Many brands send welcome emails and—while some do a better job at it than others—this is smart email marketing. Well-done welcome emails get the consumer/brand relationship off to a good start by reminding subscribers why they signed up in the first place, reiterating the promises made at signup, and getting consumers into the habit of seeing emails from you in their inboxes.

And these welcome emails work. Almost 75% of consumers expect a welcome email when they subscribe, and these kinds of emails tend to have higher than average open rates as a result—some say as high as 50%.

Welcome emails work, but are you working your welcome?

If welcome emails are anticipated by three-quarters of the population and welcome emails have up to 4 times the open rate of other marketing emails, shouldn’t we be working those welcomes, asking ever more of them?

That’s why I’m offering up three ways to work your welcomes and get even better long-term results from them:

  1. Improve your deliverability: Your first welcome email is a great time to ask to be added to their address books to ensure your emails make it into their inboxes. All you need to do is include a little text to that effect, reminding them they won’t get your great content if they don’t see your emails.
  1. Ask for (or glean) more info: At signup is not the time to ask for more than the basics of name and email address, right? Studies show that the more information you ask for at signup, the fewer signups you’ll get. So use your welcome email to ask for more information via a very brief survey or build up customer profiles by tracking email and on-site behaviors.
  1. Get them familiar with your brand: Rather than treat your welcome email like a one-time, there-I’ve-sent-it-and-now-I’m-done kind of email, make it the start of a series. Now, wait. I don’t mean the start of your email marketing messages. I mean the start of a getting-to-know you series. Your welcome email could be the first in a series of emails that educates the subscriber about your business or brand a little at a time. It could be a series of useful tips. It could be a series explaining how your gizmos work or how to shop for a CRM system. The possibilities are practically endless, but the point is not to use your welcome email as the jumping off point for all of the “buy now” emails you want to send, but rather the start of a warm-up period.

And when you’re workin’ your welcomes, also remember to apply some commonsense best practices, both in the beginning and as you put these welcomes into practice:

  • To start, invest some serious time and effort into the creation of your welcome emails. Test your subject lines, offers and timing, and refine all of the above in pursuit of the most effective welcome email you can manage. This is a really important part of your email marketing program, not something you simply check off your list as “done.”
  • As you go along, keep an eye on the analytics: How well does your welcome email (or series) perform? Are there variations? Perhaps welcome emails sent on Sundays don’t do as well as those sent on Saturdays. Adjust your program accordingly. Pay attention to seasonal fluctuations too. If you’re seeing a trend upward or downward, then maybe it’s time to…
  • Regularly review your content: Although set-it-and-forget-it emails save time and effort in the long run, they need to be reviewed on a regular basis to make sure they’re still on brand and current.

If you’re sending out welcome emails to new subscribers, you’re off to a good start. Now let’s take those early emails to the next level and really work those welcomes to get even more results from them!

-G.

Gerald MarshallGerald Marshall is Head of Operations at Email Industries, the folks behind Indiemark and BlackBox.