8 Tips for Writing Welcome Emails That Keep Subscribers Coming Back

Did you know that welcome emails have an average open rate of 57.8%?

It’s true!

According to Experian, welcome emails generate four times the open rates and five times the click rates compared to other promotional messages.

With this in mind, it’s hugely important to be sure subscribers get a great first impression of you and your brand.

After all, first impressions count for a lot, right?

Whether it’s the first time you meet someone in person or the first time you step inside a store, those initial thoughts and feelings stick with us. 

And those same thoughts and feelings are what help create a lasting impression of a brand.

So don’t think of your welcome email as just a chance to say “Thank you” to your new subscribers. Think of it as an opportunity to connect on a deeper level so you can understand their needs more clearly.

So let’s talk about what you can do in your welcome emails to start start building better relationships with new subscribers.

8 tips for effective welcome emails

1. Include a transparent subject line

The subject line is the very first thing a new subscriber will see in their inbox, so you want to make it count.

Skip the ambivalence and avoid clickbait-y subject lines so you start off on the right foot!

Things like, “Welcome to X! What now?” or “You’re all signed up. What happens next?” are great.

Now, let’s take a look at some examples from some well known brands. 

As you can see, all of these subject lines have a friendly feel, but there’s zero confusion about why the emails landed in your inbox:Welcome Email - Subject Lines

Why we love these welcome email subject lines:

  • Each one is simple and straightforward. You immediately know who the sender is and why you’re receiving an email.
  • Every subject line begins with a strong greeting – “Welcome” “Hello!” “Congratulations.”
  • Discounts are offered to incentivize new subscribers to make a purchase.

Subject lines are often a pain point when crafting other messages, but it’s safe to keep things simple when it comes to your welcome emails.

2. REMIND THEm who you are and what they can expect from you

In the digital age, people have short attention spans, and even shorter memories.

They might know your site like the back of their hand, but when you drop into their inbox, the lack of context might make their head spin.

This is why it’s important to state exactly who you are (even if you’re 100% sure your subscribers already know) and why you’re emailing.

Did they sign up for something in particular?

A short reminder like this will help close the loop in their mind:

This is [NAME] from [COMPANY]. You’re receiving this email because you signed up to receive our awesome e-book on [TOPIC]” 

This email from fonts.com does exactly that:

Welcome Email - Fonts.com

How this welcome email makes a quality introduction and sets expectations:

  • The headline is bold and big and points out exactly why they’re receiving an email. “Thanks for Signing Up!”
  • The message touches on not only what types of content will be sent but also how frequently. 
  • Starts the relationship off on the right foot by including a bundle of free, favorite fonts available for download as a thank you for signing up.

People value their time and inboxes, so it’s vital that you let your subscribers know what you’re going to send them ahead of time.

By setting clear expectations, your subscribers know right off the bat how valuable this new relationship is gonna be!

3. Don’t overlook the basics of design

It’s only natural to get a bit discouraged when you see all of these bold, beautiful emails but feel like you don’t have a creative bone in your body, right?

Luckily, the elements of good email design don’t have to be rocket science.

As you can see in this welcome email by Sprout Social, sometimes it’s the smallest details of email design that make your messages look irresistible:

Welcome Email - Sprout Social

What makes this email design work so well:

  • The text is easy-to-read. No Papyrus or off-the-wall fonts here, just a simple, sans-serif typeface that’s easy on the eyes.
  • The colors stand out and don’t clash. While many marketers try to overdo it with color, this three-color scheme (white, green and gray) displays the power of minimalist design.
  • From the very start, the email flows well. The message is clearly broken up into sections by the copy and images, meanwhile the numbered list format helps with flow as well.
  • Thanks to the white background, the bright green CTA buttons are difficult to miss.

Seriously, though: when in doubt, keep it simple when it comes to design. The easier your messages are to absorb the better your results will be!

4. make your message actionable

While “thank you’s” are certainly important, your welcome email should also strive to give new readers something to do.

You don’t want to give your subscribers a surplus of new information just to have them click away and forget about you.

Instead, you want to use your welcome email to start a conversation with them; to open a dialogue and start building that trustworthy relationship.

Here’s a simple, text only email that executes actionable perfectly:Welcome Email - Three Quick Things

What this email is doing right:

  • The message is actionable in more ways than one. The sender is asking their recipients to both respond to the email as well as click through to additional resources.
  • There is a variety of content available. From videos, to ebooks, to blog postings and brand kits, this email does an excellent job of pointing new subscribers to an assortment of free resources depending on their interests.
  • Although sometimes it’s best to nail down a single CTA, this straightforward and easy-to-navigate design provides the reader with options without overwhelming them.

In short, this welcome message represents a sort of introduction to check out anything and everything the brand has to offer.

You should likewise try to highlight benefits of staying in touch with your brand and provide your list with some sort of action to take in the process.

5. Deals & DISCOUNTS CAN DO THE TRICK

Depending on your business, there’s a good chance that someone signed up for your mailing list with the sole intent of getting a good deal.

Why not make good on that promise immediately and include a discount offer in your welcome email?

Fossil doesn’t pull any punches with how its welcome message can save recipients some cash:

Welcome Email - Fossil

How this welcome email rocks their discount:

  • The message presents itself as a “thank you” note, these types of welcome emails are staples in the world of ecommerce and are an excellent way of kicking things off with a new subscriber.
  • This particular message is also redeemable in brick-and-mortar stores as well as online.
  • It’s simple in terms of copy and messaging, making this email all about the deal.

If your end-goal is to get more customers into your store and your primary content strategy is centered around deals, you can regularly switch up your welcome autoresponders depending on your current promotions.

6. Tap into the power of “free”

Remember: your welcome emails are your one and only chance to make a strong first impression on your list.

And one of the best ways to start off on the right foot is by offering your list something totally for free.

Take a look at this bold welcome email from Flywheel:

Welcome Email - Flywheel

How Flywheel uses the power of free to it’s full potential:

  • The headline clearly explains the benefit here. “This Ebook has the Secret to Scaling Your Agency” not only establishes value but also creates curiosity. (We’ll touch on this next!)
  • The message provides value for free. Using  lead magnet freebies such as an e-book shows that Flywheel is willing to provide something valuable to subscribers in exchange for their attention.

When in doubt, you can always score brownie points with your subscribers by hooking them up with a quick “freebie.”

And by following up that free content with relevant messages, over time, you can quickly turn those one-time downloaders into happy paying customers.

7. Use curiosity to your advantage

It’s easy for readers to sleep on your welcome messages unless you compel them to click through.

A combination of a smart subject line and “incomplete” body copy from GoDaddy accomplish exactly that:Welcome Email - GoDaddy

At a glance, this message might not seem like much out of the ordinary, but there’s a lot going on here:

  • The message does a great job of piquing the reader’s interest from the word “go.” Starting with the subject line “Get online with the right domain,” readers are naturally curious to what the “right” domain might actually be. This subtle subject line implies that readers can’t just pick any old domain and therefore need to read on to learn more.
  • GoDaddy offers a helping hand by promising ten tips; however, only five are listed. This incomplete list encourages readers to click through to the GoDaddy blog  to see what else they need to know. In other words, it leaves the reader wanting more.

Your welcome messages should follow a similar principle.

Sure, you can throw in a deal or discount (and GoDaddy does that, too) but you should also provide opportunities for the newest members of your list to engage with your content.

8. Add a personal touch

It’s a no-brainer that your emails should establish a personal connection rather than present themselves as a giant sales pitch.

This welcome email from AirBNB feels like something from a friend, all the while taking a minimal approach to imagery and copy.

This email doesn’t contain more than a couple dozen words but it manages to speak volumes:

What makes this email so effective?

  • The headline “This is where it all begins” presents the reader’s engagement with the brand as a sort of journey. This is further illustrated by a unique and personalized CTA, “Find a Place to Call Home”  rather than a generic “Click Here!” message.
  • The image is personal. A subtle touch, pictures of actual flesh-and-blood people are much more visually striking versus a generic stock photo or clip-art
  • Finally, the “sent with love from AirBNB” at the end shows off the subtle power of a well-crafted email signature.

Your welcome email is your very first opportunity to start building a personal relationship with your new subscribers.

Bringing these tips together to leverage your welcome emails

These elements are the building blocks of a successful welcome email – one that connects subscribers to your brand, shows them your expertise, and prepares them for future emails from you (and gets them excited about it!).

A well crafted welcome email is the perfect way to start building relationships with your audience and creating a community around your brand. 

By leveraging these tips you’ll improve your chances of creating lasting relationships with your subscribers which as a result will lead to a happier customer base.

Kristen Dahlberg

Content Manager at Sendlane
As a member of the Sendlane content marketing team, Kristen focuses on everything from organization to content curation and process improvement. She enjoys variety and the challenge of learning the best way to accomplish each new goal.

Outside of work, Kristen spends as much time as possible at the beach, soaking up the San Diego sunshine!

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