Decoding the Welcome Series

Decoding the Welcome Series

Automated campaigns can help you save time, while boosting engagement, revenue, and brand affinity. In fact, compared to batch-and-blast email campaigns, automated campaigns earned a 74% increase in open rates and a 244% higher click-through rate. Furthermore, it’s not enough to just send one email—sending a series of emails can improve transaction rates by as much as 40% over sending a single email. If you’re relying on one email to do the job, you’re leaving a lot of potential revenue on the table. While there are a multitude of different automated campaigns you can set up for your business, this article is going to focus on one of the most important campaigns—the welcome series.

Now, let’s be honest for a minute—a welcome series is not what you would consider a sexy campaign. It doesn’t use fancy predictive algorithms or artificial intelligence to trigger the campaign (pulling in dynamic content is another story), but it’s a workhorse. Welcome emails are incredibly effective with 320% more revenue, on average, being attributed to them on a per email basis when compared to other promotional emails. I’m going to spend some time today walking through four areas pertaining to a welcome series: benefits, content, where to start, and features of the WhatCounts Automation Campaign Builder.

Benefits of a Welcome Series

There are many benefits of a welcome series. For starters, it’s a timely touchpoint with a newly acquired subscriber. This is your first opportunity to really showcase your brand and educate subscribers about what sets you apart from the competition. Are all of your products made in America? Or made from only sustainably sourced materials? Perhaps you have an amazing return policy or loyalty program. Whatever the reason, this is your chance to shout it from the rooftops and make your subscribers excited to be a part of your community.

There are also a few, less touchy-feely, benefits attributable to a welcome series:

  • Checks validity of the newly acquired email address while protecting your deliverability reputation. That’s right, bounced and undeliverable emails can have a negative impact on your sending reputation. Catching and clearing these email address early can save you some stress down the road.
  • Confirms your subscriber’s opt-in. This doesn’t necessarily have to be a confirmation email where subscribers have to click a link to double opt-in to receiving emails; however, this approach can help cut down on the number of spam reports you receive as subscribers actively engage in saying they want to hear from you. It can also result in a more engaged list. Whether you decided to run with a double opt-in approach or single opt-in—a person subscribes and will immediately receive your first welcome email—this first email gives you an opportunity to thank the subscriber for joining the family and make a lasting first impression.
  • Increase engagement and conversions. Chances are that someone who subscribes is very interested in hearing from you. Meaning, this is your chance to capitalize on that enthusiasm to drive engagement and conversions, while combating attrition and spam or junk complaints.

Having a healthy email list to drive engagement and increase conversions is paramount to creating a healthy pipeline of customers. A Welcome Series is a vehicle for achieving those goals.

Content of a Welcome Series

Here at WhatCounts we like to break up the content to be included in a Welcome Series into four buckets: introduce, reiterate, encourage, personalize.

  • Introduce. This seems like a no-brainer, but you need to make sure that you’re informing new subscribers about your company and what you bring to the table. Make sure you’re clear on what they should expect when it comes to the experience, this will help alleviate any confusion.
  • Reiterate. You’re sending, or should be, a multi-part welcome series. Take advantage of the higher than normal engagement rates that go hand-in-hand with a welcome series and reiterate your company’s value statement and how you compare to your competitors throughout the series. As my history teacher used to say: tell ‘em what you’re going to tell ‘em, tell ‘em, and tell ‘em what you told ‘em.
  • Encourage. It’s important to make subscribers feel welcome, but there’s also another goal: convert your new subscriber into a customer or whatever action is considered a conversion for your business. Use your multi-part series to incentivize new subscribers to take their first action, whether that’s to make a purchase, follow your business on social, update their subscriber profile, etc.
  • Personalize. You already have more data on this subscriber than you might realize. You at least know their first name and email address, and if you’re using onsite tracking, you know the products or pages they’ve already browsed. Furthermore, if you’re asking other questions, such as birthday, skin type, gender, etc., on your subscription form, you’re tapping into a treasure trove of information to help personalize your series. For example, say you’re a beauty retailer, you may ask people to provide information on skin type. This information can be used to create personalized product recommendations that accompany your welcome series.

If you check all four of these boxes in your Welcome Series you can be sure that you’re creating a warm, welcoming, and informative experience for your new subscribers.

Where to Start When Creating a Welcome Series

When all else fails, keep it simple. A clear, concise message is going to resonate far more than a convoluted email that leaves the reader confused on what exactly they’re supposed to do with the information. Here are three steps to creating an easy to engage with email series. In fact, you can use this process for any email you create as it will help inform design and copy of your email.

  • Step 1: Make the action you want the subscriber to take very clear. This isn’t a guessing game—key information should be front and center. And remember, focus on the benefits to the subscriber, not on how awesome you are (we all know that already) and always answer the question: what’s in it for the subscriber.
  • Step 2: Now that you know what action you’re trying to prompt a subscriber to take, identify obstacles to subscribers taking the intended action and take steps to eliminate these barriers or provide ways to easily overcome them.
  • Step 3: Know your audience. Use friendly copy that is appropriate for your subscriber base. This is your first shot at a good impression—put your best foot forward and make sure there’s nothing that could be construed in a negative light or offend a new subscriber.

Features of the WhatCounts Automation Campaign Builder

I’ll say this upfront, no matter what email marketing platform you use, you need to set up a welcome series ASAP. With that said, here are a few of the key features that enable WhatCounts clients to easily create an automated, personalized Welcome Series.

  • Data Collection. With WhatCounts’ Automation tool, you have the ability to collect important data all along the customer journey. This information can be used to create micro-segments of your subscriber list and personalize content. Remember that example about skin-type above? If this retailer collects data on skin type during the subscription process, they can set up segments for each skin type input field and trigger a personalized welcome series for each data input, showcasing key products based on this information.
  • Do More with Less. You can clone workflows to easily build new campaigns for multiple brands / markets. Going back to this beauty retailer, perhaps they created a standard welcome series for people who skip the question on skin type. They can clone the existing, generic workflow and use this as the template for the variations they’ll create based on skin type data.
  • Manage Your Subscribers in the Workflow. With WhatCounts Automation not only can you trigger a series of emails over a period of time, you can manage their subscription, update data, etc. Here are just a few of the available actions you can take, automatically:
  • Deploy an email
  • Check subscriber data
  • Update subscriber data
  • Check if an email was opened or clicked
  • Add or remove subscriber from list
  • Wait a certain period of time before next action
  • Schedule or Let Your Automation Run. Automation Campaigns can be scheduled using the Calendar feature or set to automatically deploy based on triggers, such as becoming a new subscriber. This gives marketers greater flexibility of when, how, and where to use automations. Going back to our beauty retailer example, they may set up a triggered automation for the welcomes series, but use the calendar function to set up an automation for an upcoming in-store event, triggering a post-event “thank you for coming” series.

Welcome Series – The Beginning of a Beautiful Friendship

While a welcome series seems like an obvious campaign to run, there’s more to it than just slapping an email together that gets shipped out after someone subscribes. Taking the time to plan out a multi-part series and thinking through the content and subscriber experience can make all the difference between converting a subscriber and creating a less than pleasant experience which will promptly get your email chucked into the trash. As always, if you’re struggling to get your welcome series right or just need some extra help, our team is here and ready to jump in, all you have to do is reach out.

P.S. Want to learn more about our Automation Feature? Check out this help article.

Sources: all statistics were pulled from this article.

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