Think of a new client, new student, new member, or new email list subscriber as a guest in your home.
How will you make them feel welcomed and appreciated?
Your first email to them, your “Welcome” email, can begin that relationship — and turn a one-way conversation into a two-way conversation between your business and your customer. Make it count.
Your customers are accustomed to building personal relationships with a business via email. They reject companies and service providers where they don’t feel they’re being honored, heard or respected.
Send the first email out automatically, within a few minutes after a person subscribes and opts-in to your email list. It can be one email, or a series of emails, triggered by a person joining your list.
What a Welcome email will do for you and your business
A well-crafted Welcome email – whether it’s confirming a person’s subscription, offering immediate access to your free content, or a receipt for a purchasing a class or membership – can build trust and a rapport with your audience. It sets the tone of future communication, starts a conversation, helps reinforce your brand and message, and acknowledges how important your audience is to you.
Consider it your calling card; it’s your one opportunity to knock their socks off with meaningful content that solves their problems or answers their questions. You want them to open future emails from you.
Be warm, professional, helpful – and human.
Some tips on what you should put in your first email
- Welcome them to your community. Remind them how they got on your list – did they sign up for a free offer, did they make a purchase from your online store, or did they hear you speak or teach somewhere?
- Thank them. Acknowledge that you’re grateful they chose your content, or for their purchase.
- Talk to them about what they’ve signed up for. What kind of content can they expect? If they bought something from you, let them know how to access that item or when they can expect to get it. If they signed up for an event, remind them of the date and time. Help them figure out how to get started quickly.
- Let the content match the relationship. If your Welcome email is to a new customer, craft it as a thank-you for their purchase. If your Welcome email is to a new subscriber who is not a customer yet, focus the email on what resources you have for them (especially free resources/content, to help build the relationship).
- Assure them that you understand what their challenges and dreams are. They signed up to your list, but they still want to know that you understand their situation and that you can provide solutions. Provide content that outlines some common problems or questions they have, along with tips and techniques to move forward.
- Give them more than they expected. Offer links to important and helpful content on your website, or links to audio files, documents or webinar and video content.
- Tell them how often they can expect your emails. You should be sending email newsletters at least once a month, but once a week is better. Whatever you choose, be consistent. If they purchased something, when will they hear from you next? For example, if they registered for a class, when will they get an email about dates, times and locations? If they purchases a membership, how will they get reminders about when content becomes available over time?
- Provide them with links to your social media accounts as another way to connect.
- Answer frequently asked questions. Are there questions that pop up all the time that a list of FAQs could answer quickly? Can you point them to a place on your website where you answer frequently asked questions?
- Continue the conversation. If you promised a freebie in return for their signing up to your newsletter, make sure they received it. Send an email a few days later, encouraging them to consume the freebie they received. Follow up with a survey asking them what they think about your product or service.
- Ask them to take action. To keep email subscribers engaged, ask them to take action: click a link, complete a survey, respond to a question, share a comment, sign up for a video tutorial. Same for clients, students and members — tell them the next step in their journey with you.
- Tell them how to unsubscribe. It’s important that you give clear instructions on how to get off your list. Most automated emails have a link at the bottom to unsubscribe, but assure them in the Welcome email that they can exit anytime they want.
One email… or two?
There’s a lot of information you could include in your Welcome email. But you don’t want to overwhelm your new prospect or customer with too much information in one email. Some people simply won’t read long emails, or they’ll put it aside to read later.
When you’re crafting your Welcome email, take a step back and ask yourself: Am I overloading them?
If yes, consider just putting the welcome, thank-you, and what you can expect topics in the first email, and use a second email for additional information.
Sometimes the shortest, simplest emails get the best response.
How far apart to space this Welcome sequence?
It’s not just about the content of each email, you also need to focus on how often you email them as part of this Welcome sequence. In the beginning, when they first get on your email list, they’re excited about your topic. Many people suggest you email them once a day for the first week — but I strongly disagree.
If your audience is like mine, they’re busy. They don’t have time to read daily emails from you, and worse-case scenario, emailing them too frequently can be a way to destroy your reputation.
Every-other-day seems to work for me. If someone signs up for my Discover the Missing Link ebook, they’ll get an automatic email right away with the information about how to access the ebook. Two days later, they get an email with a link to some blog posts related to the topic.
Doubling down with a double opt-in
Sometimes asking people to confirm their email address – known as a “double opt-in” – will be your first electronic correspondence with a customer. By asking people to double opt-in, you’re ensuring a quality list of real email addresses.
The double opt-in is meant to get people to click on a link to confirm their email address. Some people don’t do this right away – or they don’t do this at all – so you might have to send a reminder. You can also check the list of people who signed up but didn’t confirm their subscription to check for obvious misspellings in their email addresses.
Read my blog post, The Value of Double-Optins, where I discuss the pros and cons of using this technique. I also share the results of a test we did when using double-optins versus not using them.
If you are finding that people don’t click the confirmation link in your opt-in email, the first question to ask is: Are they receiving the email in the first place?
Check your bounced email list to make sure they are receiving and opening the confirmation email. If necessary, send a reminder.