Welcome email series: 9 tips on how to engage new leads

Email marketing continues to be an important part of any digital strategy, but how are you welcoming your new subscribers?

About 74 percent of users expect to receive a welcome email immediately after they subscribe, according to Invesp, while only 57.7% of brands actually send a welcome email to new subscribers.

When it comes to welcome emails, why send one when you can send a series?

A welcome email series is a group of emails that are sent to your subscribers as soon as they sign up. It gives you the chance to make the best first impression possible.

In a welcome email series, you can:

  • Introduce yourself
  • Share your brand story
  • Reinforce the benefits of being a subscriber
  • Explain why you differ from your competitors
  • Set expectations for what subscribers can expect from you
  • Segment your new subscribers for customized messaging

New subscribers are interested now. You have to jump on that opportunity or risk losing a potential sale.

On average, welcome emails generate up to 320 percent more revenue per email than other promotional emails.

Here are nine tips on how to create an effective welcome email series that engages your new subscribers.

Gather more subscriber data for customized targeting

There is simply no denying: The more you know about your subscribers, the more power you have to better engage them. 

Every business is different in what information they have and how they store it. (Refresh yourself on the biggest data privacy regulations if you’re not familiar.)

However, if you’re starting with nothing more than email addresses, consider sending out a survey about your subscribers’ interests at the very least. Perhaps you can have subscriber profiles that they can fill out. 

If you do have more information (like age, gender, location, etc.), use that to your advantage. 

How would you welcome a new Millennial subscriber? Would that differ from how you would greet a new Baby Boomer subscriber? Male subscribers versus female subscribers?

If you can segment your brand new subscribers, you can really drill into the messaging that would best engage and resonate with each group.

The cleaner your subject line the better

Email subject lines can be a bit more art than science in a lot of ways, but remember that while a new subscriber might be more interested in you at first, you’re still competing with any number of other emails in his or her inbox (but hopefully not spam!).

You want to be clear but also engaging. Find out more about how you can get your email seen.

Show gratitude

Perhaps a little cliche or maybe more along the lines of common sense, saying “thank you” in your welcome email series is always important.

It’s an easy way to show that you value your new subscriber, and it also if your first opportunity to share your brand voice.

How you thank a new subscriber can be heartfelt or humorous, but it still plays into who you are as a brand and optimizing this subscriber’s first impression of you.

Remember what you promised

Your subscribers signed up for a reason. Whether you promised behind-the-scenes content, discounts, advance previews, so on, the most important thing is that you actually deliver that.

It’s helpful to reiterate those promises (and actually fulfill even just one of them) in your welcome email series. Just don’t make your subscribers wait too long, or else, you could lose them.

Don’t forget a call-to-action

In any given email, what do you want the recipient to do? Be specific and clear with your call-to-action (CTA).

This also can involve an offer to help entice. Welcome emails that contain an offer can boost revenue by 30 percent per email compared to welcome emails with no offer.

However, the CTA itself can be as simple as asking a subscriber to complete his or her profile for more customized content. It doesn’t always have to be tied to a purchase.

Outline your email chronology

This sounds more complicated than it is. Typically, five to seven emails are the recommended amount for a welcome series. What should be the point of each of these emails? What’s your ultimate goal by the end of the series?

Perhaps you want subscribers to purchase a product, give you a testimonial or share your content with others. Setting your goal should help set the stage for your individual emails, but here are a few suggestions to consider with each:

  • First email: You’ll want to thank them for subscribing and introduce them to your brand and what you’re all about. Resist the temptation to write a long essay-like description of your business. Keep it brief. What can they expect from you? How frequent are your emails, and what type of content do you send? Ask them to whitelist your emails, direct them to follow your social media accounts and engage them with a question.
  • Second email: Show your value and help them achieve a quick win, which is something specific that addresses a pain point of your target audience. This can also vary greatly depending on the industry you’re in.
  • Third email: You’ll want to motivate and inspire your new subscribers. Tell them about your values and perspectives. Did you struggle with something when you were launching your brand or business? Tell them your story and include a specific takeaway. Again, think through the pain points of your subscribers. Then appeal to fixing them.
  • Fourth email: You can build trust by sending useful resources or even a free gift. Perhaps there’s an article you can point them to with useful guidance and resources. A free gift they can claim can definitely be engaging. The key is that you’re building a bond with subscribers.
  • Fifth email: You can send a subtle nudge in the direction of your product or service. It’s time for the soft pitch, where you could share something like a preview of your product or service in an engaging way or highlight any testimonials you have.
  • Sixth email: You can really dig in and directly ask for the sale. It’s a good idea to make this a time-sensitive offer, something they won’t get if they don’t act soon.
  • Seventh email: This is an optional email where you can ask for feedback and/or what your new subscribers would like to see next.

A key factor here also is timing. What you say in series that sends an email once a week may differ from a series that sends the first few emails the first few days.

A general rule of thumb for timing is to send an email on Day 1, Day 3 and Day 7, and then you can go weekly.

Design-wise, you’ll want the look of your emails to reflect your brand but also be eye-catching. Check out these examples for inspiration.

Set up your automated series

Emails obviously don’t create and send themselves. DailyStory offers several features that can enable automatic, targeted welcome emails in a series that you can update anytime.

Consider your other email campaigns

You likely have other emails sending out to your existing subscribers that could overlap with your new subscribers’ series of welcome emails.

Consider segmenting your newest subscribers and excluding them whatever regular emails you don’t want to blow up their inbox with.

Measure your results

At the end of the day, you don’t know if your welcome email series is working until you dig into the performance metrics.

Look at open rates, click rates and click-to-open rates (CTOR) and compare with your regular emails to see what’s working and what’s not. Also, keep an eye on your unsubscribe numbers. If new subscribers are opting out before the welcome series is even over, then some tweaking is needed.

The most important takeaway when it comes to a welcome email series is that you at least have a thoughtful single welcome email for new subscribers. However, if you can take the time to strategize an entire series (even if only with a few emails rather than the recommended five to seven), you can really seize the opportunity to transform your new, interested subscribers into longtime loyal customers.