Managing the email subscriber lifecycle is like being in a relationship. We communicate with each other by sending messages that relate to our current relationship status and hope they are well-received. Everyone can agree that those first dates and interactions are the most crucial for any budding relationship, which is why it is so important to get off on the right foot and make the perfect first impression. An email welcome series helps to ease subscribers into the regular email stream, sets the stage for future interactions, and inspires them to continue to open your email messages and engage with your brand. You have to have your game face on and do all the right things to get the subscriber engaged to begin to build a long-term relationship.
Engagement is one of the cornerstones of email marketing - the higher, the better. Think of this as your “asking-for-the –first-date-speech.” Make it inviting, strong and personal.
- What high engagement means to your brand
- Stronger deliverability
- Greater interaction with your messaging
- Better business results - whether you are measuring purchases, enrollments or other metrics
So how do you garner high engagement? By establishing a strong, rewarding relationship of trust from the get-go.
The subscriber lifecycle must be managed from beginning to end. The beginning of the lifecycle is the most engaging and crucial stage to success, and therefore deserves the most tender, loving care. An email welcome series is an effective way to ramp-up your brand’s relationship with your subscriber. It catches the attention of subscribers at the exact moment they are interested in hearing more from you. This is your moment! The chance to secure the dinner date, the picnic in the park, and if you’re lucky-the goodnight smooch.
What exactly is an email welcome series?
- A welcome series is a sequence of emails that are sent to new subscribers to gently introduce them to your email stream.
- Typically these emails are automated and/or triggered email to start at the time that the subscriber signs up to receive emails from you.
- The subsequent messages are sent at a set cadence and frequency which is best determined by testing (see diagram below).
New subscribers are usually held out of all other email sends during the period in which they receive the welcome series (This is a special moment with your new subscriber. Make them feel like the only girl in the world- wink face.)
What should be included in a welcome series? Well, the actual email contents will vary depending on your business and your goal for the series.
- Step 1: Set a goal for the series
- The first goal of a welcome series should always be subscriber engagement; this new audience should be opening your emails and clicking on your calls to action.
- The second goal should be a business goal. When the subscriber clicks, what do you want the new subscriber to do? Make a purchase? Enter a contest? Engage with your brand on social media?
- Determine how you will measure your goal to ensure that you are getting the most out of your welcome series.
- Step 2: Determine the series content and email cadence
- Like any first date it is important to remember your manners. Make sure your new subscribers are feeling the love. A welcome series should be both educational and rewarding, and include clear calls to action. Here is an example cadence:
- Email 1: Thank the subscriber for opting in and provide a reward such as a discount, free shipping or entry into a contest. (A dozen red roses, anyone?)
- Email 2: Educate the subscriber on your brand value proposition. What does your brand have to offer the subscriber, personally?
- Email 3: Educate the subscriber about your product/service.
- Email 4: Make sure that you acknowledge the subscriber’s behavior to show that you’re paying attention. If the subscriber purchased or engaged, thank them and give them a reason to purchase or engage again. If they did not purchase or engage, use this opportunity to follow-up.
- Step 3: Test!
- Just like dating, it takes some experience to get all the right moves down. Make sure to test different aspects of your welcome series to get the most engagement.
- Pre-headers and subject lines – What garners the most opens?
- Calls-to-action – What inspires new subscribers to click?
- Incentives – What motivates subscribers to engage with your brand?
- Email Cadence & Frequency – What cadence and frequency keeps subscribers most engaged and keeps your brand top of mind? (Yes, when to call back after the first date is still a mystery of mankind.)
Finally, the welcome series ends by moving the subscriber into your regular email stream – and the next phase of subscriber lifecycle management - and the relationship – begins. Can anyone say commitment?
Hungry for more relationship advice? Check out these related posts: Re-engagement with email win-back programs
Check out our previous blog post to learn more about focusing on early engagement.