Your welcome email is your most important digital marketing asset.
It’s the only email most people on your list will open. It’s a tool to make an impression, build trust, even make sales.
So why are you wasting it?
A good welcome email (or any confirmation email, for that matter) can do all these things. And in today’s post, we’ll show you three hacks that will transform your welcome emails from something that checks the box (“Yep, I’m supposed to send these out”)…
…to something that actively helps you get more engaged subscribers and, ultimately, paying customers.
No matter what industry you’re in, you can use any of these hacks to learn more about your target market, build stronger relationships with customers, and even generate revenue faster.
Now, let’s see how exactly you will do that, shall we?
1. Do excellent customer research by asking THE question
Whenever a new subscriber joins your list, there’s one thing you can do to develop a strong relationship with them from Day One – asking a question.
But not just any question… the question. It needs to be:
- Genuine – something you would want to learn about your subscriber.
- Relevant – something they themselves have been thinking about.
- Quick – it shouldn’t take more than a couple of sentences to answer.
- Specific – something that relates to a narrow(ish) subject, like your industry.
Sure enough, all of these sound obvious – but you’d be surprised how many people get this wrong. Then again, 26% of businesses don’t even send a welcome email (based on this 2017 email marketing study) – so if you’re reading this, you’re way ahead of the curve!
How to use this hack:
Step One is the trickiest. This is where you craft your question. Your goal is to come up with something that your newest subscribers will be compelled to answer – and that you can use in the future.
Here are some ideas – all taken from real-life welcome emails – of short, uncomplicated questions that work really well:
- “What business are you in?”
- “Do you already have customers, or are you just starting out?”
- “What’s the #1 thing you want to learn about [industry/niche]?”
- “If I could write about 1 thing to make your day better, what would it be?”
As you can see, each question is easy to answer, and provides important insights into the target market: their industry, their level of sophistication, their current interests and challenges…
All you need to do is figure out what you want to learn about your new subscribers, and formulate a question to match.
Then, Step Two is to put it at the end of your welcome email – after you’ve introduced yourself, reminded them why they are getting the message, and told them what to expect. Finally, in Step Three, you can close with a simple call to action, like “Hit Reply and let me know!”
When to use this hack:
You can use this tactic throughout the entire lifecycle of your business, but it’s most helpful in early stages of growth. No matter what market you serve, figuring out who your customers are and what they want is vital.
A well-crafted question in a welcome email can produce more valuable data for you than a painstaking, detailed customer development survey. So if you’re still not sure about the best way to get into your target audience’s head, use this hack!
2. Earn your subscribers’ trust by making a request
When someone lets you into their inbox, you are probably thinking that there is only one way to build a great relationship with that person. Send them great emails on the regular – and then later, when you ask for the sale, they will be happy to buy. Easy, right?
No, not really.
You see, a real relationship with your subscribers can’t be one-sided. If they just passively consume whatever you send their way, they will make great readers… but terrible customers.
So from Day One, you want to give them a meaningful way to help you. And the best way to do this is to ask for a small favor.
You’ve probably heard this a million times by now, but people who help someone start liking that person even more than if they’d done them a good turn. It’s a well-documented phenomenon, named after Ben Franklin – and since yesterday was July 4th, it’s very appropriate!
How to use this hack:
Not unlike hack #1, you want to put some forethought and planning into this. You will need to hit the sweet spot by figuring out some meaningful request that will be valuable enough for you and easy enough for your audience.
Just to give you some ideas, here are a few possible requests that are right at that sweet spot:
- Ask to join a Facebook group right after they subscribe to your email list.
- Ask to share your content on social media.
- Ask for a review of your product or content (e.g. a podcast).
- Ask them to whitelist your email address.
- Ask them to hit Reply and tell them if they got your email.
- Ask them to comment on a blog post or other piece of content you created.
We bet you can come up with some easy requests of your own! Once you’ve done that, figure out where you’re going to make the ask:
- Right at the beginning of your email, so there’s no chance they could possibly miss it.
- In the middle of your email, as a potential thing they might do. This is especially helpful if you have several things to show your subscribers.
- At the end or in the P.S. of your email, to qualify high-quality, deeply engaged prospects who pay attention all the way through.
Note: If you have several things to show or tell your new subscribers, that’s OK. But you want to have only one actionable request in your welcome email. Chances are, performing your favor will be a more complicated action than simply clicking a link – so respect your reader’s time, and don’t push your luck.
When to use this hack:
This is an evergreen hack that’s useful whether your business makes $10,000 a year, $100 million a year, or more. So “when” doesn’t really apply here. That said, we’re going to give you a few scenarios where asking for a favor is authentic and very helpful:
- Let’s say that your newest subscriber just opted in to get a massively helpful piece of content: a guide, a presentation, an audio training, you name it. You can ask them to share the content with one friend (or colleague) who could also use that information.
- A great time to make a request is when you onboard your newest paying customer. They just gave you their email address and paid you money – even if they say no, it’s not a big deal! You can ask them to fill out a survey, or just write you a note sharing their experience so far. And if you’re feeling lucky, you can ask for a referral! All of these are good steps to nurture first-time buyers into long-term customers.
- A new subscriber opted in to get bonus content for something you’re promoting – say, a book or a podcast. You know that they liked it enough to do that, so why not ask that person to leave a review? Reviews are a huge credibility-booster, and they are hard to accumulate. In many ways, this is the perfect favor to ask.
3. Increase your revenue and profits by going for the (soft) sale
That’s right, you can even sell to people in your welcome emails!
Does the idea sound wrong to you as you’re reading this? That’s understandable. And that’s exactly why we wanted to show you a way to do this that’s ethical and non-pushy.
There’s nothing wrong with selling right from the get-go – as long as you do it right. In fact, you could argue that it’s better for your business in the long run. After all, do you want lots of subscribers to read your emails…
…or do you want as many of these subscribers as possible to be paying customers?
We thought so. Now, let’s dig in to see how this actually works!
How to use this hack:
There are two main ways you can make a paid offer to a new subscriber: an immediate upsell, or more careful “priming” and nurturing. Let’s look at both of them in detail.
1. Upselling a highly specific, low-priced offer. Here’s how it works: a subscriber opts in, receives what they came for (usually some type of lead magnet)… and at the same time you offer them a paid product that complements, or builds upon, what they got for free.
For example: let’s say your new subscriber opted in to get a free pack of presentation templates from you. What would make a good upsell for this type of freebie?
- You could offer a pack of premium templates for, say, $19 extra…
- You might offer a customization service to make their presentation look unique (let’s say you would charge $99 for that)…
- You could offer a related product: unique fonts, or art, or a pack of photos and illustrations, etc. If your subscribers need presentation templates, chances are they will want this as well.
Of course, this is just a rough example, but you get the idea.
2. “Prime” people for your core offer, then follow up with an email sequence. This is a little advanced, since you need to build a simple email funnel to make this tactic work.
It’s very similar to the previous approach, where you already know what your subscriber is interested in, and you gradually sell them on your main offer. Here’s how…
To start the process, let your newest subscriber know that you have a flagship product or service for them – if they want to get better results faster and with less trouble. This is known as “priming”, and you want to do this in your welcome email.
The goal here is to instill awareness that there’s more to what you do than just the free stuff they opted in for, and not to ask for the sale. So a passing mention works best.
And then, over the course of an email sequence, you will educate and sell your new subscribers on your core offer. Most of them won’t buy right away, and that’s OK – your goal is to get those customers who are ready for your product or service, and qualify the rest. And what better way to do it than by making said offer?
When to use this hack:
To sell to new subscribers with confidence, you will need a proven entry-level offer. Something you know people will want. Something that aligns with why they seek out your brand and choose to become your subscribers.
And to sell your main product or service, you will want a marketing funnel in place that’s been tested and optimized in a way that at least makes you break even, and ideally makes you profitable (if it’s a paid funnel).
All this makes Hack #3 unsuitable if your business is in its early stages of growth, and you’re just refining your target market, your unique value proposition, and your marketing channels.
Now go make your welcome emails awesome!
A bland, forgettable welcome email is the marketing equivalent of meeting someone you really like, listening to them introduce themselves…
…only to bumble some nonsensical sequence of words in response, turn a deep shade of red, and make a hasty retreat. You don’t want that, because first impressions count – in business and in life.
Of course, the three hacks we have given you won’t make you the master of writing suave, confident emails. That’s not the goal.
Instead, they will help you turn every welcome email you send into a meaningful interaction with each new subscriber. An interaction that will develop your relationship, and result in more paying customers down the line.
With that said, enjoy and – if we may be so bold – go get ‘em!