Why Now's a Good Time to Take a Look at Your Welcome Emails
Mar 11, 2009
Email is traditionally a 'retention' tactic: You use it to retain your existing customers & grow them into bigger customers. But, when most of your existing clients are looking to cut costs, now's a great time to focus on the people who are actively telling you "we're interested...".
A 'welcome' email is exactly that: Customers & prospects telling you for the first time "hey, feel free to tell me more about yourselves". Here's a look at why you should pay some attention to your welcome emails.
What Makes Welcome Emails Different to Other Marketing Emails? One Thing...
- Most of your emails will be 'push' emails. They've told you "please talk to me at some point..." and you then choose how & when you'll talk to them via email. A 'welcome' email is a 'pull' email: They are saying "please talk to me... now!"
What Do You Mean By 'Welcome Email' Anyway? Two Things...
There are 2 basic types of welcome email:
- Welcome to our website/company. Send this out when someone registers on your site.
- Welcome to our emails. Send this out following an opt in.
Why Are They Important? Three Things...
- They're very likely to be read (or at least looked at). This could be the most opened emails you'll ever send!
- Signup is a very important phase in your relationship with customers & prospects. They've just told you "hey, I'm new and I want to get to know you"
- If a customer ever needs to find something out about your company quickly, this is one of the places they'll look.
What Should You Put in a Welcome Email? Four Things...
- The obvious bit: The words 'Welcome' & 'Thank you'.
- Information that will help the customer draw a more detailed picture of what you offer.
- A reason to contact you & further the relationship. A free whitepaper as a thank you? A guide to something you do really well?
Do These Have To Be 'One Size Fits All'? Five Things...
- If the signup is from a prospect, include something to help them become a customer (a special introductory offer maybe?)
- If the signup is from an existing customer, send them something specific to their point in the lifecycle with you. They bought a car from you 2 years ago & you know they'll be looking again in a year's time? How about a guide to next year's models? Finance options to upgrade sooner?
- If your business is broad, you don't have to pack it all into the email. Use links to pages on your site with more information on the specific topics your subscribers will be interested in.
- If your customers are neatly segmented, segment your welcome email! You sell to businesses AND consumers? Find out which is which before you send the first email & send one that's applicable to them.
- Or even... use the welcome email to segment. Filling signup forms with form options can reduce the number of signups. Using a simple signup form & then a mini-survey in your 'welcome' email may work for you.
Okay, I'm Sold... What Else Can I Do To Make These More Effective? Six Things...
- As this email will impact everyone who signs up with your business from now till eternity, you should tweak & optimise it. Figure out beforehand what it should achieve and how you will track that.
- Check the delivery, open and clickthrough rates. Change the email. Check them again. Did they go up or down?
- If you like, you can even set up a control group. Do your welcome emails affect sales through other channels? Set up a group of people who *don't* receive your welcome emails & you can find out.
- Have a look at timings too. Are these more effective if you send them immediately? After an hour? After a day?
- And it doesn't have to be just 1 email. You could set up a staged welcome program. Combine offers and 'softer' info about your business to convert customers without them feeling hard-sold.
- If you set up a series it needn't necessarily follow a 'Part 1, Part 2, Part 3' pattern. Some email systems let you get clever: "After Email 1: Did customer buy main product? If yes, send them a 'top accessories' email. If no, send them a 'special offer this week only' email". Like a film with 5 middles, 10 endings and 50 sequels all tailored to the audience.
How About You?
What's in your welcome email? Do you track it? Tell us in the comments!