Importance of the Welcome Email
It’s easy to overlook that welcome email that you send to new subscribers to your newsletter, but that’s a big mistake. Why? Because, as an Experian white paper shows, welcome emails have an open rate that’s much higher than typical newsletter open rates.
This chart, from the Experian white paper, shows an open rate for welcomes at nearly 58%, compared with about 15% for typical newsletters.
Note also that the click rate is also much higher, nearly seven times as high.
So the welcome email is a great time to reach prospects and customers with your message.
When Should You Send It
Your newsletter software may offer you a choice between sending the welcome right away or in a batch at some later time.
The right time is right away! The same Experian white paper shows the open and click rates for immediate welcomes is much higher than for later, batch welcomes–as you’d expect–when someone has just subscribed, you’re on their mind.
If your newsletter software won’t send a message to new subscribers, this advantage is important enough that you should replace it. An excellent and very popular WordPress newsletter plugin–the one I use–is MailPoet. The free version lets you send an immediate welcome.
The First Message
Start by thanking the new subscriber for joining the list. Then deliver your first message–your vision and mission, told in your own voice. What are you up to? What do you deliver, and to which people?
This is your opportunity to tell this customer or prospect that you stand for and deliver things that are important and worthwhile, to reinforce the message that was already delivered about you, that drew this subscriber to you in the first place.
Remember the old saying that you never get a second chance to make a first impression! This is your opportunity to deliver the basic message about your whole business and what you stand for.
Now Offer a Surprise
All of us love to be surprised! This is your chance to delight your new subscriber with a surprise. What sorts of things can you use to do this? The advantage of the welcome newsletter is that you’re not setting a pattern here–this is the first one, so you can offer a welcome gesture that you may not repeat.
Because this is a special occasion, the usual caution about offering discounts in the newsletter–that they can undermine your price structure and create you a body of customers who won’t buy at regular price–doesn’t apply. You can offer a discount coupon. You can even offer a more dramatic special–if you’re a restaurant, offer a “bring a friend” coupon with two meals for the price of one! Be careful to call it a one-time welcome offer so that it’s clear this will not be a regular event.
You can also offer other surprises, such as free shipping, all sorts of goodies as premiums, or even an ebook. Whatever suits your particular business.
The Standard Outline
If you’re a regular reader of these notes, you’re aware that I recommend that you establish a standard outline for your newsletters, and follow it with each one. This allows the subscriber to know what to expect–there will be a recipe, perhaps, perhaps an interesting client story, perhaps a description of a new product feature. This way, if your subscriber likes one newsletter, she knows that subsequent newsletters will be of interest too.
For the welcome newsletter, forget the standard outline! This newsletter has a very special job to do that’s different from other newsletters, so you don’t need to follow your regular pattern.
The Bottom Line
Establish a special welcome to new subscribers of your newsletter. And in this welcome, offer them something really special.
Of course you have a newsletter! If not, go directly to jail and do not pass Go. Instead, read other articles here about your newsletter and get started. It’s the best way to build your business on the Web.