First impressions are important. And, in our digital age, we often make our first impressions via email.
Did you know that welcome emails are more impactful than virtually any other type of promotional email?
A welsome email is the first exchange betwen your business and a new customer or prospect. It sets the tone for future communications, encourages people to take a closer look at your company’s products or services, and provides helpful information.
Not to mention that subscribers are most engaged during the first 48 hours, so your welcome email arrives – or should – during that optimum engagement window.
So, if you haven’t optimized your welcome emails to take advantage of that power, you’re missing out. A study conducted by digital marketing and branding advocacy firm Ciceron reminds us that:
Remember, first impressions are critical to building lasting relationships; a welcome message is that important touchpoint for your email marketing program. You want to entice your subscribers by sending them a welcome message that encourages them to take that next step…
So let’s take a look at how you can optimize your welcome messages to help your business make a good impression and set the stage for a lasting and profitable relationship with your customers and prospects.
1. Express Gratitude
Let’s start with basic etiquette. To set the right tone with your new subscriber, customer or client, start by showing some gratitude.
Whether they’ve given you their email or they’ve signed a 10-year contract with your business, they’ve given you something. So make your mama proud and say “Thank you.”
When customers feel valued, they become loyal — the type of customers that become the bread and butter for any business.
So, don’t skip this simple but important step.
Joann Fabrics does a great job of both showing gratitude and creating excitement by prominently thanking their new subscriber for “being a part of something awesome!” They go on to elaborate about what their subscribers have to be excited about. But, they draw you in with their thanks. Follow their lead and make gratitude a staple of your welcome emails.
2. Showcase Your Brand
A welcome email serves so many functions – creating goodwill, encouraging next steps, reassuring the customer of their choice and helping them get to know your brand. It’s a tall order.
One of the most effective ways to both reassure your new contact or client and help them get to know you is by featuring your brand identity through your welcome email. This means more than slapping your logo in the top corner and moving on.
This example from Blaze Pizza is a perfect example of a well-branded welcome email. The design elements are taken directly from Blaze’s style guide. It closely matches the visual style of their website and in-store signage. The copy tone is casual, yet enthusiastic – the voice of their brand.
Viewers receiving this welcome email will be reassured that the message is from the website where they just subscribed because it looks so similar. It also helps newbies get familiar with their brand voice. Overall, a great effort.
Your business should do the same. Weave your brand identity through every detail of your welcome email – the colors, tone, graphics, fonts… Every element should be customized to embody and convey your brand identity. So refer to your brand’s style guide as you design. Or have a professional design your email for you.
3. Know Your Goal
It’s impossible to hit a target if you don’t know where it is. So, plan ahead – what do you want this welcome email to accomplish?
Obviously, you’ll want to make your customer or client feel welcomed and valued. But, aim for more. Do you want to make sales? Do you want your recipient to download your free e-book? Or become a regular reader of your blog?
Tailor your content to accomplish whatever goal you’ve set out. For instance, Torrid wants you to shop.
This welcome email from Torrid has one single goal – get you shopping online or in a retail location. They encourage their recipients to shop by offering a time-sensitive discount. And, they remove barriers to entry by giving direct access to their online store and making it easy to find the Torrid location nearest you.
Be like Torrid. Design a welcome email that clearly knows what it wants. Select your goal and thoughtfully choose design elements and copy to support that goal.
4. Build Relationships with Reciprocity
Offer your new customer something more than just your thanks. We recently wrote about the principle of reciprocity in our article “7 Marketing Psychology Tips to Improve Your Business Marketing“:
Reciprocity is the idea that we want to do nice things in return when people do nice things for us. Dr. Robert Cialdini, author of the book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, tells us that even the simplest gesture can trigger our desire to reciprocate.
Reciprocity is a powerful tool for creating a strong relationship. Think about it – a consumer gives you an email address or a client gives you their business. In return, you offer something above and beyond that elevates your interaction above a mere transaction.
The client expects to get whatever services you’ve agreed to. And a newsletter subscriber expects to receive newsletters. Anything you offer that goes beyond the expected can trigger that reciprocity instinct.
Consider offering an exclusive and generous discount coupon that motivates the customer to shop like the example above from Joann Fabrics. Or, send a round-up of your blog’s greatest hits. Just make sure that you’re offering something that has real value.
5. Build Loyalty Through Exclusivity
Everyone loves to feel special. And what makes people feel more special than having something that someone else can’t?
The psychology of exclusivity is a powerful thing. When people feel like they’re on the inside, it gives them a sense of belonging that could build loyalty and compel them to convert better on your emails.
So, embrace the power of exclusivity! Encourage loyalty by offering an exclusive reward or invite someone to be a member of an exclusive group.
Vivienne Westwood gets it. Fashion is a rather elitist field, to begin with. So she plays to that desire to be on the inside of a glamorous world of fashion by offering her newsletter recipients exclusive free live streaming of all of her fashion shows in London, Paris, and Milan – including the action backstage. It doesn’t get much more “inside” than that!
MINIUSA gets it, too. Their welcome email copy intertwines descriptions of the MINI’s features with the discerning taste of their unique and adventurous drivers. They imply that only someone who is similarly unique, adventurous and discerning can appreciate the wonder of a MINI, creating the desire in the reader to be a part of that exclusive group.
If your clientele, customers, or subscribers crave to be among the elite, make sure your welcome email invites them to be a part of something exclusive.
6. Include a Clear Call to Action
A wise man once said, “You’ll never know unless you ask.” And he was right. There’s also a good chance that wise man was a marketer.
There’s no such thing as a successful marketing campaign unless there is a successful CTA.
Your welcome email is part of a marketing campaign – or, at least, it should be. So, make sure that you’re asking your audience for what you want.
CTA’s in emails should be as simple as Godiva’s “Shop Now” button or MINIUSA’s invitation to “Build Yours.” The simpler your CTA, the clearer it is… and the more likely it is that someone will actually click on it.
Smith reminds us,
This is no time for surprises, secrets or subtlety.
Consider these 3 elements when planning your CTA – placement, design, and copy.
1. Place your CTA in a prominent, easily visible place in your welcome email.
2. Make design choices that will catch the eye and hold your audience’s attention.
3. Use specific, clear copy that tells your audience what you want them to do.
7. Don’t Forget the Subject Line
A beautifully composed welcome message will get you nothing if your audience never sees it. So, don’t neglect the subject line.
Your subject line should support the excitement your viewer felt when they subscribed, purchased or signed that contract. It should entice your viewers to open your message. Here are a few tips for how to optimize your subject lines:
- Keep it short and concise – people are inundated with email and as a result, they scan quickly. Your subject line should be a quick and engaging read.
- Make it personable. Use the viewer’s name or make strike an inviting, conversational tone. Torrid does a great job with this. Their welcome email subject line? “Hi, we’re Torrid.”
- Remind your audience why they subscribed. Michael’s does this artfully, saying, “Your Inbox Just Got a Little More Creative.” Why did their viewer subscribe? Oh yeah… they’re creative and they like creative things.
- Use dynamic language!
Subject lines are similar to calls-to-action, in that you want the language to inspire people to click. Subject lines that begin with action verbs tend to be a lot more enticing, and your emails could be drastically more clickable by adding a vibrant verb at the beginning.
A welcome email can be a powerful tool for creating the best possible first impression for your business. We hope we’ve inspired you to make the most of the opportunity. Keep these 7 tips in mind as you create your next welcome message.
1. Thank your new subscriber, customer or client.
2. Showcase your brand through carefully curated design and copy choices.
3. Plan your welcome email around a known goal.
4. Use reciprocity to strengthen your relationships by giving back.
5. Build brand loyalty by offering an exclusive gift or experience.
6. Include a clear call to action.
7. Give your subject line as much thought as the rest of your welcome message.
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