Welcome Messages: Your Only Chance to Make a Great First Impression

It’s polite to send a welcome message to new subscribers. But more importantly, it’s good business. In fact, it’s necessary business. Failing to send a compelling welcome message equates to opting out of one of email marketing’s most important engagement tools. The statistics on welcome-email performance are astonishing. According to Experian research, they have:

  • A 57.8% open rate (compared to 14.6% for other types of messages)
  • A 14.4% click rate (compared to just 2.7% for other types)
  • A conversion rate of .94% (compared to .10% for a typical email)

The case for welcome messages

Welcome messages are also significant revenue drivers, resulting in 320% more revenue than other promotional emails, reports Christina DesMarais at Inc. She cites a compelling scientific reason for why they work so well: “Psychologically speaking, the welcome email has a unique advantage over a promotional email. It’s triggered by the user, immediately follows the person’s action, and feels like a user-directed experience.”

Not sending a welcome message is itself a message to new subscribers – one you don’t want them to receive. Research indicates that 74% of new subscribers expect a welcome as soon as they subscribe and that 45% of first-time purchases by new subscribers happen within 24 hours of sign-up, WordStream reports.

“Welcome messages help lay the foundation for building a clean, responsive email list,” write Laura Christensen and Alexandra Braunstein on the Return Path blog. They cite a study that found that subscribers who read welcome emails are significantly more likely to read subsequent messages, with an average 50 percent read rate post-welcome message. They also offer these guidelines for making your welcome messages as engaging as possible:

How to create engaging welcome messages

  • Timing is everything – Trigger your welcome message immediately following sign-up, while your brand is top-of-mind and new subscribers are likely to engage.
  • Set expectations – Reiterate subscription benefits provided during sign-up. Demonstrate immediate value with a preview of what subscribers can expect next, including type of content, frequency, and value.
  • Personalize the message – Use subscriber-provided data to personalize the welcome message. Or, if subscriber data is not captured at sign-up, use the welcome email to ask subscribers to share their preferences receive tailored messages.
  • Make it easy to say goodbye – The welcome message should include an easy opt-out method for people who didn’t subscribe or who have second thoughts about opting in.

“A welcome email is the first exchange between your business and a new customer or prospect,” write Katie Lundin at Crowdspring. “It sets the tone for future communications, encourages people to take a closer look at your company’s products or services, and provides helpful information.” With those goals in mind, she offers seven tips to guide the development of welcome-message content:

Content goals for your welcome emails

  • Express gratitude – Share a thank-you with your customer for signing up with you. They will appreciate it.
  • Showcase your brandGiven the extremely high likelihood that your new subscriber is going to engage with your welcome, this is no time to skimp on design; rather, it’s time to show off your branding elements in all their glory.
  • Know your goal – What do you want your welcome message to do, beyond its fundamental function of greeting your new subscriber? The message could also help sell your product, trigger a download of a giveaway, or any number of other actions. Make sure you have a goal before you hit “send.”
  • Include a clear call to action – It’s great to have a goal (see immediately above) but you also have to make it easy for it to be achieved – which can only happen if you include a clear call to action. Make it prominent, eye-catching, and specific.
  • Build relationships with reciprocity – If you use your welcome message to provide your customer with something of value, such as a special offer or discount, you are likely to trigger them to respond in kind, perhaps with purchase. It’s the principle of reciprocity at work, a topic we covered in this post.
  • Build loyalty through exclusivity – Making your new subscribers feel like they are privy to something (anything!) that other people can’t obtain can help build loyalty and lead to conversions. Use your welcome message to invite subscribers to join a special “club” or gain access to limited offers.
  • Don’t forget the subject line – You did something right – you got someone to tell you they want to hear from you. Now you must get them excited about opening your first message to them as a subscriber. Your subject line will ensure that happens, so make it short and personable, and craft it in a way that reminds them of why they subscribed in the first place.

Want to take a deeper dive into welcome messages? The folks at Pure360 have compiled a list of 11 examples they find particularly effective. Check it out.