When someone subscribes to your newsletter, what does the very first email look like? What type content does it have?
Is it a general promotional email that everyone else on your list is getting? Or is it a special “welcome email” that kicks off a “welcome flow” that is designed to better acquaint subscribers with you and, most importantly, buy more?
In ecommerce, it’s better to use a series of welcome emails. It’s a way to say thank you for joining and an opportunity to give tips and tricks on what you offer and how to get the best out of the stuff that you’re selling. It’s just being polite really.
And it turns out that being polite has its upsides as well. Welcome emails have shown to have incredible open and click rates when compared to regular email campaigns.
Why? Think about it. Receiving a welcome email means that the subscriber signed up, thereby giving his or her permission to start receiving messages like these. You’re naturally more likely to open emails that you signed up for.
Things get more interesting when we start to look at transactions rates and revenue per email in welcome campaigns. They drive significantly more transactions AND revenue when compared to “normal” promotional or even informational emails.
Because of their increased ability to drive sales, welcome emails place a premium price on having a clear and understandable call-to-action (CTA) that is designed to drive more sales.
Without it, you’re potentially saying goodbye to up to three times the revenue of normal campaigns.
Further research shows that offers in various welcome emails lead to higher transactions rates and revenue per email than those without.
Those offers could include:
- Discounts – percentage or monetary sum off
- Personalized offers based on browsing and buying data
- Information on your rewards program
- Everything shipping – free shipping (thresholds), fast processing time, returns policy etc
- Information on your mobile app and why it’s good and better than anything they’ve ever seen
- Free gifts and more
Now, this doesn’t mean that you should include all of them in one email and be golden. That’s not how it works. The list above is simply an example of the kinds of offers that have worked for others, it’s not a guarantee for success.
Instead of blindly copying it, you should look into your own data and determine which factors are driving more sales in your emails and then incorporate those things into your email campaigns to test them out.
A big part of this testing is also design related. It makes a difference whether your main CTA (LET’S START SHOPPING) looks like this:
Or like this:
While not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, the CTA from Oasis at least manages to stand out while also giving a perfectly valid reason — free delivery – to click on that all important “start shopping” button.
A quick note on timing
As far as timing is concerned, it’s best to send out the welcome email in real time as they have shown to increase opens and clicks and lift transaction rates and revenue per email up to 10 times more when comparing to batched welcomed.
What follows is a collection of real life welcome emails that merchants are sending their new subscribers. These are not meant to be blatantly copied, but rather used as inspiration on how to achieve the same goal, driving more sales, in different ways via design and copy.
This one from Warehouse has seemingly all the right information available in the welcome email — it mentions free delivery threshold, easy returns and promotes their mobile app. What lets it’s down is the design. Everything looks the same, nothing stands out. It’s just a wall of text and their main CTA is not even a button. It’s just a text link which doesn’t stand out.
OshKosh makes their perks a bit easier to understand by simply adding bullet points in front of each perk. This little design decision makes it a whole lot easier to grasp and while “shop now” and “find a store” CTAs look identical, they at least stand out from the background.
They should make the one which is more important more prominent — which one drives more revenue: shopping now or finding a store? Whichever it is, make that one stand out more!
Offers (free shipping and free returns)? – ✓
Perks (new arrivals, exclusive promotions)? – ✓
On brand design? – ✓
Prominent CTA? – ✓
King Arthur Flour
While the welcome email covers all the bases and has prominent CTAs as well as other useful information and is on brand and showcases the company’s personality, for whatever reason it lacks a CTA to their online store.
Right off the bat, there’s a prominent CTA which is followed by a five-point explainer with useful information and reasons for why buying from them is a great idea.
Like GILT, Karen Milles uses a five-point explainer on why it’s good to buy for them. The only thing missing is a prominent “shop now” or similar CTA. The five reasons to include links, but none of them is inviting to click and shop per se.
Great looking welcome email from REI. While this is missing a bespoke CTA for shopping now, they have included a coupon with a prominent CTA which is meant to drive traffic to their online store.
Saks Fifth Avenue
Saks Fifth Avenue start their welcome series by offering a 10% discount for new subscribers. That is followed up by one explaining how shopping at Saks is different, which is followed by one with all their social accounts and finally ending by asking for personal preferences so that they can send better targeted campaigns going forward.
Soap & Glory
While, interestingly, Soap & Glory use their welcome email to offer a coupon that can only be used at their brick & mortar locations. And an interesting way to try and drive foot tracking to their offline stores.
And BONOBOS uses no photographs of their products or beautiful scenery ones and instead is simply displaying a combo offer of 20% off & free shipping.
Like the examples above have shown, there are many different ways that a welcome email can look and feel like. There are ones with offers, and ones without. Some include beautiful graphics and product shots while others have a view words in a fancy font. They all work.
Which ones are you going to modify and test out with your own audience next?