How to Use Welcome Emails to Turn Your Welcome Mat Into a Red Carpet

If a customer signs your email list, downloads your app or opts into push notifications, they’re sending you a message loud and clear: They want to hear from you. It’s up to you to make sure they know they made the right choice. Thankfully, welcome emails provide plenty of perfect opportunities to do so, nurturing the customer along the road from subscriber to shopper.

New subscribers are extraordinarily engaged; according to MarketingSherpa, the average open rate for welcome emails is more than 50%. When executed well, welcome emails can raise awareness and inspire loyalty. Here’s how:

Foundational Tactics for Strong Welcome Emails

Emphasize Values

Use this opportunity to reinforce the attributes that make your brand unique. What are your values and key differentiators? During the onboarding period, everything from the language to the images should answer that question, highlighting what makes your brand special. Blue Apron does this well, starting with “5 Things You Might Not Know About Blue Apron.” This sets expectations and explains the service to newcomers, breaking down how it works and its benefits. While there are no official studies around this, we also suspect that Blue Apron’s welcome emails boost excitement about the subscription with these delicious-looking images.

Highlight Known Items to Activate

Brands often send welcome emails before the customer has made a purchase. They don’t always know them well enough to create truly personalized communications. However, the brand does know their more established customers. Which items have historically been catalysts for conversions? Highlight those in your welcome emails, the way Alex and Ani does with these stack bracelets.

Offer an Incentive

Brands aren’t in the business of cultivating curious bystanders. You want to convert people sooner rather than later and incentives in the welcome emails are one effective way to do that — but carefully. Not every discount works for every customer and besides, too many promotions can hurt customer lifetime value in the long run. The RealReal does this well, making it clear the discount is a bonus for someone’s first purchase.

More Sophisticated Tactics for Welcome Emails

Get to Know the Customer

The most effective emails are personalized and just because someone is new to your brand doesn’t mean you can’t do that. Welcome emails provide the opportunity to set the stage for future personalization. Brands like Warby Parker use onboarding quizzes to learn what people like. This provides a warm welcome for the customer and rich data for the brand to use when making recommendations at the beginning of the relationship.

Encourage High-Value Behaviors

What distinguishes your most valuable customers? If attribution analysis shows that they’re app users or Instagram followers, your welcome emails should encourage new customers to connect. According to Fundera, 65% of a company’s business comes from existing customers. Your onboarding stream is also a great opportunity to invite people to be a part of your loyalty program. Society6 does this well by incentivizing joining.

Consider the Source

How did the customer find their way onto your list? Was it a certain search term or social media? Or are you doing a more retroactive welcome stream because they made a purchase first? Your welcome emails should reflect the answer. Country Outfitter does this exceptionally well, segmenting by search term and using different messages for people who searched “Frye” and “Dickies.”

Welcome emails are just one of many types of triggered messages. To learn more about all of them, click here to download The Ultimate Playbook to Triggered Messaging for Retail Marketers: Best Practices for Increasing Revenue with Email and Multichannel Triggers.

The Ultimate Guide to Triggered Messaging

Behavior-based triggered messaging enables true one-to-one personalization, while also generating 77% of email ROI. Download this guide for a breakdown of messaging streams to master so you can increase the most critical metrics, such as email revenue and repeat purchases.

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