How to create a welcome email series, part 3 of 4

This week, we’re looking at welcome email series using the 1898 work of St. Elmo Louis’ venerable marketing framework, AIDA. As a reminder, AIDA stands for:

  • Attention: capture the attention of your audience by any reasonable means
  • Interest: keep people compelled to pay attention by holding their interest in your product or service.
  • Desire: incite desire to want your product or service.
  • Action: get your audience to take action and buy.

Step 3 of Louis’ series is about desire: how do you build desire so that people want what you have?

Ultimately desire is about offering a solution to a problem that someone has.


The bigger the problem, the more desire someone will have for a solution to solve the problem. If you know what problems your prospective customers face, you can create a compelling third message in your welcome series that highlights this. There’s a great structure created by veteran marketer Dan Kennedy that fits the bill, the P/A/GS/SS, which stands for:

  • Problem: state the problem, usually in the form of a question. For example, are you struggling with finding the ROI of your email marketing program? Stating the problem as a question creates a nonverbal engagement that either gets the reader to agree or disagree, and then either keep reading or stop reading. Generally speaking, the problem you start with should be something that’s important but very common.
  • Agitation: once you’ve stated the problem, create agitation by talking about the likely consequences of the problem. For example, if you’re struggling with email marketing ROI, then the consequences are wasting budget on some email marketing while missing opportunities on other kinds of email marketing that could be more effective if you knew what was really working.
  • General Solution: you’ve asked the problem and created tension with agitation, so now you propose a way out of the tension. In our example, the solution is getting a handle on your email marketing ROI with an effective service provider that can help you find and grow your email marketing ROI.
  • Specific Solution: now that you’ve proposed a general solution, you recommend your product or service as the specific solution and provide some details. For example, WhatCounts can help you find and grow your email marketing ROI with industry-standard tools like Google Analytics and our email marketing platforms.

If you do an excellent job of building desire, compelling someone to take action will not be difficult; in fact, you may find that the fourth email in the series may be unnecessary. We’ll cover that in the next post on Monday just to be safe.

Christopher S. Penn
Director of Inbound Marketing, WhatCounts


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