Effective welcome emails are a win in both the long and short term. When done right, they not only establish the first step in building a long term relationship but can generate immediate sales. What makes them work?
Welcome emails get attention and drive conversions, and contribute to high transaction rates. Experian CheetahMail’s analysis found welcome emails enjoy 4x the open rates and 5x the click rates of comparable promotional emails.
That’s consistent with Remarkety’s statistics on welcome emails. The data shows AVG Open Rate Stats per campaign type close to 30%, AVG Click Rate close to 18% and AVG Conversion Rate close to 3%.
So what makes them work? Effective subject lines and CTAs.
Welcome email key numbers 2019-2020
(* compared to other marketing emails)
Wow them with subject lines
The subject line is what you’re counting on to pique your potential customer’s interest enough to open the email. This is where you make your very first impression. The challenge for the welcome email subject is to spark a feeling of both connection and excitement with no more than seven words.
Likely, ¾ of your audience is likely checking for emails on their phones. To reach them effectively, you have to pack the gist of the message within the space of 50 characters.
To tap into feeling connected, all you need is to be sure to include the word “welcome” in the subject when you acknowledge their subscription. According to Experian’s findings, the majority of successful welcome emails include the word “welcome” in the subject line.
But that alone isn’t a matter of urgency or excitement. There are a few approaches marketers take.
Depending on the time of your email, you can reference to a reason to shop now with subject lines like these:
“Welcome aboard! At [your brand] you’ll always find treats, not tricks.”
“Welcome to [your brand]! Check out our favorite holiday looks/gifts/recipes.”
Even if there is no seasonal connection to draw on, you can convey a sense of immediacy and add an extra connection with a personalized subject like this one: “Welcome, [customer name]! Let’s get right to it.” Remarkety offers templates to automate that form for effortless one-to-one level personalization.
Win them with promotions
To really spark excitement, though, the most tried-and-true method is to add a special promotional offer. That could be a percentage off for the first purchase or for a limited time, a gift card that can be used toward a purchase, or a free shipping offer.
Experian found that welcome emails with offers always result in greater revenue than welcome emails that don’t include them. The difference is substantial, greater than 2X the transaction rates and revenue.
As for which offers worked best, it found that free shipping offers drove the highest transaction rates. Among discount offers, “15% off” discounts generated the best return for eCommerce.
The special welcome discount is important in getting prospective buyers to convert as customers. According to a 2018 survey by RetailMeNot. 80% of consumers prefer having an offer when they make their first-time purchase with a brand that is new to them. The same kind of approach can be adapted for a variety of verticals, including beauty, fashion, and sports.
There’s more than one kind of call to action
So you crafted a thrilling subject line and got the customer to click through to the email. Then what? The email should have a clear call-to-action.
The most obvious CTA is a click to shop to use the promotional offer contained in the email. But some sellers opt for a series of welcome emails, and each one may have its own CTA to set the stage for the purchases to come over a long term relationship.
Avoiding the round file
Your first order of business is making sure that all your emails do get seen by your potential customer. That means keeping it out of spam, which requires a bit of cooperation on the recipient’s end.
For that reason, some welcome emails include directions to keep them coming into the inbox. This has a positive impact on not just subsequent emails but the one with the instruction if done right.
Experian found that welcome emails that included such instructions near the top of the email garner more clicks and higher transaction rates than those that place them at the end of the email or who skip such instructions. Perhaps it is an appreciation for getting right to the point and giving the customer something to do right away that makes the email more engaging.
Asking for preferences and interest
For your emails to be read, your customer has to find them relevant. So don’t be afraid to ask them what they want from you in terms of communication and offers, including how frequently they wish to be contacted and if they prefer texts over emails and the like.
Experian also recommends offering links that they can click to identify their interests. “Leverage the click-through data for segmentation and targeting from the start of the subscriber relationship with your email program to increase engagement and relevancy.”
Again, this offers them a way to engage with your brand to build up the relationship and direct your communication strategy with them — even if they aren’t ready to buy right now.
In a nutshell
Below is an example of a welcome email sent out by the cake store Cheesecake.com that packs in several of the key features of effective welcome emails.
The welcome email packs several key points into this message:
- It extends a welcome that shows appreciation to the customer for signing up.
- It builds up anticipation, letting the customer know that there will be additional follow up as part of the series of welcome emails, increasing the likelihood that the customer will click through those emails.
- It incentivizes making a purchase soon with free shipping promotion code.
It’s not always necessary to pack all four components into the first email. As mentioned above, some sellers deliberately plan for a welcome series that entail several different emails that each focuses on only a single aspect.
Whether you opt for the single welcome email or the series, what’s most important is to nail the subject line, deliver a clear CTA they can act on now, and make automation work for you to deliver personalized messages that will increase engagement and revenue for your business.