When I look at retailers' email programs, I am always surprised at the number of them who send a simple text email confirming that someone has been added to their mailing list.
I like to think of this first email, the "welcome" email, as a first date. Think about when someone you like asks you out (or agrees to go out with you). After doing a little dance and singing "they like me, they really like me," you would probably start to plan on how to make it a great date. Would you show up with bad breath and a stain on your shirt? I should hope not. You would get cleaned up, put on a nice outfit, and show up with roses.
Similarly, if we think of that initial email as a first date, then we should take that opportunity to put our best foot forward, and send customers the best welcome email that we can. The email should represent your brand and your website, and set expectations for what the recipient will be receiving in the future. Here are a few tips to help you shine on that first date:
Lisa Harmon, co-founder and principal at Smith-Harmon, Inc., an email marketing company, says the welcome email is probably the single greatest opportunity that email marketers have to engage subscribers and drive action. Welcome messages generate superior open rates and, when done well, create a halo effect that boosts subscribers' engagement with subsequent promotional and triggered emails.
If you engage in an effective welcome email program with your customers from the start, chances are you'll have that second date.
Mary Kathleen Sullivan is senior strategic consultant for Responsys.
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Great article, Mary. I agree with all your points - the sign-up form is like the welcome mat and the Welcome message is like someone entering the foyer. The analogy has a point much like your dating analogy - much like you want the welcome message to mirror your website, you also want it to be a reflection of what subscribers can expect from you in the future. Matching the look and feel of your regular marketing emails will help ease the transition and begin to establish that recognition, and hopefully, interaction with your brand's emails. I would also argue that welcome messages should include a call to action to get them shopping with you right away, as you mention in point #3. -Kelly Lorenz
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