How to create an effective welcome series

February 16, 2017 Susan Norman

There are lots of good things about new subscribers. They're more engaged, they haven't seen your content before and they're statistically more likely to click and open your emails. And, hey, they give you that warm-fuzzy feeling that your email program is working.

Trouble is, the story you're telling your long-time subscribers in your main marketing emails may not make sense to them yet. Think of it this way. When someone walks into your store, do you immediately ask for their credit card number?

Nope. First, you craft an experience that creates connection and warmth: a helpful associate, a gorgeous product display, a cool video tutorial.

The email equivalent?

A welcome series.

A welcome series puts you in control of how your subscribers are introduced to your brand. It creates trust and helps you establish a relationship with your customer. First impressions are crucial, and sometimes, a single welcome email isn't enough to set the stage. 

You need a welcome series. But it doesn't have to be overwhelming! This plan will take you 45 minutes this week, so block the space on your calendar now, followed by time to create and set up the emails. 

Here's your step-by-step guide to creating a welcome series.

Subscribers who receive welcome emails show more long-term engagement with a brand.



Step 1. Decide the key messages for new subscribers

A common mistake to avoid: don't start with the number of emails and then decide what goes in each one. Start with what you need to say, and then determine how many emails it'll take to say it.

If someone is new to your email list, what do they need to know about your brand?

If you sell a product or service, it might be this:
+ How our product or service works
+ How we're different from our competitors
+ People rave about us
+ A special offer

If you're a nonprofit, it might be this:
+ Our history and mission
+ Stories of impact we've made
+ Exclusive perks for donors/members
+ A calendar of this year's events featuring Instagram photos 



Step 2. Create a framework for those messages

Next up: set the number and schedule of welcome emails. The key messages you outlined in step 1 will be a big factor.

You might send 4-6 messages every few days, so it feels random. For more structure, try a daily tip or weekly top 5 countdown.

The length of your sales cycle matters, too. If people are most likely to buy in the first 48 hours, you may want to front-load your series. If your sales cycle is longer, make sure you're creating touch points over the course of a few weeks.

Using your welcome series to provide a special offer is a great way to boost sales.



Step 3. Decide whether to keep new subscribers off your main list until the series is complete

The next email on your list may mention campaigns or promotions your newest subscribers aren't ready for yet. You can create a handy search that segments out everyone on your list who joined in the last, say, 14 days so they don't receive your main emails. There are several ways to do this depending on how your list is structured. 



Step 4. Create and set up the emails

What gets scheduled gets done. Depending on the scope you've laid out, set aside the time to create your emails. Chances are, you can repackage existing content and save some time.

When you've created them, use this article from the knowledge base to put our trigger feature to work. It's how you'll actually set up the series.



Step 5. Enjoy a donut

You earned it! Also, monitor your results to see what's working and adjust what isn't.


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