When you’re just starting out with email automation, one of the first things you’ll hear about is the welcome email series. It may sound simple, but many marketers spend years trying to crack the perfect strategy. You want to welcome your customer to the inside circle without scaring them away.
When done right, the welcome series can be a key driver of triggered automation revenue. When done wrong, the welcome series can start your relationship with the customer on the wrong foot and mean missed out revenue for your business.
So what is a welcome email series, and how can you maximize their efficacy? All that and more with these six tips and best practices.
Discover the Top 3 Tips for Making the Best of the Welcome Email Series
As an email marketing agency that provides advanced and effective email marketing solutions, we at QuaGrowth know just how important the welcome email series is, and we’re all for maximizing its potential. When we’re in the weeds with our businesses, one of the first things we do is optimize the welcome series. Why? Because it works.
From using pop-ups to getting more subscribers to utilizing coupons for conversions, a proper strategy around your welcome series can go far in picking up new revenue and even inspiring some brand affinity.
Before we get into best practices, let’s talk a little bit about what a welcome campaign entails.
What is a Welcome Email Series?
Simply put, a welcome series is a multi-step introduction and getting-to-know-you style email campaign. When customers provide their emails, they appreciate (and many have come to expect) an email that follows up, welcoming them to your mailing list.
For years, brands treated this opportunity largely as a means to share a confirmation message but as open rates are often disproportionately higher in welcome emails, the strategy has expanded into multiple messages, with a variety of CTAs.
What once was a single email is now four. What was a simple “Hello!” is now operating as, “Hello! How are you? We made a coupon code especially for you and thought you might like this product.”
Do you see what we mean? A successful welcome email series is now more of a conversation. In fact, it’s the first conversation you’ll have with your customer. So you want to make sure it’s a good one. After all, you know what they say about first impressions.
Now that you understand what we’re after with welcome emails, let’s get into the nitty-gritty with some tips on maximizing your campaign’s efficiency and conversion rates.
Welcome Series Tip #1: Pop-Ups Get You More Subscribers.
Pop-ups get a bad rep, but they’re one of the most effective ways to capture those leads and increase your subscribers.
To paint a clearer picture about how effective pop-ups are at capturing leads, here are some statistics that Sumo generated by studying over two billion pop-ups:
- The top 10% of high-performing pop-ups had a 9.28% conversion rate.
- The average pop-up had a 3.09% conversion rate.
- The very best pop-ups had a conversion rate as high as 50.2%!
Even if your pop-up belongs to the average group with a seemingly meager 3.09% conversion rate, that would still give you 309 new signups each month if your site gets 10,000 monthly visitors.
Seasoned email marketers will tell you that the number one task they face is increasing subscriber numbers. You can have the best content in the world, and it won’t make an ounce of difference when it comes to sales if there’s no one seeing it.
Now to make your pop-ups work harder, you have to make sure that they have a compelling copy and eye-catching graphics. Context is also important; you want your pop-up to show on pages with content that’s related to the copy in the pop-up.
Here is our guide to crafting successful pop-ups:
- Keep it simple. Don’t try to pack too much information or charm into your pop-up copy. People respond positively to clear, concise language. “Add your email to get coupons” can be more successful than “You seem like the kind of person who loves a good coupon. Want to join the insider crowd?” The first, while duller, is likely to see more added emails at the end of the day. It’s all about experimentation. Don’t be afraid to simplify the message.
- Make sure that your pop-up includes a reason why the customer should join your email list. Inboxes these days are littered with marketing material. Most people won’t just join for the sake of it. Include a value add, like coupon codes or early access to products or content.
- Make sure your graphic design is memorable and stylish. Without overcomplicating anything, make sure it reflects your site’s unique look and feel.
- Work with your motion graphics and web development teams to ensure the pop-up works seamlessly. You don’t want visitors leaving your site early because pop-ups that magnify text are impossible to “x” out of or simply don’t work.
When done correctly, a pop-up message can make a massive difference in your subscriber numbers. Once you’ve brought in new subscribers, you’ll want to greet them, which brings us to timing.
Welcome Series Tip #2: Timing Is Key.
Pop-ups get people into your email list, but your first email, and all your succeeding emails, get them to stay. When it comes to welcoming your new subscriber, timing is everything.
The typical welcome email series consists of three to five emails, each of which has a specific purpose or goal. Yes, this means your copywriters are going to have their hands briefly full putting together language that speaks to each one of these goals. The good news? The upfront work pays back in spades when these messages can be automated.
Your first welcome email should be sent as soon as your new subscriber signs up. Common wisdom five years ago was to wait a day, but that is no longer the case.
An instant message shows that your business is responsive and welcoming. Language-wise, this could be just a confirmation email if you’re using double opt-in or your actual welcome email if you’re using single opt-in. Keep it straightforward and succinct.
More often than not — no marketing strategy should ever be cookie-cutter — your second welcome email should be sent a day after the first one. This quick follow-up message ensures that you’re still fresh in your subscriber’s mind but allows enough time to pass to avoid being perceived as spam.
For the third email and any succeeding emails in your welcome series, you’ll want to space them two days apart; if you send them more often, you’ll be inundating the customer and could lead to the dreaded “unsubscribe” action.
Keep your welcome series to a maximum of five emails so that you don’t bombard your subscribers with too many emails. While stretching this vital moment between your business and the customer can be a massively successful tool in encouraging them to purchase, it is also delicate and must be handled with care.
Welcome Series Tip #3: High Value CTAs Net High Value Action.
It may be tempting to push for a sale on your welcome email series, and there’s no reason why you shouldn’t. Campaign Monitor found that welcome emails have a 34% read rate which is 42% higher than the average read rate. That is certainly an opportunity to make a sales pitch.
What’s great about using a welcome email series rather than just a singular email is that you can send multiple CTAs, taking advantage of those high read rates and benefiting other business goals.
Here are other things you can ask customers to do during this period of high visibility:
- Ask them to follow your business on social media. Growing your social media following is just as important as growing your email list. Promote your social media accounts as a place to get a behind-the-scenes look at your business, first looks at new products, or an opportunity to win giveaways or contests.
- Ask them to interact with valuable education-centric content. High-value, well-produced content can go a long way in building brand affinity and confidence. While this may not seem like the most rewarding CTA, it’s a great way to avoid coming off too salesy while still earning customer trust and attention.
- Ask them to share more information. As every email marketer knows, we’re chiefly in the business of collecting customer data. Ask your new subscriber to share their preferences, including what products or coupons they’d like to be shown, how they’d like to be contacted, and when. By honoring your subscriber’s preferences, you’re telling them that you value their business and prioritizing their experience. You’re also collecting valuable information that can help inform future marketing campaigns.
- Ask them to refer a friend or colleague. Evangelism is a crucially important component of marketing campaigns. There is no substitute for a recommendation from someone you know. Incentivize referrals and expand your subscriber list with a like-minded audience.
- Ask them to download your mobile app. There’s so much you can do on a mobile app compared to a web browser, and customers who interact with your brand are more engaged. Driving customers is also a great way to ensure your businesses’ data collection works at its best.
Get creative with how you approach your KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) for the welcome email series. More likely than not, these emails can help your business achieve multiple goals.
Welcome Series Tip #4: Coupons Help Increase Conversions.
Your welcome emails aren’t just about information; they’re all about encouraging your subscribers to take action, too. Sometimes, they need a little push.
That’s where incentives come in.
If your new subscriber hasn’t purchased anything or taken action by the third or so email, offer coupons or discounts to get them to click on your CTA. We know marketers sometimes struggle with discounting as it cheapens the brand’s perceived value, but the simple truth is they work.
Here are some statistics to consider, gathered by invesp:
- 60% of consumers love to receive digital coupons; 50% are more likely to visit a store if they have received one.
- 77% of consumers spend $10-$50 more than anticipated when redeeming mobile coupons than 17% who spend over $50.
Not only are subscribers who receive coupon codes more likely to make a purchase, but they’re also more likely to spend a little more than they had intended because of the deal they received.
If the goal is to get customers to stick around on your mailing list, you have to make it worth their while.
Welcome Series Tip #5: Context Is Vital
When it comes to email marketing in general, our rule of thumb is that the more personalized and specific you can make your trigger action and the subsequent automated email, the better.
Customers don’t just appreciate a certain degree of personalization in their email marketing messages; they expect it. As such, you want to ensure that your emails speak to their interests. This can be difficult at such an early stage in the relationship, but a little bit goes a long way.
On the other hand, you also want to make sure that your welcome email doesn’t neglect or contradict any information the customer has provided. The chief example of this is acquisition because the fact is that not every new subscriber is new to your brand.
If the customer joined your email list via the mobile app, no email in your welcome series should drive them to download the app, as they already have.
Similarly, customers who shared their email after visiting and interacting with your site several times are fundamentally different from customers who shared their email after the first visit.
Automation with context allows for different messages to be sent to these two distinct groups. While one may require a little discounted push, the other may require serious education before making a purchase.
Furthermore, consider the wider context of the time of year. Seasonal changes to your welcome email that nod to the holidays, spring cleaning, summer fun, and back-to-school can give your message added relevance.
All in all, understanding each customer’s unique place in the sales funnel will help your welcome email series go further.
Welcome Series Tip #6: Testing Is Your Friend.
We’d be remiss not to offer a tip about the power of testing. The truth is, as email marketers, our work is never done. Sometimes, even the most historically-proven strategies lose their efficacy over time.
So it’s important to consider your welcome email series a never-ending experiment. You should always be looking for ways to optimize and improve, especially once new data and new trigger actions are made available.
Try A/B testing, using different languages in your emails for similar audiences and landmarks in the customer journey to see how you can improve your copy and strategy. Take risks and follow the data. It will never steer you wrong.
A successful welcome email series, tricky as it is, makes a big difference for your business. Whether it’s an opportunity to widen your subscriber list, grow your following on social media, learn more about your customer base, or simply make a sale, the welcome email series can achieve many things.
The fact is, the beginning of your customer relationship is perhaps the most critical time. While they’re newly interested in your business, you can share the products and user experience that sets your brand apart from the others. Ultimately, this is when you lay the groundwork for a new customer to become a returning one. Don’t underestimate the value of this moment.
Another aspect of the welcome series to love is that it can be fully automated. Email automation ensures that the timing, message, and content of your welcome series are on point, freeing you from having to send welcome emails to your new subscribers manually.
At QuaGrowth, marketing automation is our bread and butter. We believe in the power of personalized, automated marketing technology to make a difference for businesses.
Visit QuaGrowth now to learn more about our welcome email series and marketing automation tips for eCommerce.