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.
Good suggestions. I do about half of these in my first email but you have given me some additional ideas. Do you use an automated service to send out your emails?
Yes, Maria, an automated email system, like Constant Contact, aWeber, Mail Chimp, 1shoppingcart or Infusionsoft will make the whole process simpler, especially as you grow. When someone signs up to your list, or buys something from you, your email system automatically sends out your Welcome email, day or night.
Love these tips!
Another one that can work well is to ask a question in the first email.
You can ask people to share their biggest challenge related to the topic you write about, for example, and tell them they can “click reply” and it will land in your inbox.
In my experience, only a very small percentage do this, and it takes just a few seconds to write a short thank you. I love that it makes a connection and allows people on your list to see that there’s a real person on the other side of the emails they receive.
Excellent suggestion, Pamela. AND it’s a little market research for you, to hear what’s on your subscribers’ minds. 🙂
Thanks for these Karyn!
Am in the mdidle of revamping my welcome email process. currently I let people know what they can expect, and I also give them a discount to a small product as a little thank you which seems to work well in rewarding subscribers, as well as letting them know that every now and then I’ll be providing offers.
Love the rest of these tips!
I like the idea of offering them a coupon or discount in your welcome email as a thank you!
Really helpful. I get a lot of responses, and I have an automatic follow-up. But I don’t get conversation or coaching requests, etc.
I’m going to use this model to see if I can improve on that!
Would you be willing to consult with me, for a fee?
You’ll definitely want to look at the automated follow-ups you do, Craig, because they should be generating replies and engagement. I wouldn’t expect one or two emails to generate huge requests for coaching (they hardly know you yet), but definitely some replies back would be expected! 🙂
This is great! I send a welcome email each time I set up a new counselling session with a client. It offers up:
1. A confirmation of their appointment date and time
2. Fee information
3. Directions to my office
4. Link to my website
5. Some quick info on what will happen at the first session
6. I mention that they will be added to my mailing list (but they can opt-out if they choose)
6. An offer for them to contact me anytime before the session
7. And yes, I do thank them.
I have not added my FB link – so I will do that (duh!). And I am working on an ebook that I’ll also link to a bit later on in the year.
I recognise that it is not the newsletter welcome email – but the info is still valuable! Thanks!
Good suggestions, Rachel. We forget that the “welcome” people receive when they become customers is just as important as the “welcome” they receive when they subscribe to your free newsletter. Actually, I’d say they’re more important: These folks have already stepped over the prospect/customer hurdle and are interested in what you offer and what you say. Nurturing them makes them feel they’ve made the right purchase decision, and hopefully leads to more purchases. 🙂
Great tips Karyn – I also ask for information from my subscribers and am going to add an offer for a complimentary discovery breakthrough session.
That’s a super idea, Estelle. I would repeat the offer of a complimentary session about a month after they sign up for your newsletter. You have to build rapport and trust, first, before they’ll be willing to take you up on an offer like that.
Karyn, thanks for the powerful suggestions. My website is almost ready to launch (thanks to Pamela Wilson’s and Wendy Cholbi’s amazing Site Setup Kit) and I am putting the finishing touches on my welcome email. I love your suggestions.
Best of luck and success with your new website launch, Diane! A very exciting time, indeed! 🙂
So, so helpful and well written! Valuable information and a freebie–thank you!! 🙂
Thank you for sharing these tips, Karyn.
I am currently in the process of turning my business from being a graphic design business to becoming a business where I draw processes, strategies and workshops – an also I teach others how to do it – online and offline.
So the plan for my signup freebie is a very short crash course in how you draw to gain commitment and understanding from your audience. And your tips are really valuable in this process. So thank you 🙂
Note: My website is in danish – do you think it would be relevant to make an english version also?
If you feel you want an international audience, not just a Danish audience, then having an “international” version in English is a must. I had a client recently who does business consulting in Sweden. Her site includes both languages because she also does consulting throughout Europe.
HI Karyn, It’s about creating a user experience of simplicity and excellence. And this builds rapport and trust in the email flow. Great suggestions!
You put it well…simplicity so they don’t have to struggle, excellence so they receive top value for their time and money.
This is great and perfect timing as I am reviewing my welcome and follow-up email series!