Automated Email Welcome Series Best Practices + Tips For Building Your Own

Large envelope and reader representing great welcoming email campaign

You’re gaining email subscribers via a signup form on your website - now whats next for your email marketing?

Businesses send email campaigns monthly, weekly, even daily (!) to subscribers. The purpose of these campaigns can vary from educational (think New York Times “The Daily”), to informative regarding new product offerings (think Apple) or ongoing promotions and sales. A business to business (B2B) company may only need to send an informational email quarterly where a large consumer facing brand may send new product releases or promotional campaigns multiple times a day (I’m looking at you, Madewell).

Email marketing is one of many important marketing channels used to stay in front of your customers and remind them of your brand and core offerings. An initial welcome email is a good way to thank consumers for signing up for your email list and to showcase who you are. An email welcome series is an even better way to showcase your brand, while also increasing revenue over time and decreasing bounce rate. 

According to Mailchimp, sending a welcome series yields an average of 51% more revenue than a single welcome email.

What is an email welcome series?

A welcome series is comprised of 3-4 (ideally automated) email campaigns delivered to a NEW subscriber over a 1-2 week period. Studies show this is the best time to thank new customers for subscribing, show them why your brand is relevant and unique, and nurture them further along your sales funnel.

Email inboxes have turned into the contemporary Wild West. With tons of brand and service emails fighting for their chance to be opened every single day, how do you get to the top of the inbox? (Really, how many non-personal emails do you choose to open in a day?) If you can capture a new subscriber when they are most interested, (E.G. right after they chose to sign-up for your email list), they are likely to open your campaigns again, and again, as time goes on.

What is a good welcome series example?

  1. First email: Say hello! The first email should introduce your brand or concept. Remind them why they signed up for your email list. (For example: to receive daily digital marketing tips, for deals on the hottest summer clothing trends, etc.) Make sure to include your logo, brand colors and anything else that showcases your brand identity.

  2. Second email: Give them another way to connect. Showcase your social media, remind them of a local meetup, or invite them to a webinar hosted by your brand. When a consumer interacts with more than one marketing channel, it gives them additional touch points to remember you by.

  3. Third email: Remind them to shop or try your service. This should be personalized to your business. Perhaps it’s showcasing a new line of products, a summer series, an upcoming event, a new service you’re providing, or a way to upsell them on a service they already have. 

  4. Fourth email: Remind them to shop and offer a discount or coupon if applicable. This could also be a good time to introduce a referral program if they have already shopped with you in the past, but are new to your email list.

From this point on, they are a part of your “Master” email list, and can be regularly emailed based on your marketing calendar.

How to best use email automation:

An automated welcome series is ideal. Not only does automation leaves less room for accidental sends, it creates less work in the long run. With automation, you can “set it and forget it” to work on more important business ventures. The emails can be set to automatically send at various times of day based on conditional logic.

Five excellent email systems for automated welcomes series are: Klaviyo, Mailchimp, Constant Contact, MailerLite and Drip. They offer various price points and features – depending on your needs.

Like any other type of digital marketing, you can test various strategies and use data to report back on what’s working and what’s not within email marketing. Test options include things like best times of day to send, email campaign subject lines, and campaign internal copy & creative assets. Not only do you want to track what drives the most email opens, but what drives the most website visits once the email is opened.

A common automated system for a consumer facing business would be:

  1. User signs up on site and is sent first welcome email immediately after
  2. User is sent second email two days later with additional fodder
  3. User is sent third email with incentive to shop
  4. User is sent forth email with reminder to shop

These can also be further customized using conditional logic. For example:

  1. User signs up on site and is sent first welcome email immediately after
  2. User is sent second email two days later at specific high performing time with additional fodder
  3. User is sent third email with incentive to shop if they have clicked previous emails
  4. User is sent forth email with reminder to shop only if they have clicked previous email CTA (Call to Action) button, but not purchased from site (or performed other end goal)
  5. User is sent fifth email with coupon code only if they opened previous email but did not click or purchase

Anything I shouldn’t do?

Here are some general email welcome series best practices:

  • Welcome series are customizable and should be tested. Don’t set one up and never look at it again! Each can be optimized based on user engagement and feedback. Try testing something new every month and reviewing the data.
  • Don’t over email. SPAM is taken seriously by every marketing email platform. Over emailing will lead to high bounce rates, high unsubscribe rates and ultimately getting punished (or even fined!) for SPAM Abuse. Read more here on how to avoid SPAMMING your audience. It’s all about finding the sweet spot!
  • Make sure you have a strong CTA (and only one) per email.
  • Use engaging copy and creative – show your audience why you’re unique!
  • Make sure the email comes from something your audience will recognize like [email protected] or Intellitonic Team.
  • Optimize your email for email deliverability.
  • Avoid excessive code (not all inboxes can handle it!)
  • Don’t send attachments. These can go straight to the SPAM folder or worse, cause readers to unsubscribe thinking you’re forwarding them a computer virus.

Ready to dip your toes into an email welcome series? We suggest reviewing these five email systems: Klaviyo, Mailchimp, Constant Contact, MailerLite and Drip.