4 Steps to Making a Human Connection With Welcome Messages
Most marketers know by now that welcome emails are not a luxury, but a necessity — and yet a number of prominent brands may be missing their opportunity to make a first impression. A recent report by Return Path showed that only 75 of the top 100 retail companies employed a welcome email of any kind (only three of those had a comprehensive welcome series!).
Here's how to improve your email marketing program by employing and analyzing smart welcome messages:
Step 1: Strategize
Decide on your goals and strategic approach to welcoming new customers. Here, you can decide whether you want to send a single welcome and then feed new customers into the regular stream of email, or establish a welcome series. Return Path found only three of the top retailers using a welcome series, but those companies saw dramatic differences in their new subscriber engagement and in their ability to predict which customers would deliver the most value in their first six months.
Step 2: Provide Instant Gratification
Large campaigns work fine for daily deals and regular offers, but by its very nature, a welcome is more personal. Just as when a customer enters with your store for the first time, the most effective approach is to recognize them as a valued individual. By sending a message immediately upon signup, you can complete the one-to-one digital handshake extended by your subscriber. Recall the AT&T example: Customers who were greeted within 10 seconds reported a better overall experience — even when the service was no different.
Step 3: Don't Overthink the Subject Line. Just Say, 'Hi!'
Our research showed that although 25% of retailers leveraged welcome messages to offer discounts and deals, it didn't matter. They were read at the same rate as welcomes promising nothing. Yours don't have to be more than straightforward messages indicating you are excited and thankful to have a new subscriber on board. Keep it simple.
Note: This is not to say that offers aren't effective. In fact, the study showed that Gap experienced a 53% open rate after sending a welcome email that offered a 25% off coupon. If your content strategy is to use offers, then make sure they include two features to replicate what worked for the most successful senders in the study: They should be time-sensitive (e.g., Your 10% off coupon expires tomorrow), and they should have a clear call to action (e.g., Read this to save 25% on any pair of jeans!).
Step 4: Identify Low Engagement and Start Reactivation Early