Put Out the Welcome Mat

There are many kinds of transactional and commercial messages that we digital marketers send to our subscribers: A purchase confirmation, an update about new products / services, a newsletter, a daily deals email, what have you. But one of the most important elements of any successful email marketing program is the welcome series.

For any newcomers to email marketing, a welcome series is an email, or series of emails, triggered by a user’s behavior – signing up for your email list or completing a purchase, for example. This can be as simple as a message saying, “Thank you for signing up for our newsletter; stay tuned for the next edition in a week,” or it can be as complex as a multi-part series to inform the subscriber about your organization / brand, your offerings and how the subscriber can benefit from their relationship with you.

An excellent example of a WhatCounts client executing a very well-done welcome series email is ComEd, an energy provider in the Midwest:

There are several reasons you should send welcome emails.

Let’s go through what makes this an effective welcome email:

1. This email is automated, and goes out on a regular basis. Therefore, ComEd is engaging subscribers immediately after the sign-up. Why is this important? Think about it: Your subscribers will never be more engaged with you than they are at that initial point of subscription / opt-in. By immediately communicating with that subscriber, the foundation of the two-way relationship has been established.

2. It establishes clear expectations. ComEd’s welcome email clearly states that subscribers will receive information about energy-related incentives (for example, a discount on a bill for using efficient light bulbs), tips to save energy and possible contests down the road. So, right here at the onset, the subscriber has been informed of the value proposition – and in the day of a crowded inbox, that’s more important than ever. The only suggestion we would have here would be to add a bit about the frequency of the email, so the subscriber knows how often they should be looking for it.

3. It serves as a de facto notification of opt-in. This is the other benefit of any welcome email – someone immediately knows that they have been added to a mailing list, and if it has somehow happened by error (spambot, a friend playing a joke, what have you), they can immediately opt-out of future communications (note the clear and conspicuous unsubscribe link in the above email), instead of having newsletters crowd their inbox and possibly lead to the user hitting that dastardly Spam / Complaint button.

If you are an email marketer and you do not have a welcome series currently implemented, stop what you are doing, do not pass Go and do not collect $200; instead, set up a welcome series incorporating the following elements:

  • Call to action
  • Branding
  • Value proposition
  • Clear expectations
  • Link to preference center (if applicable)
  • General email best practices

If you are a WhatCounts client and need assistance setting up a welcome email in WhatCounts Professional or Publicaster Editions, contact your Services Account Manager or Technical Account Manager today.

Tim Brechlin
Inbound Marketing Manager, WhatCounts


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