Email Marketing: 10 Smart Strategies to Make Your Welcome Emails Hit the Mark


Imagine walking into a hardware store where you’ve never been before. You expect the salesperson to acknowledge you in some way, extend a perfunctory “hello” (if you’re lucky), then go back to whatever he was doing before you walked through the door–but that’s not what happens. Instead, the salesperson walks over to you sporting a big smile and says, “Hi, I’m Don. I don’t think I’ve seen you here before. I just wanted to let you know we have a 10% discount on all our power tools today. If there’s anything else you need help with, just let me know.”

Why Welcome Emails Are So Important

A good welcome email does more than just say “welcome.” It establishes the whole tone of a company’s relationship with its new customers—will that relationship be personal or “corporate,” proactive or reactive, customized or cookie-cutter?

Consumers expect to receive welcome emails, and they like them.  According to a recent study by Return Path, 34% of consumers read welcome emails compared to 24% for all other types of emails. That presents an unparalleled opportunity for businesses to connect with new customers at the precise moment their enthusiasm is peaking, to push their brand and initiate the buyer’s journey.

Businesses can leverage that opportunity by sending welcome emails that resonate with their recipients.

Here are 10 smart strategies to make your welcome emails as effective as possible, and to make a great first impression:

1. Send it the same day

It’s important to send your welcome email as soon as possible—that’s why 75% of marketers send a welcome email the same day someone subscribes, according to The Email Subscriber Experience. Whatever content grabbed the attention of your new lead, his enthusiasm can quickly lapse.  It’s a good idea to automate the process to ensure maximum impact.

2. Use a compelling subject line

Don’t confuse your subscribers.  Make your intentions crystal clear in the subject line. For example, many businesses include the word “welcome” in the subject line so subscribers know exactly what the content will be.

3. Personalize it

Assuming you acquired your new lead through an online form, you have the subscriber’s contact information, including his name.  Now’s the time to use it.  Why? Because personalized emails on average have a 29% higher unique open rate. If you track your sources, you can further personalize your email by referencing the content which your lead just read, and adding that you hope he found the information useful.

4. Give leads some direction about next steps

A welcome email is your first opportunity to begin nurturing your new lead. You could recommend additional content to supplement what he’s already read, or link to a “getting started” guide. The point is, you don’t want to squander this chance to move your new lead to the next step in the buying process.

5. Offer incentives

To build engagement and trust, it’s a smart move to offer your new lead some kind of gift. It could be a discount on their first purchase, for example. If your business assigns bonus points linked to ongoing discounts, you can explain how the process works in your welcome email.

6. Push them to your social media pages

If you have a business page on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn, you can promote further engagement by sending new subscribers to those accounts. This will give you the opportunity to further communicate with them, and to put them in touch with some of your long-time customers and brand advocates.

7. Ask subscribers to refer a friend

You can tie this into the strategy of offering incentives—for example, by offering a discount for every friend your new subscriber refers to you. This strategy isn’t likely to increase your leads substantially, but the referred leads you get will likely be of high value since it was a friend that brought you to them.

8. Ask subscribers to add you to their email safe contacts list

You don’t want to risk losing subscribers because emails you send are, for whatever reason, undeliverable. If they add you to their “safe senders” list, you’ll increase your deliverability rate.

9. Don’t forget the unsubscribe link

Always giving your subscribers an opportunity to unsubscribe is smart marketing, and it keeps you compliant with the CAN-SPAM Act. There’s always a temptation to obscure the unsubscribe option, but that’s generally a mistake. Letting subscribers know that unsubscribing is easy will increase their trust in you.

10. Ask for more information

Business intelligence is critically important to the success of your marketing campaigns, and you can begin the process of increasing the data you have on your leads in this first email. If you decide to embed a survey or ask a question in your welcome email, use the justification that you’re trying to provide better service to subscribers by learning more about their needs and wants.


You read a lot these days about “the buyer’s journey,” the series of steps in which window shoppers become leads, leads become qualified leads, qualified leads become customers, and customers become brand advocates. What that process is really about is the gradual development of trust over time, as each contact with a customer or prospective customer further satisfies, surprises and inspires him.

It’s not that different from the development of friendships. Think of your new leads as new friends, and give them the kinds of experiences that friends expect from friends. Friends are people who care about you, are there for you when you need them, and put your interests above their own. Your welcome email is the first step in that process, your opportunity to demonstrate that your business cares about its customers and will do whatever is necessary to justify their trust.

To learn more about how to improve your marketing strategies and grow your business, give us a call at 661-702-1310!

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