The welcome email program is a customer’s first interaction with your brand and sets the scene for maintaining a good relationship.
New laws around data collection, use, and storage affect how your brand can interact with new leads. There’s some work to be done ensuring your current database doesn’t cop a costly data breach, but in the meantime, you can review your welcome series as a step towards compliance.
The welcome program will set email expectations
Customers want a timely response after signing up or submitting an enquiry. It is the first impression they will have of your brand and helps maintain their interest. It also establishes trust that is crucial for your sending reputation.
The purpose of the welcome program is to get a better picture of the customer so you can personalise their experience with your brand.
In marketing speak, we’re talking about creating data points to a customer so we can add them to segmented lists that match our campaigns to their buying needs.
Keep the opt-in box basic
Your initial lead capture box should be super simple. Asking for too much information up front will increase the drop off rate.
You’ll build on preference centres in your welcome series, but go minimal at first with a static box or widget rather than pop-ups.
In January 2017, Google announced that pop-ups would affect your mobile-friendly criteria, which forms part of its ranking signal.
This first set of automation emails will be the foundation of getting a level of consent from new customers that complies with new laws.
Following is a basic three-part welcome series that will get the relationship started and ensure you capture consent correctly.
Welcome #1 – Thanks and hello from us!
Welcome #1 – Thanks and hello from us!
This first auto-reply should be triggered immediately after a customer enters their email address.
It’s short and sweet with your logo and colours to ensure it is instantly recognisable.
The real purpose of this email is to include a double opt-in link so that the email account can be verified and express consent given.
Below is an example of a recent B2B mailing list I signed up to. It has the logo, a simple Thank you, and double opt-in. Be sure to keep records of these transactions. The best email automation platforms will provide for this.
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Welcome #2 - We’d love to know more about you
This is where you’ll get the good stuff. But you’ll need to provide something engaging and some sort of reward (voucher, download, prize draw etc).
Create a preference centre to help them take control of the email relationship while capturing everything you need to create a data profile.
This email will also enhance their interest in your brand and builds the trust required for an ongoing relationship that will prompt action during your campaigns.
Once they’ve completed the preference centre you should have a clear data set to segment them into targeted lists that will ensure they are served relevant content.
The new data laws change a few things, so the welcome email series is the perfect opportunity to ensure you’re compliant with new customers.
Today your preference centre might look something like this:
For the upcoming data law changes, you’ll need to make some additions.
Welcome #3 – Our special gift to you!
This is the reward promised in the previous email. If they haven’t yet updated their preferences then your email sequence should trigger a “friendly reminder” to do so.
Start off with a “Thank You” for updating their preferences and mention some example categories of the emails you’ll be sending (How To, Inspiration, Exclusive Specials, Thought Leadership etc), and the frequency so they know what to expect.
Your special gift can be anything related to your business that adds value or solves a problem for your new subscriber. Some examples include downloadable content (worksheets, e-books, video series, webinar etc), a voucher, free delivery, anything with your company branding is a good idea.
Here’s an example from Traction Digital for a recent competition workshop promotion.
One in four new retail customers will purchase from an email welcome series that includes a discount, according to Digital Commerce 360.
Other industry sectors will reap a range of benefits such as credibility, retention and greater engagement with the brand.
Offering a gift or reward of some kind is an essential component of the welcome email series, but discounts are not always advisable as they potentially devalue your product and set an expectation you may regret.
The welcome email series is your first impression and designed to solidify the relationship, gather more information for segmentation, and provide personalised content that is relevant to the customer’s profile. Over time, it will pay enormous dividends in brand loyalty and raving fans.
The added bonus is your compliance with new data laws.
About Traction Digital
Traction Digital are experts in acquisition and engagement, streamlining the execution of cross-channel marketing campaigns, including lifecycle email, abandoned cart, promotions and ROI tracking.