Article first published January 2018, updated June 2019
Welcome emails allow you to greet new subscribers who want to stay in the loop about your e-commerce business. But they’re capable of a lot more than that.
With a well-designed welcome email campaign, you begin to build the foundation of a long-term relationship with subscribers who, over time, become your customers, brand ambassadors, evangelists, and loyal supporters.
However, in order to accomplish this, you need to put a laser focus on creating a welcome campaign that goes beyond the status quo.
In this post, we’ll look at the importance of welcome emails for your e-commerce business, walk you through the process of getting one set up, and put a spotlight on some amazing campaigns that you can learn from.
Why welcome emails matter for e-commerce
You might be surprised to learn that welcome emails have a much higher open rate than the average email campaign. Research shows that welcome emails have an average read rate of 34%, which is 42% higher than the average.
And knowing you’re working with a more captive audience, you can accomplish a few key objectives in your e-commerce welcome emails, such as:
Make a dazzling first impression
A beautifully designed welcome email that reinforces your branding, image, and offerings can help remind customers why they signed up in the first place.
Continue the conversation with subscribers
Welcome emails also allow you to stay top of mind with subscribers by opening up opportunities for engagement and discovery.
Drive customers back to your store or site
With a strong CTA and an offer that encourages subscribers to re-visit and shop at your e-commerce store, they keep traffic flowing back to your website.
With this understanding of what welcome emails can do for your business, read on for a look at some ways of creating a welcome email series that stands out from the crowd.
Make your welcome series stand out
Remember, your welcome email is your first and only opportunity to make an impression. It determines whether your newest subscribers will continue with you or decide to terminate the relationship in its infancy.
This means you need to do everything in your power to create a welcome email series that stands out.
Here are some tips to help ensure that your welcome email series is so impressive it hooks your prospects and turns them into return customers.
1. Determine how many emails you’ll send
Just one welcome email isn’t enough. Remember, you’re building a relationship. Every strong relationship is built on many meaningful explorative encounters. For your welcome email series, this means using each email to share more about how your prospect will benefit from entering into a relationship with you.
Another reason you need to create a welcome email series is that not all your emails will be read. By sending more than one, you increase the chances of your emails being opened and read.
So how many emails should be in your welcome series?
While that’ll depend on your business and product, anything from three to five emails are bound to grab attention and boost your e-commerce email marketing.
2. Personalization is key
Personalization in email marketing can never be overemphasized. While it’s true that you’ve just met your prospect, you can still use the little data you have about them to create a personalized experience.
The best e-commerce emails leverage personalization with great results.
Source: Really Good Emails
3. Inject personality
Nothing turns off prospects more than a bland and boring welcome email series. In order to create what can be counted among the best e-commerce emails, inject your brand’s personality into your emails. This can be anything from humorous to geeky, depending on the nature of your business.
Injecting personality into an email isn’t difficult at all. You can easily achieve this by using words and images that convey your personality.
Source: Really Good Emails
4. Use storytelling to hook readers
Stories have always captivated human minds and hearts. That’s why some of the best e-commerce emails include storytelling. Tell the story of your brand, product, or even a satisfied customer in your welcome email series, and you’ll definitely hook your readers.
If you pull this off well, you’ll have a tribe of loyal customers whose highlight will be the moment your email hits the inbox.
5. Offer a gift
What better way is there to welcome a new subscriber than to offer them a gift? Offering a discount code or coupon is a great way not only to show your appreciation for the signup, but also a great way to start driving immediate sales.
It’s a win-win situation.
With your email marketing welcome series in place, let’s take a look at the five-step process for creating and executing a welcome email campaign. We’ll also look at some welcome email examples that follow the best practices.
Step 1: Choose your objective
First things first: Decide what you want your welcome email to accomplish. Your welcome email should be centered around a single call to action to minimize distractions for your readers.
Pick one key objective, such as:
- Driving website visits via a coupon code for new subscribers
• Introducing VIP access to information or product lines
• Sharing your brand mission and values
• Inviting subscribers to connect with you on social media
Once you’ve determined your objective, you can begin to build and design your campaign around that goal.
Step 2: Choose your send time
Data from Return Path indicates that 75% of marketers send their welcome emails the same day a subscriber signs up so that messages are timely and relevant. This is a best practice for you to keep in mind too.
But maybe you’re thinking, “How in the world am I going to stay on top of sending each new subscriber a welcome message?”
Not to worry. Automating a welcome email makes executing a same-day send simple. Using Campaign Monitor, in a few quick steps, you can set up an automatic welcome email by creating a customer journey for when someone joins your list.
Next, you need to think about how the message will look and sound.
Step 3: Write an engaging subject line
The subject line is the first thing your new subscribers encounter in their email inboxes, so you’ll want to come up with a compelling reason for them to open up your message.
There are many different subject line formulas you can pull from to drive up open rates, but sometimes a welcome email that simply leverages the word “Welcome” is a great way to keep things simple and clear.
Along with your “Welcome” greeting, adding personalization is an easy way to make your email subject line feel more customized for the individual, and it’s proven to drive up open rates by as much as 26%. From there, you can continue to personalize even further by adding the subscriber’s name within the email body copy, as seen in the example below.
Again, there’s a simple feature for adding personalization to campaigns within Campaign Monitor.
Step 4: Choose an email template that meets your needs
When you’re ready to design the look and feel of your welcome email, you’ll want to select an email template that complements the objective you chose, and that fits well with your company branding.
For example, if you decided your welcome email objective would be to introduce new subscribers to your social media presence and to encourage engagement through those channels, you might design a campaign like this one from Fruit of the Loom.
Notice how the colors of the template complement the company branding, and that everything within the message is geared at driving social engagement.
Step 5: Test your welcome emails
Once your welcome email is all set up, you can begin to conduct different A/B tests to find what your audience most appreciates. You can run A/B tests on different subject lines, “From” names, and email content.
As you conduct your split testing, make note of which elements drive the most click-throughs, and use the most effective tactics as you move forward in designing and sending other email campaigns.
Strong examples of effective welcome emails
In case you need a bit more inspiration, we’ve collected a few highly effective examples of welcome emails you can learn from.
Seafolly, a beach and swimwear company, created a welcome email that leverages a bold hero image and simple welcome message for new subscribers. Within the email’s top navigation, subscribers see and explore specific website sections (and can ultimately make a purchase.)
Beauty subscription service Birchbox uses a series of welcome emails to share beauty tricks, makeup tips, and special offers. All of these messages work together to increase value for new customers.
Online ticket retailer, Broadway.com, automatically welcomes new customers with exclusive offers, including 20% off their first ticket purchase.
See how Broadway.com does it in this short video:
Following the process we’ve outlined here and learning from the examples we’ve showcased, you can create amazing welcome emails that kick off an ongoing conversation with your new subscribers.
Over time, the dialogue you’ve started through these initial messages will transform into strong customer relationships, and they’ll help drive sales at the same time.
If you’re ready to create a killer welcome email, check out our 10 Essential Elements of a Welcome Email for more insights on how to execute a professional email marketing welcome series.