Today’s guest blogger runs Sales & Operations at Sendwithus – read on to learn some welcome email strategies and best practices. Enjoy! 

Welcome Email Strategies that Work

The welcome email is the first direct line of communication you have with your user. Additionally, it will be your first chance to showcase immediate—and hopefully lasting—value. Consequently, users interact with these emails more than sales outreach or marketing emails, with transactional rates for welcome emails being 9 times higher than those of automated marketing emails. The whole purpose of a welcome email is to kick-off a consistent subscriber-focused experience. Allow us to elaborate…

Don’t Bait and Switch

Setting expectations about email delivery frequency establishes trust amongst your subscribers and minimizes the chances of SPAM complaints. There is nothing worse than signing up for an awesome new service, only to get bombarded with irrelevant emails. Setting this expectation allows you to build a good rapport with users, and by mapping out the subscriber’s onboarding journey you will be well-positioned to place strategically advanced messaging, thereby alleviating relevant pain points and developing a long-term understanding.

See It From Their Perspective

With the rise of mobile media and skyrocketing use of smart mobile devices, email has become a more powerful tool than ever in connecting brands with customers. Umm hello, it’s 2017! While we’re sure this isn’t revelatory news to you, we would like to point out that 50% of users view emails on their mobile phones. Make the consistent creation of responsive emails, (i.e. emails that adapt nicely on every email client), a strict priority or risk getting lost in the fray. Furthermore, craft your copy, subject line, and call-to-action to reflect this mobile-first attitude, because chances are your users aren’t reading email on their desktops.

Need help with your templates? Sendwithus collaborates with industry partners to provide a free, open sourced and community driven template gallery.

Adopt a Customer Support Attitude

If you send from a “no-reply” email address, you’re sabotaging the success of your email campaigns by leaving recipients stranded. Customers could help debug your product, provide valuable feedback or voice concerns. At the very least, your readers can help you optimize their onboarding journey. Why would you throw away this chance to connect with users that want to help you succeed? It’s imperative that users can reach someone who is focused on customer support—it’s a win-win for everyone.

You Have Lots of Data and You’re Not Using It

Welcome emails are the equivalent of a first glance at a blind date; get an instant advantage by stunning your users with thoughtfulness and catering to their natural behaviors and desires. It’s more than likely that your users are suffering from information overload at most points in their day. Cut through the noise and give them exactly what they want, when they want it. This not only improves user experience but also increases ROI.

Your organization collects a lot of valuable data about your users whether you inherently realize it or not. Beyond basic demographic data, you can track saved searches, social engagements, product usage, retargeted ad clicks, the list goes on. Based on this data, send your customers personalized incentives to complete actions such as account activations, repeat purchases, or app downloads. Studies have found that personalizing emails can boost transaction rates up to 6x, illustrating that personalization substantially increases engagement.

There are numerous factors to consider in planning a successful onboarding campaign, and though the science behind effective email marketing is a complex beast, just breathe easy and begin by mastering the few steadfast principles and welcome email strategies we have discussed here. By implementing these tried-and-true techniques, we are sure you’ll enjoy a quick turn around in email marketing campaign results.

About the Author: 

Monpreet Gil

Mon is the Sales & Operations Manager at Sendwithus, where she spends her days behind spreadsheets, playing with new technologies or planning marketing campaigns to help businesses send awesome emails. Follow her on Twitter or read more posts here.

ps: We’d love to hear more about your welcome email strategies, drop us a line below or on Twitter.

EmailLab_FeaturedYou really can’t say enough about transactional email! These bread-and-butter messages are some of the most powerful emails you can send. The headline on our recent Infographic tells you why: “Received, Read and Remembered.”

My blog post “The Anatomy of Good Transactional Email” dissected emails that took everyday transaction messages from “okay” to “incredible.” How? They considered the key elements of each message and revamped them to make them more meaningful and valuable to their recipients. (Go ahead and check out that post first if you want. I’ll wait.)

You can do this, too. A little thought, a little copywriting, some branding strategy, and boom – you’re on your way to creating a stronger relationship with your customers than you would get with a plain old “thanks for subscribing” or “your package is on its way” email.

I can hear you now: “This all sounds great, but seriously, how do I get started?” Right off the bat, I can think of three transactional emails you’re probably sending already but not building up for maximum potential:

  1. welcome or on-boarding email series to new customers, clients, members or accountholders.
  2. An abandoned-process email series (or “abandoned-cart”) to customers who exit your site without finishing what they started – purchases, downloads, account registrations, payments, forms or whatever. (Granted that you know whom they are when they come to your site).
  3. post-transaction email series that sends relevant, information-based messages following a successful transaction—think reviews, similar products, surveys about the entire purchase and shipping process.

These three represent three key points of your customer lifecycle. But did you see what I did there? I’m not talking just about beefing up one email and letting it go. Just as one purchase does not a loyal customer make, one email isn’t going to build an entire relationship bridge to that customer. Upgrading a single, simple transactional email into a value-added series gives you more opportunities to build brand trust, remove FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt), encourage repeat transactions and extend the relationship.

Why three emails? It’s not a hard and fast number. But, three messages, strategically spaced, will deliver key information without making them feel hounded and give them more opportunities to take the actions you want. I’ll talk about the welcome/on-boarding process here and cover the other two in a future blog post. So, stay tuned.

Warming up your newbies with an on-boarding program

A welcome/on-boarding program lets them knew they engaged successfully and builds trust in your brand. It’s also a way to stand out from your top competitors. A 2015 Return Path study found 75 of the top 100 Internet Retailer brands send welcome messages. But, only three of those 75 companies send a series. An email series is a good way to get people hooked on your email. People who read three emails in a welcome or on-boarding program will go on to read 69% of that brand’s emails over the next six months according to the same study.

The content in your welcome email series will depend on what best serves subscriber needs and your business goals. Look at your business model. What must your customers do to get full value from your products or services, and which actions drive your business?

Below are some suggestions:

  • Confirmation of transaction details (email address used, name, account details, etc.)
  • Instructions for taking the next step (creating or logging into an account, filling out preferences, completing the next transaction, etc., connecting other accounts, etc.)
  • Sign-up incentives or bonuses
  • Links to customer support, FAQs, video how-tos or troubleshooting info
  • Invitation to join a loyalty program or to connect on social media
  • Links to interesting or helpful places on your website
  • Mobile app links and download instructions

By the end of the series, you’ve moved beyond the initial transactional email and warmed up your customers to receive your promotional emails. That’s better than dropping them into the fire hose of your promotional email program.

Testing can show you which information combinations get the most clicks and conversions, and whether you should list them in the beginning, middle or end of the series.

Welcome email best practices:

  • Send the first email as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the less likely your customers will be receptive, remember, out of sight, out of mind!
  • Use layout, navigation and brand elements that reflect your regular emails.
  • Limit the scope of your emails and ensure the content is closely related to the recent transaction or customer interaction to ensure maximum relevancy.
  • Track activity (opens, clicks and conversions) on each email. Watch for customers who don’t open or who drop off during the series. Segment them for early-intervention messages, such emails that restate your brand value or USP.

Examples:

 

 

 

DominoExample

 

TapLingoExample_noname

FirstReadExample

 

Weekly Email Marketing News Digest

We’re looking at ways to increase an email’s open rate this week! From welcome emails, to subject lines & design elements, here are some tips for better performing emails.

The Importance of Welcoming New Subscribers

The average open rate for welcome emails is 50%, which is 86% more effective than the newsletter. Welcome emails are also 9x more effective than other transactional email in generating sales so here are a few tips to get started:

Using Email Design To Increase Conversions

From colours to images, email design has a huge impact on your brand reputation. Here are some things to consider:

  • Building brand awareness through design elements
  • Ensure your most important message appears in the preview pane
  • Pictures have impact but remember the alt tag
  • Colour has an impact on different viewers
  • Have a prominent call-to-action
mac-email-example
Pictures can dazzle…

 

When you fail to use the alt tag in email
… or annoy.

15 Email Subject Line Formulas To Get You More Opens

Besides the welcome email, subject lines are a great way of getting your audience to sit up and take notice of your brand. The 15 email subject line formulas listed in this article revolve around the topics of:

  • Announcement / Invitation
  • Company Newsletter
  • Content Localization
  • Call To Action
  • Helpful Content

While you can use the examples in the article straight away to increase opens, it’d be great to mix it up a little, A / B test some subject lines and find out what works best for your business!

Majority of Email Opens Seen Occurring in the First 6 Hours Post-Delivery

Subject lines aside, it seems like timing is everything, so make sure you send those emails at an opportune time when it is convenient for your subscribers to open. A study from MailerMailer shows that email opens peak at 11.1% – one hour after the email is delivered. At six hours after delivery, 51.8% of an email’s opens have occurred.

Cumulative Share of Email Opens In The 24 Hours Post Delivery

[Infographic] 160 B2C Welcome Email Campaigns Analyzed

social media marketing

If you’re using open source software to run your email campaigns, you may be paying too much. Download our eBook on The High Cost of Free Software to find out why!

The High Cost of Free Messaging Software