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Sending out welcome emails is a vital part of your email marketing strategy. According to Jill LeMaire, director of Epsilon’s strategic and analytic consulting group, apart from transactional mail, welcome email has an average open rate of 50-60%.

Further to this, “those who receive a welcome mail increase their long-term engagement with a brand by 33% until they decide to stop engaging.”

Despite this, just 57.5% of businesses that participated in a survey sent at least one welcome email. So this means that almost half of all businesses don’t send any follow-up mail to people when they subscribe to their list. This is clearly a huge missed opportunity and one that further research has shown to have a unique open rate of 86% and a higher unique click rate of 196%.

So if you’re not optimizing your welcome mails, or worse, don’t send them at all, then you’re missing out.

You can use welcome email to:

  • Thank your subscribers for signing up
  • Ask the subscriber to whitelist you
  • Provide useful information
  • Make sales

Welcome emails also have a 336% higher transaction rate and are thought to garner 320% more revenue per email than any other type of promotional mail. Of course, there are some businesses that believe that email is no longer effective in the current social media driven climate, but they would be wrong. Email remains a vital part of your marketing strategy and one of the most popular mediums with consumers.

Email tips

Getting Started – Subject Lines

Like any promotional email, you will need to be careful about the wording in the subject line. You can often use the testing tool in your email marketing software to help you with this.

However, you should bear in mind the following:

  • The word sale has been shown to increase open rates by 23.2%
  • The word save improves open rates but only by 3.4%

Consider your audience and the language that they prefer to read and use. Your buyer personas and brand personas can help you to craft language to suit your customers. You should conduct your own research to discover how your audience responds to various email subject lines where possible too.

There are also positive and negative words that you should pay some attention to. A study that looked at 21 billion emails to determine the worst and best words in subject lines found that the words used are really very important.

Positive/Best performing (do use)
Negative/Worst performing (don't use)
Report News
Webinar Bulletin
Upgrade Video
Content Miss
Go Deals
Wonderful Groovy




However, whilst these words can be considered an overall average, it’s worth bearing in mind that they do shift depending on the industry that you’re in. For example, the word content was very popular and the top ‘open word’ for the entertainment and publishing industries. For retailers though, the top words were painting, ships, please, notice and recipe.

The study also found that the use of symbols and emoji in subject lines are becoming more common. The best performing emoji was found to be the snowman at 65%, followed by the sun at 21%, whilst the worst performing was a human figure pointing to the right.

What to Include in the Body

A welcome email is the ideal opportunity for your brand to engage immediately with a new subscriber. Since they have shown enough interest in your brand and the content that you create, they are more open to sales messages. You should use the welcome mail to reiterate what benefits the subscriber will receive and to provide a little more information on what they can expect from your business.

You can and should also include a welcome offer, such as a discount voucher or other incentive.

You should also always address the subscriber by name. These days most people are fine with their first name, you shouldn’t use surnames as they are usually too formal in this context.

Studies have found that using personalization in email subject lines can result in a 17.36% higher average clickthrough rate. Your welcome message is perhaps a little early to start on sending dynamic personalized content but do craft the mail bearing in mind that consumers like personalized content and even just addressing them by name can make a huge difference.

Keep it Concise

You should aim to ensure that your mail is concise and gets to the point quickly. Do use graphics to illustrate the text and ensure that you include links back to relevant areas on your site. Keep sentences and paragraphs short so that it’s easy to scan on any device.

Most of all, make sure that the email is fully optimized for mobile, including any images that are in the mail. It can’t be stressed enough how important this is. An email with non-responsive images is not only horrible to look at, but it’s usually enough to have a subscriber hit the unsubscribe button immediately. If your subscriber feels that you can’t take the time to craft a responsive email, then they will also feel that you’re not worth their time.

Test Everything

Once you’ve crafted your welcome mail, you should go on to test it. A/B test everything, from the subject line to the images you use and adjust as necessary. Most email marketing software allows you to do this. A/B testing allows you to test one element at a time, such as subject line, images, headlines and copy, using two test groups. The group that has the better open rate will be the format that you choose following testing.

Email marketing is still highly relevant and can boost sales significantly. Not having a welcome email is to miss out on a great opportunity to not only make sales, but further engage with your customers and turn them into loyal followers of your brand.

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