A Best Practice Guide to Welcome Email Campaigns
A welcome email is likely to be the first piece of communication that a prospective customer receives from your brand, and it’s at a time when they are highly engaged.
As a result, welcome emails typically see 4x greater open rates than general bulk campaigns, 5x greater click-through rates, and 8 x more revenue per email.
Within this guide we look at the fundamentals of an effective welcome campaign strategy, with a range of examples and best practices to help you increase loyalty and conversions with your subscribers from day one.
To get us started here are some statistics to show you why welcome messages are such an important part of your email marketing strategy.
Compared to a normal marketing email, welcome emails generate:
– 50-60% more open rates
– 5 x more click-through rates
– 9 x more purchasing potential
– 8 x more revenue per email
– 50% – 86% more engagement than email newsletters
Subscribers who receive a welcome email show 33% more engagement with the brand but despite these numbers, only 58% of brands send these to their newly subscribed users.
What should welcome messages do?
Introduce your brand
Your welcome email is the perfect opportunity to introduce your brand and make a lasting first impression. Let the subscriber know who you are – perhaps include some company heritage and social proof of why others love your brand. We look at examples of this later on in the guide.
Set future expectations
Inform your new subscribers of what to expect from your future email correspondents, be this a short list of the variety of content you will be sending such as offers, how to’s, meet the team, new product announcements and more. Keeping it snappy is more likely to keep your subscribers wanting more as they can easily digest the information.
Product/service features (filling the knowledge gap)
Your welcome email can set your customers on an empowering journey, especially if this email is directly after they have purchased their first product or service with you. It is a perfect opportunity to share more information with them such as a how to guide on their new product. Not only does this help ensure they engage with their purchase but the helpful intent of your email builds customer loyalty. This can also be a good opportunity to help cross and upsell your services in a complementary way – don’t be too pushy though. A gentle nudge is enough at this stage.
Potential offer to get them back to your website
Offering your new subscriber an incentive such as a discount can be a great way to help drive the first sale, which you can include in your welcome emails.
When a subscriber first joins your list, it’s likely to be the most opportune moment to engage with them. So it makes perfect sense to offer them an incentive to purchase such as a discount or a deal.
Ask to socially connect or for referrals
Ask your new subscribers to connect with you on your social networks. This helps to ensure that they are more regularly engaged through a range of mediums, helping you build more rapport and an ongoing dialogue which gives your a stronger relationship.
Creating three stage welcome series
Keep your brand at the top your subscribers minds during the decision making process with a three-stage welcome series.
A typical welcome series should look like:
Email one: send it immediately – The content should include thanking your new subscribers for signing up, give them a pleasant welcome, and set them expectations on which type of content they will receive from you.
Email two: let your subscribers know about your brand, what is your ‘Why’. This will help them believe in your brand and keep them loyal.
Email 3: Let them know about your product range, try and keep it personalised to increase engagement, also let them know how they can contact your if needed i.e. your customer service number, your support website, FAQs etc. This is a great way to build continued trust.
Email one. Timing is everything
When it comes to sending your first welcome email timing is everything, this is when they are at their most engagement, so this is a great opportunity to make an impactful first impression. Remembering that you signed up to a newsletter can be easily forgotten in such a busy world, so sending your welcome email quickly will reinforce your brand in their memory.
Send your first welcome email within 24hrs of them subscribing to make maximum impact.
Make sure you welcome your new subscribers and as we previously mentioned set expectations for the types of content they will receive in the future, be this product updates, discounts, or any other content that you suggest will benefit them.
Email two. Provide value
Your second welcome email should add value to your new subscribers, so how do we do this?
Use your second email to promote your brand values to gain your new subscribers trust, you may also want to include an incentive such as an offer to help convert them into a paying customer, this is also the perfect opportunity to include some social proof or a how to on your most popular products, to entice them further.
Here are some content ideas:
– A breakdown of the key products or services your provide
– How they can get in touch with you if needed, or if you have physical locations, give them a map with all of your locations on
– A preference centre letting them know they can control the content they receive
Email three. Your call to action
Your third welcome email is the key opportunity to make your subscribers take an action and potentially make their first purchase.
Subscribers can really be prompted to make their first purchase with an exclusive offer, only make available within this email and personalised to them.
What you should include:
– Your subject line and header need to tell them exactly what to expect, make it impactful as this will be key in converting them
– Make the offer stand out in your email and make sure you tell them the step by step way in how to redeem this
– Include a large visible button for them to click, use call to action words such as – ‘buy now’, ‘book a demo’, ‘offer ends soon’.
– Reinforce this offer with social proof and a testimonial, or increase urgency with a time limit
Welcome email deliverability
As you can see, if you’re not sending a welcome email then you’re missing out on one of the best ways to increase engagement. However now is also a crucial time to consider how you can improve your deliverability and nail your inbox placement with those valuable new subscribers.
If your welcome email is sent from your CRM or eCommerce system it’s a great first step forward, but it is not in the right direction. This means your domain and IP for your marketing emails has not been used and therefore has no impact on their inbox placement in future.
You maybe wondering ‘why?’. Well this is because an inbox in the modern world is a plethora of behavioural algorithms that records how you react to the emails you receive. If a customer opens your first email you have sent them, clicks or engages with it in any way, regardless of where your email goes first off, the inbox now will see your message as friendlier and will increase your chances of hitting the inbox next time.
So how do you get people to engage with your first welcome email to help ensure continued email success? A content mini-series, eBooks and helpful blogs are all helpful, but ensure the recipient has to click-through to get the full details. Driving that subscriber back to your website, landing page or hosted content is a great way to for that inbox algorithm to really think favourably of your campaigns. Letting you customer know what is to come is also a great way of engaging your subscribers and getting them to check their inbox for further messages.
You may be thinking “This all sounds great, but how can you make it better?’” Double opt-in gives you a chance for your first interaction with your customer to include 2 emails, 2 calls to actions and therefore doubling your chance to look great to the inbox. A welcome series containing further incentives, content and call to actions will maximise your welcome email results. Just make sure you let them know it’s coming!
The more you can get your subscriber to engage the better. And the best time to improve your inbox placement is right at the start of your subscriber’s journey with you.
Welcome email best practice
Make sure you send your welcome email in a timely manner, we suggest within the first 24 hours, but the sooner the better, as within this time is when your new subscribers are most engaged with your brand and likely to interact with your content and hopefully make a purchase.
Engaging subject lines
An engaging subject line is important to welcome your new subscribers, so let them know what to expect, give them a reason to open and set the tone for things to come. Check out our guide ‘The Art, Science and Future of Subject Lines’ for some inspiration.
Make sure it’s automated
Automation is key to a successful welcome campaign. This not only ensures your new subscribers receive your content at the most opportune time for engagement, but it removes the burden of you having to manually batch email your new subscribers. You can also create an automated welcome email series to nurture your subscribers with personalised engaging content to create customer loyalty and drives sales.
Personalise the content
Personalisation is key to a successful welcome email campaign, so make sure you include any personalised data you have collected on signup, be this their name or information on products they have browsed on your website. This will certainly help increase the chance of converting your subscribers into paying customers.
You can also progressively profile your customers throughout your welcome email series, or direct them to your preference centre where they can choose the types of content they would like to receive, to personalise their journey with you further. So they only receive the right content and the right time for you, which will increase the chance of conversation and reduce the chance of them unsubscribing.
Give an incentive for the first purchase
Incentives are a great way to help convert your new subscribers into customers, we’ve explored a wide range of content you can include, including free shipping, discount codes and more. These incentives coupled with content such as social proof, recommended products will certainly help increase the likelihood of conversions.
11 Examples of Welcome Emails
Savvy marketers use welcome emails to introduce their brand to new subscribers and ease them along to their first purchase. But what makes a welcome email effective?
Let’s explore eleven examples of effective welcome emails and discuss why they work so well.
1) Set a positive tone
Start your subscriber relationship off on a positive note by congratulating them on their decision to join you.
A congratulatory message reassures new subscribers that they’ve made a wise choice and makes them feel part of something worthwhile. The positive sentiment this creates makes that first purchase more likely.
We love this example from Topman. The confident tone of the congratulatory welcome email reminds shoppers how confident they’d feel if they shopped with the fashion brand:
2) Promote free delivery
If you offer free delivery, your welcome emails are a great place to promote this.
Having to pay for delivery may be a purchase barrier for your new subscribers. Removing this may entice them to buy.
Urban Outfitters promote their free delivery in simple bold style in this example:
3) Introduce key product lines
Your welcome emails are an opportunity to introduce subscribers to key product lines that might interest them. This helps them explore your website and discover their first purchase.
We love this cute example from Lego that introduces the different collections it has to offer:
4) Create a sense of community
People feel more warm and loyal towards brands that create a sense of community. Your welcome emails are a place to cultivate this.
Nike’s welcome email makes strong use of images of people. This gives subscribers a sense of the community of customers they’re now a part of:
5) Make them feel special
Use your welcome email to make your new subscribers feel special. Tell them about the exclusive messages they can expect from you and get them excited to open your next email.
This example from Debenhams shows how you can tempt subscribers by explaining how you’ll keep them in the know:
6) Say thank you
Another rapport building welcome email tactic is to say thank you. This makes subscribers feel valued and encourages them to see your brand in a positive light.
La Redoute uses thank you messaging well in this example, adding a discount to support the sentiment:
7) Communicate your values
Customers like to shop with brands that share their values. Show your customers what’s important to you in your welcome email.
This example from Lakeland shows how you can communicate your values openly and honestly. It’s wordier than some of our other examples but gives a strong sense of what matters to the brand:
8) Reinforce your brand image
For brands that are heavily design-focused, the welcome email is prime real estate to reinforce the visual image of the brand.
Fossil does this well in this striking image-led example:
9) Promote your best content
Whether it’s a how-to video or interactive tool, if your brand has invested in high-quality content your welcome email is the ideal place to promote this.
We have fallen head over heels for this welcome email from Mac because it’s simply brimming with classy content:
10) Introduce your loyalty scheme
Your loyalty scheme is a great way to turn customers into brand advocates. The sooner you get your customers involved, the better!
Introduce your VIP or loyalty scheme in your welcome email to keep your subscribers close from day one.
Jersey Beauty Company gives its VIP scheme a stylish push in this example:
11) Give your customers a tour
Those new to your brand may not know their way around your website or social channels just yet, so give them a tour.
Signpost them to the various ways they can find you in your welcome email so they can get in touch in whatever way suits.
Innocent has taken a very literal approach to this, which we think works really well:
Throughout this guide we’ve looked at the fundamentals of creating engaging, timely welcome email journeys. We’ve seen that it is important to start your subscribers journey with you with personality, clear call to actions while giving them an insight into your brand.
Most importantly we’ve seen how welcome emails drive more engagement compared to your standard marketing email campaigns and how you can capitalise on this opportunity.
Make your welcome emails fun, keep testing and trying different types of content to ensure maximum engagement and see what works for your brand.
Keep the content personalised to each subscriber and use automation to remove the burden of having to manually send these. Timing is everything, especially at such a high level of engagement your subscribers will have as soon as they signup, take advantage of this and drive conversions and capitalise on this timely opportunity.
We’ve also explored eleven effective ways to tempt subscribers to become customers with your welcome emails.
We hope you have fun adding your brand’s personality to these ideas and implementing them in your own welcome campaigns.
If you need any help with your welcome emails, do not hesitate to contact us. Our professional services team have created a wide range of best practice welcome email campaigns for some of the UK’s leading brands.