This post has been updated as of May 2019
The average open rate of commercial emails is anywhere from 18-25%, and unsubscribe rates are typically around .25-.50%, according to MarketingProfs. While no one likes to be ignored or to see subscribers go, it happens.
Thankfully, there are a number of ways to engage your subscribers from the start with a welcome email.
In this post, we’ll give you actionable tips for creating an effective welcome email that’ll hook your subscribers from the get-go, and keep them coming back for more.
Why sending a welcome email is so important
While you may be tempted to simply add new subscribers to your email list and not send them anything until your next email goes out, this can be a big mistake and a lost opportunity.
In fact, as soon as a new subscriber signs up, you should send them a welcome email thanking them for opting in to your list. If you’re not convinced, consider these stats: Welcome emails get 320% more revenue than promotional emails, an 86% lift in the unique open rate, and a 196% lift in the unique click rate, according to Entrepreneur.
One reason these stats are so impressive is that, when someone signs up for your list, your business is top of mind. When you send them a welcome email right away, you have the opportunity to engage them with compelling content and offers.
Take a look at this clever example from flower delivery company, BloomThat:
BloomThat does an exceptional job of engaging and connecting with their subscribers right from the start. They remove any initial obstacles and get out of anyone’s way who might just want to shop with their CTA, “Show you the blooms,” but then go on to offer more context in a compelling way for those who want to learn more. The copy, voice, and tone are totally on-brand, and they make it fun with a game.
Tips for creating an effective welcome email
Now that you’ve seen an example of a great welcome email, use the following tips to create one.
Highlight the value of subscribing in the signup form
While this step comes before you ever create and send your welcome email, it’s an important part of the process.
In order to solidify subscriptions, it’s vital to let subscribers know exactly what they’ll be getting when they sign up. Will they receive helpful content each week? What about promotions and coupons? Whatever you offer, make sure to let potential subscribers know in the opt-in form, as keeping them engaged starts with setting the right expectations.
Our friends at Buffer do an excellent job of this on their blog.
Buffer’s signup form specifically outlines what people can expect after subscribing, including “data and studies on social media best practices” and “in-depth guides on what works best when posting on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and more.”
This descriptive copy gets folks excited about the information to come, and, when that initial welcome email arrives, they’re excited to open it and see what new best practices are inside.
Optimize your subject line
The subject line is one of the most critical parts of your welcome email. Research indicates some of the most popular words in subject lines that get opened include: sale, thank you, welcome, new, daily, weekly, alert, bulletin, video, freebie, and any type of personalization, just to name a few.
Remember, the subject line is the first thing your subscribers see when they open their inbox, so make sure you keep it short, concise, and specific, so that your readers know what the email is about. Check out this post for more tips on writing engaging email subject lines.
Use a real name in the “From” line
As you create your welcome email, it’s also important to make sure your “From” name is the name of your business or the name of the person that the subscriber expects to hear from, rather than “firstname.lastname@example.org,” for example.
This encourages people to engage with your welcome email and possibly even respond to you, which is positive for your campaign.
Personalize the content with the subscriber’s name
Another simple tactic to get people excited about your content is to simply use their name. “Thanks for joining, Sam!” is a lot more effective than “Welcome, valued customer,” or “Hey there!”
In fact, emails with personalized subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened and marketers have found a 760% increase in email revenue from sending segmented, personalized campaigns.
Online fashion retailer Freemans does an impressive job of this in their welcome emails. Not only do they place the subscriber’s first name prominently at the beginning of the email, they even use their last name in the body copy as well. This makes the email feel like it was specially sent to each recipient and encourages them to click through and take action.
The content of your welcome email really is the bread and butter of engagement. The reason subscribers sign up for your emails and newsletters is so that they can receive your content. This means you should include information that interests your readers.
There are a few different formats that make for an engaging welcome email. Let’s take a look at an example from Chandon:
Chandon nails it with their welcome email, and using this example works as a great guide. In your welcome email, you should:
Welcome your new subscriber by name, if possible.
Thank your new subscriber for joining your list.
Let your new subscriber know what to expect from you and your website. In other words, reinforce the value they get for joining your list.
Keep the copy short, and easy to digest.
Use a call-to-action button to lead people back to your website or app to get them to take a desired conversion action.
Some other valuable elements you can include in your welcome email to further engage your subscribers are:
A special offer for subscribing
A request for further information, so you can personalize your future emails to them
A getting-started guide
Remember, the most important thing is to keep it short and simple, while providing all the information your new subscriber needs.
Make your welcome emails visually pleasing
People engage with emails that look good. This fact comes as no surprise, considering the recent and abundant lean towards visual content in almost every avenue of digital advertising. Eighty-six percent of buyers expressed a desire to access interactive and visual content on demand over other types of content, according to a recent study.
If you’re looking to engage your customers immediately, then you need to make sure your content is easy on the eyes.
Seafolly does this well:
Their welcome email features beautiful, on-brand imagery that helps to sell the “world of Seafolly.”
Optimize for mobile devices
When we talk about the importance of design in capturing the attention of subscribers, it’s necessary to remember that every email you send out should be 100% optimized for mobile devices.
One reason for this is that 64% of decision-makers read their email via mobile devices. And 60% of online adults in the US and UK use at least two devices each day. This means, if you haven’t optimized your email for mobile devices, chances are it’ll get deleted.
Seafolly’s highly visual welcome email looks great on mobile devices, ensuring their readers can consume and enjoy their content wherever they are.
How to keep your subscribers engaged beyond the welcome email
While it’s critical to nail your welcome email, remember it’s only the beginning of what’ll hopefully be a long relationship with your subscribers. Like any good relationship, you have to continue to stay interesting, loyal, and engaging. Otherwise, subscribers may unsubscribe, and no one wants that.
To maintain a solid and lasting relationship with your subscribers, consistently deliver the value that you promised in the beginning.
If you promised a weekly email with industry tips, then make sure you send it out weekly. If you promised discounts for subscribing, then send discounts. Keeping people engaged long term is often simply a matter of keeping your word.
Best welcome email examples and templates
When you’re looking to create great welcome emails, it pays to check out what the experts are doing. Some of the best welcome emails in the industry are proven to build trust and facilitate increased engagement.
These welcome email examples can be used to create welcome email templates and engage subscribers effectively from the very beginning. Read on for a roundup of the best designs and what makes them so great.
Airbnb has the right idea with a welcome email—they cut right to the important points. Users aren’t just hoping to be wowed by a great-looking newsletter. They want to know exactly how the company behind it can help them. That information will determine whether they stay subscribed or not.
The features are listed cleverly, allowing users to see options for finding a home, exploring and traveling, or even becoming a host. These features are divided neatly into sections, complete with actionable CTAs and photos of people enjoying themselves. The graphics, text, and layout all work together to demonstrate who the company is and what they can offer.
A company like Asana knows their tool has a bit of a learning curve. The welcome email wastes no time helping users get acquainted with the product. Also, notice the copywriting. It’s concise and reminds users they’re part of the Asana family—further highlighting the product’s collaborative nature.
The trio of CTAs function as simple “practice exercises” for users to get acquainted with the product. This also functions as a way of bringing the FAQ or Help section to the user before they have to go searching for it, but in a more focused manner.
Source: Kate Spade
Kate Spade opens up with something many people wouldn’t expect in a welcome email. Thanking the subscriber for signing up may seem out of the ordinary, as appreciation is usually reserved for purchases. The sense of heartfelt thanks is also made a bit more personal by the background, which resembles an old-fashioned letter.
To top it off, Kate Spade shows appreciation, yet again, by offering a discount. It’s a great gesture in general but, also, for the purpose of this email, it demonstrates to the subscriber that the company doesn’t just thank you; they show their gratitude through actions.
The final example comes from MOO, a company known for premium business cards. The email demonstrates design expertise as soon as it’s opened—showcasing a nice design and a catchy color scheme.
It immediately has links for you to check out their products, as well as to get in contact with them or simply find out more about the company. Combine this with the strong opening that details what you are in store for, this is the perfect welcome email in both copy and design.
Any of these emails could be used as inspiration or a possible welcome email template to help facilitate engagement from the minute your readers sign up for your email list.
Engaging your audience is a long-term process that begins with the signup form and continues with the welcome email and the content you send subscribers throughout their relationship with your business.
By following the tips in this post, you can create an engaging welcome email that hooks your subscribers from the start, and ensures your future emails get opened and acted on.
Ready to craft a great welcome email your subscribers will love? Try out these essential elements to make sure your first contact is one your subscriber will love.
This post was originally published in August 2015
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