Welcome Email Campaigns 101: How to Create an Awesome Welcome Campaign
Ready to take your relationship with your subscribers to the next level? Here’s how to write and structure welcome campaigns that get results.
By Kristen Dunleavy November 6, 2015
One of the keys to successful email marketing is building deeper relationships with your subscribers. That’s why we always recommend you create a welcome email campaign for all your new subscribers. It not only helps them get to know your business and products better, but it engages them and keeps them coming back for more.
Plus, once you set up your campaign, it runs automatically, and fosters relationships with your audience while you work on other aspects of your business.
Follow these tips to create an awesome welcome campaign.
What’s a welcome email campaign?
A welcome email campaign is a series of automated emails that your new subscribers get as soon as they sign up for your email list. (You’d set it up in AWeber’s Campaigns.) The purpose of a welcome campaign is to help your subscribers get to know you while keeping them engaged over time.
The first message in your campaign – the welcome email – has a few different jobs:
- Welcomes your new subscribers and thanks them for signing up
- Tells people what kind of content they can expect from you and how often
- Delivers your incentive if you offered one
- Includes your contact information so your subscribers can easily reach you
Your welcome email should provide everything your new subscribers need to start learning about your business. After that, you’ll want to use the rest of your welcome campaign as a “best of” guide to your business by finding your strongest content and spreading it throughout your series.
If you’re new to the idea of email automation, a welcome campaign is the perfect place to start. I’ll walk you through each step of creating your welcome email campaign.
Choose what kind of welcome campaign you want to send.
While you should include the basic information listed above in your welcome email, the content in your welcome campaign will depend on the experience you want your new subscriber to have when they sign up for your list.
That first welcome email will help set the tone for the rest of the emails in your campaign. To get a better idea of the type of welcome campaign you can send, here are a few examples of welcome emails from real businesses.
Type of welcome email: Contest entry
When you should use it: If you’re collecting subscribers through a contest you’re promoting, this welcome campaign is for you.
Pro-tip: Remind your new subscribers that they’re on your list now because they entered your contest. Bootprints sends all contest participants a confirmation email before sending their welcome email to give people a heads up that they’ve entered and that they’ve signed up for the email list.
Type of welcome email: Incentive
When you should use it: If you offer an incentive on your sign up form in exchange for email addresses.
Pro-tip: Always deliver your subscribers’ coupon in that first welcome email – don’t make them wait!
Type of welcome email: Log in to get started
When you should use this: If you have an app or website with a trial offer or membership
Pro-tip: Make it easy for people to get started by linking directly to the place where they can log in.
Type of welcome email: Steps to getting started
When you should use this: Do you have existing content, upcoming events and/or other promotions you want new subscribers to know about up front? Then this type of welcome email is for you.
Pro-tip: Don’t overload people with information. Give them 2-3 resources to get started, but save some content for the rest of your welcome campaign.
Type of welcome email: Get to know you better
When you should use this: This is a great option to help you make a more personal connection with your subscribers.
Pro-tip: Not everyone will have a hard-hitting story like Trisha from Go Eat Your Beets (below), but that doesn’t mean you can’t include a few tidbits about yourself to show that there’s a real human being behind those emails.
Once you’ve established the information you want to include in your welcome email, you can begin structuring the rest of your welcome campaign.
Structure your campaign.
Before you figure out the content of each email, you should outline your goals to ensure that your content aligns with them. Here’s a sample outline that you can use to structure your welcome campaign:
Timing: Immediately after signing up
Email #1: Welcome Email
Goal: Introduce people to your business and anything else you want to accomplish with your welcome email.
Now let’s look at that plan in action. If you’re a natural foods blogger and your goal is to promote your blog and sell your e-course to new subscribers, your welcome campaign could look like this:
Timing: Immediately after signing up
Email #1: Welcome email with an introduction and recipe ebook incentive
Goal: Introduce people to my blog and deliver their incentive
Timing: 3 days after Email #1
Email #2: A popular blog post featuring a healthy recipe
Goal: Show off a popular post so my subscribers will see how cool my blog is
Timing: 3 days after Email #2
Email #3: Another popular blog post featuring a list of healthy living resources
Goal: Send useful resources to build trust
Timing: 3 days after Email #3
Email #4: Explain the value of my e-course with a link to sign up
Goal: Get people to sign up for my e-course.
Timing: 1 day after Email #4
Email #5: A survey asking subscribers what they’d like to see next
Goal: Get feedback from my new subscribers
Pretty simple, right? There is no right or wrong length for a welcome email campaign. You can start with just two or three emails and add to it later if you’d like.
As for timing, you should experiment to figure out the most effective timing for your subscribers. If your goal is to sell a particular product or service, don’t start your welcome campaign with your promotion. Wait until you’ve offered your subscribers a few pieces of content for free, then present your promotion later in the campaign, like in the example above. This gives your subscribers a chance to check out all the great content you have to offer first. By the time you offer your promotion, they’re ready to buy from you.
It’s always a good idea to include a survey at the end of your welcome campaign. Your survey could be as simple as asking people to reply directly to your email with their feedback about your business. Use their feedback to inform the type of content you include in your welcome campaign moving forward.
Write your messages.
Now for everyone’s favorite part: figuring out which content to include in your automated emails.
The content you use in your welcome campaigns should be your pillar content, meaning that it covers a handful of topics that address your audience’s biggest questions and needs.
For example, when I signed up for the Wine Awesomeness email list, one of the first messages I received linked to an article about screw caps vs. corks – a hotly debated topic among wine aficionados and newbies alike. (I hope my preference for screw caps doesn’t sully your opinion of me.)
Your pillar content will usually be the most popular content on your website. If you’re still not sure which content that is, here’s how to use Google Analytics to find it.
Once you know what your pillars are, look at the content you’ve already created to find content that fits inside those pillars. Try this strategy that blogger John Corcoran recommends for creating your first welcome campaign:
“Take six articles that you’ve written already that are the most valuable content for your target audience,” he said. “Turn them into autoresponders and spread them out over six weeks. You will know that anyone added to your list will get one email a week from you for six weeks and they can get to know you.”
Don’t have six articles? That’s ok – start with two or three, then add to it later.
Don’t have a lot of content created already? That’s ok too. Your subscribers still need to get to know you, right? You can create an FAQ-style welcome campaign explaining more about your business and the value of the products or services you provide. If you’re a design consultant, your campaign might look like this:
Welcome Email: Introduce people to my business with a printable incentive
Goal: Show off my design expertise with a fun incentive
Email #2: How smart design can help your business grow
Goal: Explain the value of having great design
Email #3: Here’s a few of the design services I provide
Goal: Answer common questions about my services with a link to request a consultation
Email #4: What are your biggest design challenges?
Goal: Get a better understanding of what my subscribers need help with
The best part? Just about anyone can create this type of welcome campaign – so not knowing what to write is no longer an excuse. 🙂
Link your subscribers to your next campaign.
The fun doesn’t have to stop at the end of your welcome campaign. By the end of your welcome campaign, your subscribers know a lot more about you. They might even be ready to take your relationship to the next level.
To do that, you can automatically tag them after they receive the last message in your welcome campaign and send them another campaign. Linking one campaign to the next gives you the opportunity to promote yourself to people who are already engaged with you – and as a result, are a lot more likely to become loyal customers.
It doesn’t have to end there, either. You can link your second campaign to a third, and so on. Stay tuned – in a few weeks, I’ll tell you everything you need to know about linking campaigns.
In the meantime, log in to your AWeber account to get started with your welcome campaign.
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