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January 09, 2023
The first emails your subscribers receive after joining your email list (whether they joined through a subscription form or by making a purchase) are the most important. They set the tone for the entire relationship.
In fact, 74% of subscribers expect to get at least one email when they subscribe to your list. Failing to send them something could actually disappoint them. So it’s important to meet their expectations with a welcome series. Besides, welcome emails are effective. They offer average open rates of 31%.
The content of your welcome emails depends on your brand and your customer, but the general idea is to thank them for subscribing, introduce them to your business, and encourage them to take more steps to interact with your brand.
In this article, we explain the key steps to design your own ecommerce welcome series.
A welcome series is typically three to five emails with a delay of one day between each email. You have a lot of flexibility here, so don’t be afraid to mix this up if you think a different structure is right for your business.
Ask yourself what you want your subscribers to do or know at the beginning of your relationship. Do they need to know certain details or instructions about your products? Do you want them to engage with you on social media? Complete a survey? Take a quiz?
Make a list of anything you want to accomplish during your welcome series. Each item on your list will serve as the basis for an email. Generally, it’s best to give each email a single purpose, so don’t try to cram too much into each or you’ll overwhelm your subscribers.
If you aren’t sure what you create emails about, here are some popular topics:
Once you know what you want to say, organize your emails into a structure that makes sense. You want to send the most important information in the first email when they’re more likely to open and read it. Here’s a basic sample to give you an idea:
Since each email has a specific purpose, each should also have a single call-to-action. Your subscribers should be able to tell, at a glance, exactly what you expect them to do. You may have other links in the message, but the call to action should be large and obvious.
The goal of the call-to-action is to encourage your subscribers to take steps to engage with your brand. Each call-to-action represents a micro commitment. These are small acts that add up to a habit of engaging with your email content. Over time, your subscribers will learn to interact with all of your emails.
Everything in the email should push the subscriber toward the call-to-action. If you find yourself adding content that doesn't serve the call-to-action, save it for a different email.
Check out this well done email from Factory Direct Craft. Yes, there are lots of links in this email, but only one call-to-action.
Generally speaking, people don’t want to read long emails. If they see a big wall of text or dozens of images, they will most likely abandon the email for something else. So it’s important to keep your messages simple. The ideal length of an email is about 100 words with a few images.
You can be concise by getting to the point right away. Put the most important information in the header or primary image. Look for ways to reduce your language to be simple and clear.
Furthermore, it’s important to use the same branding across all of the emails in your welcome series. In fact, use the same branding for all of your emails - transactional and promotional. Consistent branding helps your subscribers orient themselves to your new content. They should be able to recognize right away who the message is from and how they’re supposed to act.
Stick with the same header and footer in each email. Put your logo in the same place. Ideally, you should stick to the same format, as well. If you use two columns in one email, use two columns in every email.
Your subject lines are arguably the most important components of a campaign. If your subscribers don’t open your emails, the quality of your content doesn’t really matter. This is key to getting high open rates.
The goal of a subject line is to convince the recipient to click inside. That’s it. This is not the time to convince them to click your call-to-action. That’s the job of the email’s body content.
This means your subject lines should be compelling and unique. They should be descriptive, but exciting. Don’t lie or overstate the contents of the email, but use clever language to make your subscribers intrigued, curious, and motivated to learn more.
In most cases, designing great subject lines requires having a keen understanding of your customers. Consider their needs, wants, desires, and problems, and then use similar words in your subject lines in order to evoke an emotional response.
Personalization is the process of customizing your email content for each recipient based on information you’ve previously collected about them. Most modern email marketing software offer tools to tag or segment subscribers to send them personalized content.
For instance, if a customer joins your email list by purchasing cat-related products, it’s safe to assume they have a cat or like cats. Instead of showing dog-related products in an email, it would make more sense to send cat content.
In Klaviyo, for instance, you can designate sections for dynamic content. These sections will display pre-set content based on the recipient’s tags so everyone sees what matters most to them. Most email software offer similar solutions.
It's important to be very deliberate with the timing of any automated email campaign, and your welcome series is no exception. You don't want to bombard your subscribers with too many emails in a short period of time. If they feel like you’re spamming them, they will unsubscribe.
Your subscribers should receive the first email of your welcome series right away if they join the list through a subscription box. But if they join your list by making a purchase, the first email they will receive is the order confirmation, so you’ll want to delay your welcome series by a day or two so they aren’t hit with simultaneous emails.
Then, put a reasonable delay between welcome series emails. We recommend at least 24 hours between emails, though 48 hours may be better. You can be a bit more aggressive with this series than you would normally be with promotional emails because these subscribers have made it clear that they want to hear from you.
Furthermore, configure your email marketing tool to either a) pause your welcome series if you send a blast to your list, or b) remove anyone from an email blast if they are currently receiving a welcome series.
Our final tip is perhaps the most important. Welcome emails typically perform well, but you shouldn’t rely on that. Test the effectiveness of your emails and experiment with new ideas until you find the ones are most effective. Don’t be afraid to try something new or play with ideas you see in the welcome emails of other brands.
At this point, you should be well on your way to crafting an effective ecommerce welcome series. As we said earlier, these emails have high open rates, so they deserve your thoughtful attention. If you design great emails, your subscribers will reward you with engagement and sales.