All companies are extremely happy if someone buys as soon as he/she enters their site. However, it is not so easy to ensure an immediate desired result. But you have a chance to ask the user for an email, and continue communication. While they are ready to stay in touch, you have to introduce them to the brand, products and establish a good rapport. It can be achieved by a series of automated welcome emails.
What is an effective welcome email series?
The welcome series is a series of automated emails that the user starts to receive as soon as he/she signs up and agrees to receive emails. This gives a brand a chance to tell about itself, while the customer is ready to maintain a dialogue with the company. Here is a simple example of a basic welcome email series automation tree.
The welcome series is the first step towards a lifecycle email marketing automation for your business, it’s the easiest email flow to set up and usually consists of 3 to 8 emails. They are used to tell, why the company is useful to the customer, what problem it is helping to solve and why would someone need to keep reading its emails.
The first emails explain the competitive advantages of the company and introduce the team, for example, send mini-profiles of experts that will serve the customers. Sometimes they explain how to use the product. For example, you are promoting an online learning platform for the Spanish language. In this case, the welcome series can be used to email basic getting started instructions to subscribers. They will inform where to find textbooks or to take tests.
Why do you need to welcome your subscribers?
Welcome email series purpose is to maintain the interest of customers in the brand and to gain the trust of subscribers.
The series of welcome emails serve several purposes.
Maintain the focus on the brand
We do not know, why someone checked “Subscribe”. Did he/she want to receive emails or just hoped for the bonus that we promised? However, while the customer is ready to accommodate us, we have to delight them.
Set up your welcome series in a way that the first email is sent automatically as soon as a subscription is received. This will distract the customer from looking at competitors’ goods and channel their attention to communication with you. The first email can be used to offer the subscriber an exclusive bonus as a thank you for his/her subscription.
It can be a 20% discount on all goods in an online store or a free consultation at a clinic. It is possible that the customer will not use the bonus to buy right away, but they will still devote time to get to know you. As a result, he/she will be more positive about the next email from the welcome series.
By the way, if you promised a bonus upon subscription, this promise must be honored. Promised a free medical book? Use the first email to send the respective link or you will never regain customers’ trust.
And more — do not enclose book or instruction files in mass emails. Spam filters may stop them mass emails with attachments larger than 1Mb. Send a link for downloading the material and there you will face no problems.
Prevents customer objections
Too expensive. Too cheap. Gets damaged too fast. Too long to assemble. The customer would like to buy but is not sure if the brand can be trusted. The welcome series will help to dispel these concerns.
For example, a female customer enters an online store. She likes the dress but is unsure about the price. She thinks, “The dress is nice but so inexpensive. If it costs so little, the quality should be substandard, too.”
Include an email in your welcome series where the company explains, why it sells goods for low prices. Tell, for example, that the company mass-produces all of its apparel. Thus, you will prevent subscriber’s objections, and the customer will find it easier to make a purchase decision.
Motivates to act
Another goal of welcome emails is to help customers understand the goods instead of pressurizing them into a sale. This is like a beautiful love story. No man will take his future bride to a church on the day he meets her. That should be preceded by courting, presents and romantic walks in the moonlight.
The same applies to the welcome series — we are not pressurizing into buying, but trying to get closer to each other, adjusting to our seller’s and buyer’s roles. Stories about yourself, as well as small bonuses, will be spot on — you can even attach a discount coupon to your first email, which will be sent after you introduce the company to the customer. The same can be done, when a subscriber finds out more about the brand — a 15% discount can be included in the last welcome email. During these few weeks, the customer will decide if the company is trustworthy.
How do the welcome series look like?
Emails of the welcome series may be a part of a complicated chain, but let’s look at an example of a basic chain.
Let’s imagine that we run a flower shop. We have not divided our customer database into segments and have not set any emailing conditions. In this case, our welcome series could entail the following:
Welcoming the new customer and saying thank you for subscribing. Giving the promised bonus — 10% discount on the next bouquet purchased.
Telling, why the customer needs to buy flowers only from us. For example, that we are one of the very few that create flower arrangements from dried ornamental plants.
Preventing customer objections. Persuading that arrangements from these ornamental plants are not more expensive than regular bouquets. At the same time, they last longer and do not require that much maintenance.
Explaining, why arrangements from dried ornamental plants are needed. Listing several options, like to give as a present or to buy to decorate your home.
Making a specific offer. 10USD discount on any bouquet.
If we had segmented our database and set some conditions, our chain would look different.
Let’s imagine that we still run a flower shop, but our customer database has been segmented into men and women. Why would women buy flowers? Usually, it would be, to say thank you, to give for a birthday or an anniversary, or in case of other festive occasions. We can leave the content of emails the same, as in this welcome series where we have already given the customer an idea about an original present.
However, male customers require a different approach. For them, flowers are something that can be given to their spouse or a partner. So, we have to change the content of emails starting from the second.
Explaining why bouquets should be bought from us and not from our competitors. We should tell about beautiful cut flowers instead of dried ornamental plants. For example, each arrangement comes with a free sachet of fertilizer that allows the flowers to last longer making your partner happier.
Also preventing customer objections. Telling that our prices do not differ from market prices.
Describing what arrangements are available from our shop. For example, singling out the three most popular types in different pricing categories and telling about them.
Moving to a specific offer. It can be the same as in the first segment or differ from it.
Let us make the chain more complicated and add some conditions. Let us decide how we will maintain communication with a customer if he/she fails to open the first email. We can set up the automatic system in a way that emails from the basic chain are not sent to the customer for a while. And then send an email with a good deal.
If the customer reacts, we can again include him/her in the basic chain. If not, let us wait a bit longer, then send another special offer and try to re-integrate the subscriber into the basic chain. But we should not strive to control each and every step that a customer makes, as it is not possible to anticipate customer behavior in all cases.
Let us proceed as follows — if the customer makes a purchase before the end of the welcome series, we should move him/her to another segment. From now on, the user should be treated as a loyal customer, and there is no need to continue the welcome series.
How to set up a welcome email series in Mailigen?
Open the Automation section. Click on Create an Automation — Start a New Automation. You will see triggers that can be used to set up the email chain. Here they are.
For the welcome series, you should choose Subscriber is added to a list or segment.
Now, we can start working on the chain. It looks like this.
Click on + and create an email. For the sake of convenience let us call it Email 1. We have to indicate that the first email is to be sent immediately after the subscription, namely without any delay. Then let us make a template for this email.
If you do not have a designer on staff, then select Templates. These include predesigned email templates. You can easily play around with their components, change images, text fonts or font sizes. Please note that you will always be able to return to this step and change the text, images, links, buttons and other components of templates later.
Then there are two options. Either you continue with a simple chain or make it more complicated by including a IF condition.
I chose ‘IF the message is opened’. Thus, in our chain, the person who opened the first email will receive the second email from the welcome series. Mailigen can be used to set the timing of the sent email — right away, in an hour, a day or a week. This period can be easily specified for each email.
So, I decide, what will happen if the subscriber does not open the first email. At this point, welcome series can be stopped. Or I can send an email with a special offer. Most probably, the customer will react better to discounts and special offers than to stories about the brand. Or it is possible to change the heading of the first email but resend its content to remind that the customer has not used his/her bonus.
Mailigen allows you to set up a long chain of emails with specific conditions for each step. If such conditions as ‘IF the message is not opened’ does not suit your needs, choose ‘IF clicked on a link’. Or send the emails only to those customers, who have not yet bought anything from you.
As soon as you have set up a chain with the required quantity of conditions, run your welcome series. See Mailigen statistics for the number of clicks and opened emails.
3 tips for successful Welcome series
Approach to welcome email series should differ from the business sector. 3-4 emails will be enough for a cosmetics store to tell about its advantages, while a property developer will need 6-8 emails. There is no universal solution for an ideal welcome series. But you can still follow some rules for customers to be open to you already from the first email:
1. Get to know each other right away
Set up your automatic system in a way that the first email from the welcome series is received as soon as an individual signs up. A week later the user will not be able to remember that he or she wanted to get a discount from you. The emails will be put in the spam or deleted without opening them.
2. Segment your database
If needed, segment your audience by gender, age, geolocation. Do not suggest a restaurant in a specific city if the recipient lives in another part of the country. Still, do not become overzealous. Nobody needs dozens of segments.
3. Set up automation conditions
When needed, set up a complicated chain of emails. You have to decide, how you will proceed with your customers if they have not opened your emails or have not clicked on the link that you sent.
Tried to set up a welcome series, but failed? We are here to help! Call or write us to email@example.com— and we will find a way to improve your performance.