I often go back to this example from one of my mentors during the early stages of my career, when asked about the importance of timing in marketing.
You’re on the first date with this beautiful lady. She’s smart, kind, and sends butterflies fluttering in your stomach every time you steal a glance at her.
You say how wonderful you are and what other women say about you and get on your knees with your gam gam’s engagement ring.
How do you think it’d go?
I’m not an expert in matters of the heart but I know with certainty that you ain’t gonna have a second date.
So why do I bother you with this long-winded story that almost never happens IRL (if you did this, boy, I’d love to give you a shout out. Let me know in the comments.)?
Because, this happens in email marketing. A LOT!
Your first shot ain’t your only shot
What most merchants do is in a rush to make the sale they forget to build trust and warm up their audience.
Just like dating, email marketing is a delicate dance. This is what a good marketing strategy is all about–know what to say, how to say, and when to say–to make a great first impression and to keep the conversation going. Say the wrong thing at the wrong moment and the date is over!
Well, relationship analogies aside, let’s get into how you can create the perfect welcome email sequence, shall we?
What’s the purpose of the welcome sequence?
The welcome email is the first interaction between your brand and your customer after they subscribed to your list. Unsurprisingly, it’s the email with the highest open rate (58%).
The welcome email(s) you send should set the tone for future conversations, capture and/or re-emphasize their interest in your brand, and dazzle them. If you don’t do it right, you’ll be squandering the opportunity to make a life-long customer out of this subscriber.
As with any relationship, you need to take time to engage with them, understand them, build trust, ensure you’re a good match, and show what to expect from you. (You thought I’d be done with the relationship analogy?)
A well-thought welcome email increases your credibility. It gives them a reason to continue engaging with you. It’s an excellent opportunity to use the signup momentum to turn them into a customer.
The anatomy of a perfect welcome email
Most people consider the welcome email sequence to be purely transactional; I don’t.
You need to introduce your brand and tell your story; what values you stand for and why your tribe aligns with you. You can say what other customers are saying about your products and your brand.
Slide in a few products they can explore (Tip: Your GA and Shopify Dashboard will help you decide what these are). You can also offer a discount to give ‘em a little nudge.
These are the components of the perfect welcome email:
- Thank them for subscribing
- Personalized intro
- Brand story
- Values you stand for or USP of your products
- Setting expectations–what kind of content and how often
- Whitelisting your email address–so your emails don’t end up in Spam
- Your best products or content
- P.S–to build curiosity or ask them to take an action
Here’s a handy dandy infographic made by yours truly:
Your welcome email may not check all of these eight items but make sure you at least get 4-5 of these in the first email. The rest can go into the upcoming emails of the welcome sequence.
We’ll see some examples in the upcoming sections.
Aside: An awesome idea from an unexpected place
So, I received an email from getlatka.com. This was their first email:
I'm about to hop on a call but saw you just signed up for GetLatka.
Wanted to welcome you with a little SaaS gift.
Let me know which excel file export you'd like:
- 100 recent SaaS Valuations
- 500 of the fastest growing SaaS companies
- 100 bootstrapped SaaS founders
I'll send you back the full file right when I get off this call.
Before reading further, think about this email for a sec. Why did they ask me to respond with the file I want? Wouldn’t it be easier to just give me the links?
By replying to this email, I send trust signals to my Inbox Provider unintentionally and that whitelists their email address. (This is awesome, Nathan!)
Now, do what you want with this piece of information.
How to create the perfect welcome email sequence?
One of the most common questions I’m asked is how many emails should one send in the welcome sequence.
Anything between 3-5 should be a good place to start. I like to send 3 emails back to back within the first 6 days of them signing up. The rest is spaced over the course of the next week.
Another common question I get is when do I go for the sale.
Don’t wait too long, but don’t be pushy! (I’m done with the analogy, I swear!)
You don’t wanna lose them when they’re the most engaged. Keep reminding them about your brand and why they chose to sign up in the first place.
Use this as a framework to build your welcome sequence:
Email #1 (Sent immediately after sign up)
Thank them for signing up. Tell them the benefits of the products you sell or the values you stand by. Reaffirm their choice in trusting your brand. Emphasize what they will get now that they have subscribed. Showcase how you and you alone can solve their problem.
Email #2 (Day 3)
Talk about yourself a bit and how your business started. Connect it with the brand values you spoke about in Email #1. You can also showcase the benefits of buying your products.
Let’s say you sell suitcases for frequent travelers. The benefits can be the durable shell, hidden compartments and built-in locks for added security, 360-degree wheels to make travel easier, etc.
You can also showcase some products and/or helpful content for them to explore. A discount to incentivize them to make their first purchase also goes in this email. You can also use other forms of incentives like free shipping, freebies, etc.
Email #3 (Day 5)
It’s been 5 days and if someone has not bought from your store, you need to figure out what their apprehensions are. You can showcase some of your best reviews, answer frequently asked questions and remind them that their discount code (from Email #2) is expiring soon.
You could also send them helpful content, how-to guides, eBooks, tutorials, etc.
Email #4 (Day 8)
I like to keep the last email of the sequence plain-text and focus only on converting them. Remind them the discount expires in the next 4 hours and let FOMO do the rest of the work.
Here are some examples of welcome emails I’ve enjoyed reading:
Killer tips for your first date welcome email sequence
If you follow what I’ve outlined in the previous sections, you should be able to create killer welcome email sequences. Here are a few tips to take it to the next level:
- Send it from your name and not from your brand’s. Like Michael Scott once said, people buy from people.
- Stay true to your brand’s voice, tone, and values
- Use a clear, concise, and engaging Subject line. (I’m building a swipe file for subject lines, so make sure you keep an eye out for that)
- Personalize the email by addressing them with their first name. If you have additional pieces of information about them (like their interests, where they came from, etc.), use it to create a personal lede.
- Have clear structure to email. Have one idea segue into another seamlessly. Bring order to our content with clear subheads.
- Design your emails. Having a visual appeal goes a long way.
- Include links to your social handles in the footer.
- Don’t forget the golden rule: Educate, Entertain, and Engage
A well-written welcome email sequence is akin to a date gone great. You hook them with a pickup line, pique their interest, add a touch of humor, understand what ticks them, and reveal just enough information so they are left wanting for more.
I hope this article helps you both in your email marketing and romantic endeavors (hopefully the former). If you have questions, feel free to drop them in the comments below.
Let’s get to date #2.
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