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What should go in my Welcome Email?


Welcome emails are often the bit that gets dashed out with the website and neglected for years. For that reason, they need to be regularly updated and – if you have more than one audience – tweaked to match their aims and preferences. Like all good friendships, you need to start out on the right foot.

1. When and where does your welcome email land?

I’ve written about this before; your impression on your audience is fleeting. Your welcome email should trigger the minute they subscribe – especially if you offer a discount, download or gift. Ensure your thank you message reminds them to check their junk mail – a lot of new senders end up in that box, because they don’t have an existing relationship and their subscriber forgets to check. The same goes (to a lesser extent) for the Gmail Promotions tab.

2. Let them know who it’s from.

Imagine for a minute that you have just exchanged telephone numbers with someone at a networking meeting. You don’t just say ‘hi’ in an unlisted text message; you type in ‘it’s Anita Lovelace from CoachUsUp’.

The same applies to your ‘Sender address’. Don’t bother with marketing@CoachUsUp. That’s the corporate barrier coming down. People enjoy email from other people, so use a name and the same URL as your website (or landing sign-up page). We want them to recognise, smile and open it.

3. Be direct with your subject line.

It might have been several hours since they signed up or even days. Your email is one of ten others and they are scanning through the list, looking for reasons to delete. So, keep it simple. You can’t go wrong with ‘welcome’ or remind them of the fantastic gift you have sent through. Of course, you can add your own touch – ‘Welcome to the CoachTribe. Here’s that Happiness report we promised.”

The subject line should be no more than 9 words / 60 characters. That’s short, but you still have the preheader for humour, sarcasm or additional information about the email’s content.

4. The header image should be consistent with the rest of your website.

If you choose to have a header. It’ not compulsory, but you want that visual match and ‘aha’ moment of brand recognition. Even if you are writing a text-heavy email newsletter, having a slim banner – like that of a newspaper header – helps to guide the eye on the screen.

On of the most best marketers I am privileged to meet uses a mascot icon in the lefthand corner of his welcome email and invites everyone to his Facebook Group to hear the story behind it. At this point, it’s got a name, a birthday, it’s own T-shirt and an entire mythology in the archives.

5. Use personalisation

You did ask for their first name, when they signed up? One of the amazing things about email is the ability to customize it to each member of your audience, limited only by time and sanity.

6. Just one paragraph is enough.

You will have months to tell them about you, your brand and all of your products. This bit of the email is the equivalent of taking their coat after they have knocked on the door of your house. You want them to get comfortable without lingering on the doorstep. Say something direct about yourself, reiterate the promise you made to them on sign up (what to expect and when) and that you are thrilled they joined.

7. Be easy and explicit about what you want them to do.

Following on with the above analogy: you’d say to your guests; ‘can I take your coat?’, rather than ‘here’s a peg and a shoe rack.’ The same applies to your call-to-action.

  • If it’s a report – download that report.
  • If it’s discount, signpost them back to the website and tell them when and how to use it.
  • If it’s to join a webinar; tell them to add it to their calendar
  • If it’s to follow any social media account or group, link directly to the group

Above all, use a clear, clickable button. Around half of all email messages are opened on a mobile and it’s a lot easier for our thumbs than a text link.

8. Don’t be afraid to write a welcome series.

It’s a lot easier to digest several actions across separate email bites than to swallow it in a single big missive. However – don’t take my word for it. You can run a test, either using an A/B split test workflow or alternating between two set-ups. This also goes back to my initial point at the beginning: it’s worth reviewing your welcome email on a regular basis to see how you can improve it.

If you are still in need of some visual inspiration, take a look at these welcome emails, featured by Hubspot.


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