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  Email Marketing Tips Newsletter: 

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The Email Welcome Message - Thanx for signing up!

The Welcome email has been compared to a first date ... it can set expectations about what will happen next and in the future. A successful first date almost always leads to a second one.

A good Welcome message will increase the odds that a subscriber will interact with future messages ... the objective is for the subscriber to become active and engaged over the long-run.

Plus, setting expectations properly can help reduce the complaint rate. And, everyone should know how important THAT is, for getting your email delivered to the Inbox!

The Welcome message should confirm the sign up and make the subscriber feel glad they signed up and, ideally, get recipients shopping. It gives the new subscriber a chance to evaluate the email program's value.

It's amazing how many marketers either don't even bother to send Welcome messages, which is clearly a missed opportunity, or who send them, using plain text messaging with little more information than "You are on the list." This is barely an improvement over not sending them at all.

In some cases, new subscribers receive a Welcome message, but not if they purchase an item before subscribing. In fact, according to ReturnPath, 40% of marketers who sent Welcome emails to new inquiry subscribers did not send them to new buyers who signed up.

Answer New Subscriber's Questions
It's important for the Welcome email to answer as many of the new subscribers questions as possible ... up front!

Questions such as ...
  • Will I get bombarded with ads? Tell folks how often they will receive your messages.
  • Will I get useful information? Describe what types of items will be included in each email.
  • Can I stop receiving messages at any time? Mention the unsubscribe link, which should be at the bottom of every email.
  • What kind of privacy policy is in place? Provide a link to yours.
  • Will I get special discounts? If you offer special discounts to email subscribers, make them actually special and not something anyone can get, if they visit the web site.

Optimize the Subject Line
The Subject line and the "from" address are probably the most important items, in determining whether or not your Welcome message is opened and read.

Best practices recommend using a friendly greeting, mentioning any welcome offers, and including the company name in the Subject line. This is not easy to do, when you consider that it is also recommended that the Subject line be no more than 55 characters.

How about? "Welcome Offer for ABC Company Subscribers!"

I guess with a longer company name, you will really need to be creative.

Relevance
It is pretty much agreed upon that if your email reaches the Inbox, the best way to ensure that subscribers read it and want more is to provide "relevance". The Welcome email is your first opportunity to show it!

Always customize the contents of every email for the reader. Set up a preferences page, so subscribers can let you know exactly what they are interested in and how often they wish to receive email from you.

And, don't miss the opportunity to Upsell! If a new subscriber already made a purchase, mention the item they bought and suggest companion products for their purchase.

Make It Easy! ... To Gather New Subscribers & Lose Unsatisfied Ones
Make it easy to both subscribe and unsubscribe. Most eCommerce companies have a signup form on the home page. Why not have it on every page?

Explicitly offer buyers the option to sign up during the checkout process. If it is a pre-checked box, make sure it is visible and easy to uncheck.

It's a good idea to also include instructions for adding the newsletter sending address to a subscriber's address book. These "whitelisting" instructions can keep your email out of the client Junk folder.

And, take advantage of viral marketing: Include a Forward-to-a-Friend link in every email. For example, your Welcome message and future emails could encourage subscribers to "Pass on the savings".

Finally, having an easily visible Unsubscribe link in every email, including the Welcome message, makes it easy to opt-out of future messages. This is another piece of the "reduce complaints" puzzle.

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