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Building an welcome email series to onboard subscribers

Welcome Email Series

Ever walked into a store and not be greeted or even seen a single sales associate? How did that make you feel?  In the town where I live, we have a chain restaurant called Moe’s Southwest Grill. It is similar to a Chipotle. One of the things that Moes does differently is that they greet everyone who walks in the door with, “Welcome to Moes!”

One time I walked into a retail store close to closing time. I walked all throughout the store without being greeted. I saw people who worked at the store, and I think they even saw me. They were too busy getting ready for closing to pay attention. I didn’t go back for several years, even after a friend of mine worked there.

There are fewer things more disheartening than walking in a place of business and not being greeted.

When you get new subscribers to your email list, are you greeting them? Are you sending them a welcome email series?

In this post, we are going to visit some tips to building a good welcome email series. The great thing about your welcome series is your subscribers have just signed up and they are excited about getting your content and the freebie you are offering. A welcome email series gives you the chance to set the tone moving forward.

Let’s begin, shall we?


When you get started, here are a few caveats to consider. First, make sure you set expectations. You don’t want to tell your audience they are getting emails once per week but end up sending them once per day. Let them know what your emails are about so they are surprised when you send them. Let them know you will tell them about your latest products and services.

Second, adopt a casual yet professional tone, that is, unless your audience is full of corporate types. The tech industry is known for its casual laid back approach, but wow them with your professionalism.

Finally, go minimalistic. As Henneke Duistermaat said,

If you want your subscribers to look forward to your emails, you should consider behaving more like a friend.

You know, like, and trust your friends … right?

Try toning down that corporate look, and create a more minimalist email design. Write in a conversational, respectful voice.

In addition to a more minimalistic looking email design, make sure your emails are mobile responsive. More people are reading emails on their smartphones.

Leave a Welcome Mat
Leave a Welcome Mat

Welcome Email Tips

Confirmation email

A confirmation email should be before your sequence begins. Your email marketing software can send an email that confirms the reader wants to be on the email list. If you are using a double opt-in for your email, this will happen automatically.

Welcome Email

A welcome email is different from your confirmation email. In your welcome email, you need to accomplish three things: Welcome your new subscriber, remind them to add you to your list, deliver your free goodie.

Dave Charest says,

The Welcome email is crucial. Imagine someone walked into your store, and everyone ignored them. If you don’t send a Welcome email, you’re doing exactly that.

The purpose of that Welcome email is to reaffirm your contact that they’ve made a great decision to join your email list.

Connect with a story

First, I am a proponent of using stories in emails. We are wired to read and hear stories. Nevertheless, with a story, you can make a connection with your new subscriber immediately.

What kind of story should you tell? There are couple different kinds that work.

First, you can tell a story about yourself where you overcame adversity to become the business owner you are helping people, just like your subscriber, become better.

Henneke Duistermaat uses her love of biking to connect with writing tips:

As small business owners and solo-flyers, we have a distinct advantage compared to bigger companies: rather than be a faceless company, we can establish a strong personal connection with our readers.

In my snackable email series, for instance, I share a vacation picture, a glimpse into my life, before explaining a writing tip. . .

Screenshot: Enchanting Marketing - Henneke Duistermaat
Screenshot: Enchanting Marketing – Henneke Duistermaat

The second kind of story you can tell is a customer story. This is a great way as you set yourself as an authority which guides your clients to success. Did you help a business owner improve revenue through the new website you built for them? Tell that story. How did you accomplish the goal? What were the challenges? Use a good format for a story and fill in the blanks.

Ask a question

Simply ask your new subscriber what they wish to learn more about while getting your emails. This does a couple of things. First, it helps you learn much more about your new subscriber. Maybe you can ask them something a little fun like their favorite flavor of ice cream. Second, it builds a rapport and helps with engagement. Ask that question and see how many people answer and what their answers are. When they respond, respond back. This will increase engagement.

Groove, the help desk Software as a service company, asks users why they signed up in their first email. The answers provide insight,

With a 41% response rate, we get massive amounts of qualitative marketing data about the “decision triggers” that drive people to sign up for Groove.

Chris Brogan has used questions for years to engage with his subscribers. I have had several conversations with him over the years because I am a member of his list. Other influencers do the same. You may have a hard time getting in touch through regular channels, but if you respond to emails, you are likely to get an audience.

Pitch another product or service

Before you drop them in your regular email sequence, pitch another piece of the puzzle. Do you have a follow-up product or service to the freebie you gave away? Offer that service or product. Don’t be afraid. Offer them something that has an easy barrier of entry, not a high priced item.

Share your best content

One final thing before your new subscriber goes to your regular email sequence is to share your best content with them. This best content could be a list of the most popular posts, link to a page of tools you use, podcast episodes, infographics, or some other piece of content that is at the top of your list. This pulls them back into your content for more engagement.

Listing your favorite pieces of content with a short summary gives your audience value while also getting more eyes on your archived content.Instead of going deep into your archives like the other types of archive emails, you’re just picking your very favorite 5-10 pieces of content or curating the most popular posts on your website, like Nat (Eliason) has done. . . Sumo

Over to You

Don’t leave new subscribers guessing about when or what they will receive from you. Be like my friends from Moe’s who say, “Welcome to Moes!” when I walk in their restaurant.  Create a welcome email series that welcomes, connects with a story, ask a question to learn more about who they are, share your best content, and ultimate, don’t be afraid to pitch them a product or service.

What goes in your welcome email series? Share in the comments below!

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Todd Jones
Along with being the resident writer for MainWP and content hacker at Copyflight, I specialize in writing about startups, entrepreneurs, social media, WordPress and inbound marketing topics.
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