It’s well established that first impressions are often made within the first 30 seconds of interactions between people. So, try to harness the same kind of positive momentum in your initial communication with every new contact your inbound marketing program generates. A well-crafted welcome email serves as your first outreach to new prospects and can start off your relationships on the right foot.
Your welcome email doesn’t need to be flashy or fancy to be effective. A simple, straightforward, contextual, and friendly welcome can help set expectations and position your company well to build trust with your contacts.
Create a Plan for Welcome Emails
There’s no single “right” way to create a welcome email. Your best email will vary based on your situation, including the content you have available to share, the sources and ways you’re generating contacts, and your customers’ typical buyer journey.
But, regardless of your industry, the vertical markets you serve, or demographics specific to your contacts, a solid plan can help you deliver a satisfying experience — and that coveted great first impression. When setting up a plan for your welcome email, it helps to follow these best practices:
Determine whether you’ll use one general email for all new contacts or create more tailored, situation-specific emails for the different contacts that you’ll generate. For example, if you’re utilizing double opt-in features in your marketing automation software to have all users confirm their subscription to your content, that may serve as your only welcome email.
Designate an end-goal. Is your intention solely to provide a warm welcome, or do you want to incite new contacts to take action such as the double opt-in or other step? It’s crucial to think this through in advance. For example, a specialized welcome message for new contacts who converted on a form on your site — but who are not yet subscribers to your blog — might encourage them to subscribe and tell them what to expect in terms of subject matter you cover, how often you publish, and the insights they can expect to learn. You could even link to some of your most popular blog posts for them to check out in the meantime.
Best Practices for Crafting Engaging Welcome Emails
Once you’ve established a plan for your approach, it’s time to develop the actual email content. Keep in mind that when you gathered those email addresses, your contacts took the time and entrusted you with their information; now is your opportunity to deliver on their expectations and deepen that first impression with a solid second interaction. Every detail is important, so craft each element with care:
The email subject line is your very first chance to grab contacts’ attention and make them want to open your email. Be honest and straightforward, keep it short and powerful, and consider personalization. If you’re including an offer, be sure to tell them it’s inside.
Most inboxes show a small amount of preview text, so don’t miss the opportunity to further pique interest.
Will the email sender name and reply-to address belong to your company or an individual? If you’re concerned that the sender’s name may not be familiar enough to get contacts to open your email, you could customize the sender to use a first name and company name for the very first send (e.g., “Kelly from Weidert Group”).
The human eye is naturally drawn to graphic elements. Consider a clean, fresh email body graphic that helps you convey your welcome message and establish your branding in the conversation.
You can rely on a graphic to draw readers in, but you need at least a few lines of simple, error-free email body copy to help your message avoid spam filters, and to make it searchable in your contact’s inbox.
What’s your call-to-action, or CTA? Think back to the end goal I mentioned above. What action do you want your contact to take? If your message is a simple welcome, that’s fine. But if you want your contact to access a resource, subscribe to a blog, or check out a specific page on your website, find a convincing way to say so. You’ve planned your content with care; now take the same care to make sure your welcome email leads your contacts toward the next step.
After you’ve sent your welcome email, you should monitor its performance and decide whether it makes sense to re-send a welcome message to any contacts who received, but didn’t open, the first send. This is especially important if you’re including an offer or pointing them toward resources tailored to their circumstances.
If you haven’t already set up nurturing workflows for your email lists, now is the right time to think about how you’ll continue to cultivate engagement between contacts and your content, and encourage interaction with your website through content marketing and strategic use of email marketing campaigns. In essence, these workflows map out the path you’ll encourage contacts to follow.
Start Off the Buyer’s Journey on the Right Foot
Welcome emails are a great way to set a tone and establish expectations from your first interaction with new subscribers and prospects. Done well, they enable you to position your company as a trusted, helpful resource at the right moment, as your contacts begin their buying journey.
Posted by Laura Sheptoski Laura is a detail-oriented consultant and project manager, with a background in public relations, social media engagement, and client content creation. Prior to her time at Weidert Group, Laura managed PR for an industrial services company, and maintains a strong focus on earned media within our inbound marketing programs.