Revamp Your Email Welcome Series

email welcome series (featured)

Editor’s note: This post is a refresh of “Revamp Your Welcome Series,” published December 29, 2015, by Marissa Petteruti.

An email welcome series helps you set the groundwork with new subscribers, establishing a prosperous relationship between them and your brand. It can increase the odds of your customers engaging early in the customer lifecycle, and even improve the quality of your list. In this post, I’m going to go over some simple steps to help you build a successful welcome series.

There are a lot of good things about new subscribers: they’re more engaged, they’re excited about your brand, and they’re statistically more likely to open, click, and purchase.

Need proof? According to Klaviyo data, welcome series emails receive 63% higher open rates, 86% higher click-through rates, and 83% higher revenue per recipient (RPR) than your average email campaign. Out of all our customers’ most commonly used flows, welcome series are second only to abandoned carts in terms of profitability.

Let’s dive in to see how you can revamp your email welcome series to help make a great first impression.

Timing your approach

Whether you’re using a double or single opt-in strategy, your first welcome email should be sent immediately after a new subscription is received. The new subscriber is the MOST engaged with your brand at that very moment, signaling they want more information — so give them what they want!

Of the highest performing email welcome series sent by our customers, 10 out of 10 first emails were sent immediately after subscriber sign up.

Because an email welcome series is meant to introduce new customers to your company, keeping the series contained to a short time span is recommended. I would suggest 3-4 emails within a three-day span.

email welcomes series graph

Looking at data collected from April 1 and June 30, 2016, you’ll see that open rates begin to drop after the 4th email. This is when you should stop sending. If you start a relationship by over-sending, you’re going to leave a bad taste in your new subscriber’s mouth and risk them unsubscribing.

Subject lines: get their attention

Subject lines convince an eager new subscriber to open their first email from you. And thus you need to concentrate some effort in crafting a compelling subject line.

Looking at our customer data, the three most common first welcome email subject lines – as well as their performance rates – are:

Open rate Click rate Revenue per recipient
Welcome to ___ 56.94% 9.62% $3.84
Welcome! 56.93% 8.97% $3.52
Thanks for joining! 25.04% 2.00% $0.11

Overwhelmingly, “Welcome to ____” is the most popular subject line amongst our customers. Our customers who simply welcomed their new subscriber to their store saw an average 56% open rate and $3.84 revenue per recipient. The similar but even more simple “Welcome” was also effective, with only a slight drop in performance.

Thanking the new subscriber for signing up, however, resulted in a significant dip in performance. Interesting. It seems that the word “Welcome” is a lot more welcoming (see what I did there) than “Thank you.”

Body Copy: introduce yourself

Welcome emails should convey your branding, illustrate best-selling products, and most importantly give recipients an idea of what your company is all about.

The key to successful email copy and design is to keep each email of the series simple, focused, and easy to read.

  • Disperse relevant content among the different emails in your email welcome series. Don’t cram everything into one email.
  • Place the majority of your core, clickable content before the scroll.
  • Include only 1-2 calls-to-action (CTAs) per email

If you’re trying to be a little more sophisticated and targeted, consider segmenting your welcome series to tailor your messaging around whether or not they’ve purchased. This helps turn new subscribers into first-time purchasers and repeat customers.

Customer who’s doing it right

A great example of a well-crafted, high-performing email welcome series comes from our friends at The Elephant Pants. Let’s take a look at what makes their strategy so good:

Signed up: Immediately received email

This welcome email does everything a first introduction should: says ‘hello’, makes the new subscriber feel a part of a special group, explains the brand, and gives opportunities to purchase as a subscriber.

Subject line: Welcome to The Elephant Pants Phamily
email welcome series (1)

My immediate thoughts — love the subject line “Welcome to The Elephant Pants Phamily.” Not only did they choose the highest performing subject line, but they added a little flare with a clever play on words with “Phamily.”

Before I even got to the copy, I felt the warmth of the brand: the heart ear of the elephant logo was also in the “o” of “Welcome” over an image of women in their elephant pants, with their arms around each other. The brand chose to focus on the inter-linked arms rather than the faces of the women, like a visual hug.

email welcome series (2)

And then the copy block. It starts with the logo elephant with “hi” in a talk bubble. And then the elephant theme-building salutation “welcome to our herd.” That’s three (count them – 3!) welcomes before anything else is said. If you weren’t included enough as a “phamily” member, now you’ve been welcomed to the “herd”, which is more than a brand – it’s a “community” of people related by a passion for…of course, elephants.

They’re not starting off an introduction with a “buy from us”, they’re starting off by telling subscribers the core of their brand mission and belief. And letting you know that they’re so dedicated to saving wild elephants, they “donate $1 per item sold to global initiatives” that support this belief. And NOW you realize why they’re called Elephant Pants. Again – linking business to core brand values.

email welcome series (3)

Before they get down to products and selling, they offer a new subscriber discount code and introduce you to their rewards program. Only after introducing themselves, and offering discounts (read gifts), do they get down to products and selling. This first email in the welcome series is all about building the relationship.

email welcome series (4)

Here is where we arrive at their best sellers — a gallery of beautiful photos of their most popular products. If you don’t see something you like, there’s a CTA that directs you to even more best sellers. And if you need help, there’s a link to contact their support staff.

Over the next three days, I received two more emails. They’re not overwhelming their customers with too much content, but they’re also not depriving new subscribers of anything significant.

But there’s more. The Elephant Pants cleverly segment their email welcome series into two groups:

  1. Those who purchased
  2. Those who didn’t purchase

By tailoring their messaging based on purchase history, their emails have received click rates 55% higher than our dataset average. Nice work!

Conclusion

I don’t have to tell you how important a welcome series is to building strong, long-term relationships. That doesn’t mean you can’t mess it up.

Timing your approach, crafting welcoming subject lines, and creating brand-focused content will help you create a great first impression with your subscribers. And don’t be afraid to test everything you do to see what resonates best with your audience. Do this and you’ll be creating beautiful long-term relationships with your new subscribers and customers.

 

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