Nothing makes ecommerce companies happier than customers who visit their website and buy something the first time they visit. Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to get that desired result.
Most visitors to your website won’t convert immediately, but you still have an opportunity to ask for their email address using signup forms so you can continue communication.
If they’re willing to share their email address with you and receive your email campaigns, you can introduce them to your brand and your products over time and establish a good rapport.
The best way to do this is through an automated welcome email series, which is exactly what we cover in this article.
Here, you’ll learn what makes an effective welcome email series and why you need them. We then show you an example of how a series might look, before guiding you through how to set one up on Mailigen by Pipedrive.
What is an effective welcome email series?
A welcome email series is a series of automated emails that a user begins to receive as soon as they sign up to your email list and opt-in to receive your emails. The campaign usually lasts up until a subscriber makes their first purchase or takes an action that segments them into a different email drip campaign.
It’s hard to communicate everything you want to say in a single welcome email, which is why a series of them is the best way to introduce potential customers to your brand. It’s the perfect time to showcase what you offer, how you can help solve their problem(s) and what the recipient can expect from your email marketing.
Here’s a simple example of a basic welcome email series automation tree:
The welcome series email is the first step towards lifecycle email marketing automation for your business. It’s also often the easiest email workflow to set up within your email marketing strategy and usually consists of three to eight emails. These emails should show why your company is useful to the customer, what problems or pain points you can solve and why they should keep opening and reading your emails.
Your first email might explain the competitive advantages of your company, introduce your team and include a free resource like a product demo, ebook or a webinar replay.
Let’s say you’re promoting an online learning platform that helps people learn Spanish. Your first welcome email could provide basic steps and tutorials on how they can get started with simple guidelines, showcasing how easy your platform is to use.
Why do you need to welcome your subscribers?
There are several important reasons why all brands should have a welcome email series in place for new contacts. Let’s go through them.
Maintains focus on your brand
You can never be entirely sure why new email subscribers have signed up to receive your emails. They could be ready to buy now, or they might be ready to order in a week or two (or longer if your product involves a complex sale). They might have been recommended to your brand, or maybe they’re only signing up in order to take advantage of an offer you’ve promised.
Whatever the reason, great welcome emails have to delight the recipient and make a great first impression. In its simplest form, these emails simply provide a warm welcome so they feel part of your community and included in the conversation.
Set up your welcome series so that the first email is sent automatically as soon as a person subscribes to your email list. This way, they can begin to engage with your content immediately, which helps to:
Build familiarity and trust
Keep their attention on your brand (instead of the competition)
Incentivize them to take an action (e.g. start a free demo or buy a new product)
Educate them on your products, brand story and mission
Explain how often you’ll be communicating (which helps set expectations)
Share what perks, coupons or VIP treatment they’ll get from joining the list
You might also want to promote a special offer for new users to grab their attention and empower them to immediately move forward in their purchasing journey (for example, 20% off their first order or a free consultation).
Make sure your first communication has a clear welcome email subject line so the reader knows who it’s from, what it’s about and what’s inside. Something as simple as, “Welcome to [Brand Name]” does the trick.
Also, include a bold call-to-action (CTA button) so it’s obvious what next step you want them to take. You could even build a new landing page specifically for new subscribers, which is especially useful if your first welcome email delivers some kind of material (e.g. a report or whitepaper).
If you do decide to add a resource directly to your email, make sure to include a download link instead of attaching the document to your email. This helps to ensure you stay out of the spam folder, as spam filters may flag your email as undeliverable if the attachment is too large.
Prevents customer objections
Customers almost always do their research when purchasing goods and services online, so there’s a high chance they might be unsure about whether or not to choose your business. The best welcome emails help dispel these concerns.
Whether it’s by telling your brand story, explaining your company name, including customer testimonials and social media reviews or simply going into more detail about your product and why it’s perfectly suited to the recipient, your welcome emails can help customers make a purchase decision.
Welcome emails are not about pressuring subscribers to make a purchase. The primary goal is to help customers understand your products and services so they can make an informed decision.
If you pressure your new subscribers into buying, you may come across as pushy or salesy, which is a recipe for unsubscribes.
During the series of onboarding emails, the customer will decide whether or not your company is trustworthy and gauge if they feel comfortable making a purchase. Of course, you want them to take action, but step one is all about customer relationship building.
What does an email welcome series look like?
If you’ve ever worked on an email marketing campaign before, you’ll know how complex email workflows can get. Often there are dozens of nuances in a series workflow depending on the recipient’s behavior.
For the sake of this article, let’s run an example of what a very basic email welcome series might look like.
Imagine that we run a flower shop. We’ve not divided our customer database into segments and have not set any emailing conditions. In this case, our welcome series example could look like this:
Welcoming the new customer and saying thank you for subscribing. Giving the promised bonus – e.g. 10% discount code for their first bouquet.
Welcome to [business name]! We’re glad you’re here.
As a thank you for subscribing, here’s 10% off your first bouquet.
Enter the code at checkout, or show this email in-store.
Use code: [code]
Thanks again for shopping with us.
P.S. If you have any questions, simply reply to this email and we’ll be in touch.
Explaining why the customer needs to buy flowers from us and not our competitors. For example, we could be one of the very few florists to create flower arrangements from dried ornamental plants.
When [business name] first started, we decided to be different.
Instead of using fresh flowers, we only use dried ornamental plants.
Dry flowers can last several years, whereas fresh flowers only last about 10 days.
Our team is dedicated to creating the most beautiful, sustainable ornamental designs available.
Read more about our story: [link]
Preventing customer objections. Highlighting the benefits of our arrangements (they last longer and don’t require much maintenance), outlining why they’re cheaper than regular bouquets and answering FAQs.
Our dried ornamental arrangements are maintenance-free.
Compared to fresh flowers, they:
- Last up to a year or more
- Require no water
- Retain their color
- Are biodegradable
Order your first bouquet now and get 15% off.
Use code: [code]
[Recommended products][your name]
Reminding the recipient to use their first order discount because it expires soon. This should incentivize them to take action before they miss out.
You still haven’t redeemed your gift!
Hurry! This offer expires soon.
Which bouquet should you order?
Check out our most popular collections:
Reminding the new subscriber that this is their chance to use the 10% off first purchase order.
Last chance to get 10% off your first bouquet!
Your first order coupon expires in [timeframe].
This sequence gives you a good idea of how a basic welcome email series should look. Now you can create a welcome email template for new customers and adjust your content marketing, copywriting, welcome email design and visuals as the series progresses.
After the initial welcome email sequence, your next drip campaign could benefit from segmentation.
When we segment our database, naturally things get more complicated. Done right, complex email segmentation can be highly effective because you’re sending targeted, relevant content to several smaller groups, rather than one large email blast to your entire email list.
For example, the same flower bouquet shop may segment its shoppers by identified gender, age, distance from a store, or profession.
If customer research tells them that people that identify as male are more likely to buy flowers to give to their spouse or partner (or parent on Mother’s Day), they may change the email body content to highlight why their flowers make the perfect gift, romantic or otherwise.
Email sequences become more sophisticated as more conditions are added.
This could mean one chain of emails for customers who open and click through on the first email and a different chain for those who open the email but fail to interact.
You could then have one chain for recipients who open your second email and a different one for those who fail to open it. For the latter, you could try increasing your email open rates and engagement rates by enticing them back with a special or exclusive offer in email three.
You can’t control or anticipate every step a customer makes, but you can have several welcome email chains set up to help guide them. Once a subscriber purchases and becomes a customer, they should be moved to a different email marketing series.
3 tips to maximize welcome email success
Here are three takeaway tips for a successful welcome email series:
1. Get to know each other right away
Set up your automatic system so that subscribers receive the first email from your welcome series as soon as they sign up. The customer is expecting to hear from you, so welcome messages often produce very high open rates and click-through rates. If you leave it too long, they might forget about you and unsubscribe, or your future emails could be deleted or marked as spam.
2. Segment your database
If needed, segment your target audience by gender, age, location and preferences (if you captured any on the sign-up form) to ensure your emails are relevant to them. That said, don’t become overzealous. Dozens of segments can become difficult to manage, so keep it practical.
3. Set up automation conditions
Set up email automation conditions in your email series to ensure you’re always sending the most relevant email to each recipient.
For example, you could set up a trigger to send an email campaign after customers view certain items on your website but don’t add them to a cart. This way, they’re receiving personalized emails related to their behavior, which could be what incentivizes them to go back to checkout and make that crucial purchase decision.
This could have a big impact on your conversion rates.
The optimal amount of emails you should include in your email welcome series can differ between different business sectors and product/service offerings.
Check out other welcome email examples, experiment, optimize and find out what works best for your brand.
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