How Warm is Your Welcome?

Posted by Bonnie Malone 

If you are like many marketers, you likely have a welcome message in place – and probably haven’t given it much thought since it first launched.  While it’s great to have that critical first touch as part of your regular email cadence, it may not be working as well as it could.  So, before the kids are back in school and you get knee-deep in holiday planning, take a little bit of time this summer to review your welcome process and evaluate just how helpful (or not!) it is in welcoming new subscribers and encouraging them to engage with your brand:

·         Is it a surprise? After the subscribe request is processed, do you alert new subscribers that the welcome message is on the way, ask them to whitelist, or give them an expected timeframe in which the first message will be sent?  If you aren’t setting these expectations, you may not get the response you could from your welcome message, or worse, drive complaints.

·         Is the from line clearly branded? Use your brand in the from line, and a from address that is consistent with your regular mailstream.  This helps new subscribers recognize your mail and is doubly impactful for those that whitelist your welcome message.

·         Is the template format representative of your regular mailstream?  Since the welcome message is your introduction to the subscriber’s inbox, make sure it is similar in look and feel to your regular mailstream.  As with the from line, this helps build familiarity with your brand and recognition of future email campaigns.

·         Do you explain what types and frequency of email will be sent?  The welcome message presents the perfect opportunity to set expectations with new subscriber on exactly what will be sent, and how often.  Having clear expectations up front helps mitigate complaints later.

·         Is there a tone of excitement, and compelling reason to engage right away? Do the headlines, copy blocks, and images give a warm, happy, welcoming impression?  Your new subscribers are excited about receiving your email – and you should let them know that you are too!

·         Do you provide new subscribers with options to manage their email (and yes – even unsubscribe)?  While you certainly hope that new subscribers are happy to receive your email, and are looking forward to that first regular message, that isn’t always the case.  Especially if you have an auto-opt-in process, make sure you clearly convey preference and unsubscribe options to direct subscriber action, rather than risk complaints, which can be detrimental to your sending reputation.

For additional inspiration, here are a few good industry examples:

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About Bonnie Malone

Bonnie is passionate about excellent customer experience. With a background in marketing, merchandise buying, and retail management, she helps companies stay relevant amid the changing digital landscape. Bonnie leads the knowledge and consulting teams at Return Path, the global leader in email deliverability. She is an active Email Experience Council committee member, featured speaker for events, and writes monthly for the Return Path blog and TotalRetail.

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