CATEGORY: email-marketingBest practiceAutomation
Automating a great first impression
In the world of digital communication, first impressions matter just as much as they do in face-to-face interactions. When someone signs up to your email newsletter, they are essentially expressing interest in you, your company and what it is you are offering. This initial enthusiasm presents a great opportunity to captivate your audience and set the tone for future communications.
Enter the world of automating welcome emails – a powerful way to ensure a great first impression and help to build what will hopefully be a long-lasting connection with your subscribers.
Firstly – what is an automated welcome email series?
An automated welcome email series is a series of emails that are automatically triggered and sent when someone subscribes to your email list for the first time.
So why are first impressions in email marketing so important?
To put it into perspective, imagine walking into a store where the employees greet you, offer assistance and provide an overview of what is on offer. Now imagine walking into a store where the staff do not welcome you and stare you down as you enter, offering you no help. Which experience would you prefer? Some of the more anti-social ones among us may say the second scenario but majority of us will prefer the first.
The first experience would leave you feeling valued and informed, therefore likely increasing the chance of a return, or purchasing a product. Similarly, in the digital realm, your welcome series can help to foster the same emotions, establish trust, and build a connection with your subscribers.
Overall, an automated welcome email series allows you to set the stage for your new contact whilst increasing engagement and, if applicable, sales at the same time.
The best part about these series is that once they are set live, they work indefinitely. The series can remain untouched and will remain the same for your first and thousandth subscriber.
How many emails should be in a welcome series?
This is up to you and what you have to offer. At a minimum we would recommend an initial welcome email and an invitation to connect further on socials etc. If you have content or more emails to offer that’s great, you can build them up to a series of 10 emails.
It is also important to get the timing of these emails right, you don’t want to bombard a new subscriber with all these emails at once but at the same time you want to get them out whilst the subscriber is keen. The first email should be sent as soon as they have subscribed, after that it is again up to you to decide, however, a typical timeline would have 2-3 days in between each email depending on how many emails you have in your series.
Here’s an example of a simple series of 7 emails you could include in an email welcome series:
Instant recognition with a ‘thank you’ email
As soon as someone signs up for your newsletter, you should send an immediate ‘Thank You’ email. Expressing your gratitude for their interest. This email should be simple, straightforward, and set the scene for what’s to come.
Introduce yourself and your brand
The second email in your series can delve a little deeper into who you are what your brand stands for. You can share the value you intend to provide to your subscribers. Humanizing your brand and welcome series, helps to build a connection with your audience.
Showcase some of your best content
In the next email, you can highlight some of your top-performing and valuable content. This for example could be blog posts, videos, case studies and other form of content that aligns with what the subscriber has subscribed to. This not only provides immediate value but also showcases some of the content they can expect in the future.
Setting expectations is key to building trust. Use one of the emails in your welcome series to set the expectations for the frequency and type of content you’ll be sending to your subscribers. Doing so evokes anticipation from the subscriber and can help to improve engagement in your future emails.
Exclusive offers or content
Everyone loves to feel special. Providing an exclusive offer such as: a first-time discount; a free resource; or a sneak peek at premium content in your welcome emails not only displays the value of your content but encourages the subscribed audience to stay engaged in the future so that they don’t miss out on more opportunities.
Use a welcome series to promote your other channels whilst subscribers are engaged. Invite your subscribers to follow you on your social media channels. This helps to extend the relationship with your subscribers beyond their email inbox to other platforms as well as strengthening communication.
For the last email in your series, it can be a good idea to ask your subscribers to feedback. For this, you could create a brief survey to understand their preferences and interests, then request feedback on what they’ve seen so far. This shows you are interested in improving and learning more about the subscriber and provides you with valuable insights that could help you to tailor your future content to them.
Note: Only use the above example as a guide and for some ideas. A welcome series may vary from business to business, producing one tailored to you and your audience will be most beneficial.
Automated welcome email series for local authorities
Some of the examples above may not directly apply to local authorities for example, it's less likely that you will have a direct sales-oriented email.
For local authorities, you may have many different newsletters across different areas including fostering, recycling, education etc, and so you will need to tailor your emails slightly more to make your welcome series a success.
All the above email examples are still applicable or can be slightly altered for local authorities, some examples of emails a local authority may include a welcome series are:
An initial welcome
Introducing yourselves: What is you aim to accomplish, if it is a specific topic such as fostering, what is it that the council are aiming to do with that topic.
Showcasing your best content: This would only be applicable to specific topics. For example, recycling, you could share some of your favourite recycling tips or the bin collection days in the area and what to include in each coloured bin.
Social engagement: This is still important to local authorities; certain news may be shared first on popular social channels.
Events: Instead of promoting products, a suitable alternative for local authorities would be to promote your events or drive people to the events page on your website.
Services: Following on from events, during a welcome series would be the best time to promote the other services you may offer to subscribers.
We have created a demo website to showcase a range of customer journeys for local government using email and SMS to achieve their digital outcomes.
Everything on this demo website works, you can interact worth the pages and forms to trigger automated communications on each service as if you were a member of the public looking to engage with council services. You can browse through our library of mock up scenarios here.
If you are an e-shot user, you can create welcome series or any automated series by heading to Campaigns > Create new campaign. You will then see the option to select ‘Automated Series'.
Key tip: The personalisation advantage
Personalisation is more than just a friend. Adding personalisation into emails, in particular a welcome series, helps to tailor the content you send to the subscriber. This can be more than just addressing the subscriber by their name. Showing that you understand a subscriber’s preferences and incorporating personalised recommendations into your welcome series shows that you’re invested in the content you send them right from the start.
The power of automation
Crafting and producing a great email welcome series is just the beginning. You can then use an email marketing platform like e-shot to set this series of emails up and trigger them automatically when someone signs up, leaving you with little to no work. This ensures a consistent and timely delivery, even when you are not actively managing your email lists.
To add to the power of automation and welcome series. They often are known for receiving extremely good engagement rates, why is this? Well to put it simply, it is because they are looking for an email from you as a new subscriber, they would not have subscribed unless they were genuinely interested, so make effective use of the welcome period of a new subscriber.
To put it into perspective how effective welcome series’ are, here are some stats:
Welcome emails enjoy a high open rate, with more than 8 out of 10 people opening them, resulting in 4x as many open and 10x more clicks than other email types.
74% expect to receive a welcome email immediately after subscribing to a mailing list.
Welcome emails, on average, have a 4x higher open rate and 5x higher click-through rate than standard email marketing campaigns Automated welcome emails have strong performance metrics, including an average open rate of 80%, an average CTR of 26%, and an average CTOR of 28.70%.
Here are some of our favourite emails taken from various welcome email series:
Why do we like this email?
This email is one notable example of a welcome email as it offers the user a 15% off promo code. It’s a great way to say thank you to the contact for signing up. If you are offering products, this is a great way to boost sales and hopefully grab the interest of your new subscribers.
Why do we like this email?
We like this email as it grabs the reader's attention and makes them feel welcome by welcoming them to the team. This email also explains the brands mission, which is an effective way to build a connection. Again, in this email the subscriber is offered a first time 15% off promo code.
The Body Shop:
Why do we like this email?
This email again offers the user a discount with a 10% off promo code. Are favourite part of these email being they have included two buttons at the bottom. ‘Get to know us’ and ‘Shop now’. The ‘Get to know us’ button is a great way to make the subscriber feel welcome whilst also linking out to their website.
Why do we like this email?
We like this email for its simplistic look. Starbucks have not offered a free drink or promo code in their email however they have provided the subscriber with some options as to how they can make the most out of being a subscriber. This email also has a ‘Stay connected with us’ banner with links to all their social channels, something we previously mentioned as a good example to include in your own welcome series.
Automating a great first impression through a well thought out welcome email series is a great strategic approach for nurturing your new subscribers. By delivering value, sharing details, and setting clear expectations you can create a foundation for what is to come, whilst simultaneously building trust and hopefully engagement. All of which should lead to longer lasting relationships with your subscribers. Remember, the key here is to make your subscribers feel valued, informed, and excited about future content.
Email marketing healthcheck
We are confident that we can help you, which is why we offer a free healthcheck to identify potential issues with your current programme and free advice on things that could be done to improve it.