customer on their purchase and gives them helpful information regarding their new phone. The email isn’t pushing them to buy more products from Apple. It’s simple, easy to read and informative.
Another big takeaway from Sarah Theurer’s presentation is the value of humanizing email marketing. Below are several tactics mentioned during the presentation that would be beneficial to test in your next marketing campaign.
In your email, use a real name as the sender email. [Name] from [Company Name] has been shown to get more opens than [Company Name].
Using “Hi [First Name]” lead to a 270% increase in clicks in a study conducted by NextAfter.
Strip down your templates. This study resulted in an 80% increase in click-through rate when a simpler design was A/B tested.
Make the look and tone of the email more personal. In this study, stripping the logo, call to action button and marketing language for a more personal email resulted in 145.5% increase in conversion rate.
All of these tactics should be tested with your audience. No audience and market segment are identical and results may not duplicate for your audience.
When a customer buys your product or signs up for a
newsletter, you should receive data, including first and last name. If you have
access to this information, why not use it to create a more personal
experience? As mentioned above, personalization with a simple “Hi [Insert
Name]” can lead to a 270% increase in clickthrough rates.
Don’t stop at name personalization. It’s also important to
personalize your emails to your customer’s location in the buyer’s journey. If
they’ve bought a product, introducing them to similar products or showcasing
helpful tips for their recent purchase is a great place to start.
Here’s a great example of a welcome email sent by National Geographic. While they don’t personalize by name, they do invite the individual to explore different areas of their website, ultimately inviting the individual to segment themselves, allowing future emails to provide the reader with information they’ll find most valuable.
By selecting which option best describes them, the audience is self-segmenting. The individual then gets a more personalized email experience, which can then lead to higher conversion rates.
So where do welcome emails fit in the buyer’s journey? When we talk about the four stages of the buyer’s journey – Attract, Convert, Close and Delight – email plays a role in the Convert, Close and Delight segments of the journey. Potential customers who are signing up for a newsletter, or news alerts, from your company fall into the Convert Stage. They haven’t bought a product yet, but they are interested in learning more about your brand and products. Customers who have just purchased a product would enter the Close Stage. After they’ve purchased the product, the welcome email is designed to remind them of what other value they can receive from your company. Continued email marketing in the Delight Stage allows customers to further develop their relationship with your company through new product alerts, surveys, promotions and more.
Every component of the buyer’s journey should complement the next. There are several ways to increase cross-promotion between different channels, helping guide the individual along the buyer’s journey. One example is utilizing Facebook Lead Ads to drive email opt-in opportunities like newsletters, new alerts and surveys.
Another great tip is to take advantage of Facebook’s ability
to target a lookalike
target audience. This can be done by uploading your current email list to Facebook,
and the platform will then target ads to reach individuals who behave similarly
to your current audience. This is a great way to expand your reach while still
Cross-promotion can go both ways. When someone has opted to unsubscribe from your email list, it’s important to not completely lose connection with the individual. One way to do this is by promoting social media follows in your unsubscribe email, as shown below by Lucky Peach.
While welcome emails are essential to your buyer’s journey, they do not operate in a silo. Utilize cross-promotion to increase campaign effectiveness.
Welcome emails should be automated, so the individual receives the email immediately after they purchase your product or sign up for your news alert. Developing a welcome series based on acquisition source and automating emails with a cadence that works for your audience will enhance your conversions. Welcome and subsequent emails can then be planned out up to a full year in advance, cutting down on time and workload.
It’s important to remember that while you can automate a
full year of email content, it’s essential to review occasionally to ensure all
content is relevant to your conversion goals.
Check out this great example of a welcome email by Pretty
After Pretty Little Things sends the above welcome email, a follow-up automated email could feature products the individual viewed on the site, newly stocked items or discount alerts.
Putting it Together
Email marketing is an essential tool in the marketer’s toolbox, as the welcome email targets individuals in the Convert and Close Stage of the buyer’s journey. Welcome emails set the tone for all other email communications, and when an individual receives a welcome email, they are significantly more likely to read subsequent emails from that company.
The welcome email is like the start to a great conversation.
It should be informative, to the point and personalized. An email template does
not have to be incredibly stylized to gain higher conversions but should
include personalization whenever possible.
Cross-promotion can, and should, be practiced between
channels to effectively communicate to your audience, and automation is a great
tool to utilize especially when sending welcome emails.
Always test subject lines, personalization, messaging and
link vs. buttons to find what works best for your audience. While studies may
find that one approach works for their test audience, every audience is
different and responds differently to different modes.
Treefall Marketing + Creative works with our clients to deliver a targeted email strategy, designed with engaging imagery and impactful storytelling. Want to learn more about how our email marketing services can help you convert leads into customers? Click here!