Hola. Hi. Namaste. Hello, you’re awesome! Welcome to the Cult.
These are all ways I’ve been greeted online after giving a company my email address. While the introductions vary in tone, length, and humor (I promise I’m not in a cult, just a workout bootcamp), one thing remains the same: you should send a great welcome email.
A welcome email has an 86% higher than normal open rate with a 196% click-through rate.
I’ll be blunt, when communicating with someone your list, you won’t get this level of attention with this much ease ever again in their user lifecycle. When you spend time here now, it will impact your relationships with new subscribers and help to grow your email list in a sustainable way.
To help you cash in on this opportunity to make a real connection with your community, I’m going to show you 6 real examples of my favorite welcome emails.
I'll break down how the writers do it and show you exactly how you can replicate their process to develop an engaging welcome email.
To start, download our Welcome Email Worksheet and follow along.
Everyone we'll study are big names with established credibility in the online business world. I’ll break down their strategies using five questions: who, what, where, when, why.
Who you are as the sender and company
What your company does, its logo and tagline
Why your audience should care, the common ground you share and your competitive advantage
Where they signed up for your email and where they can check out your other online properties
When you’ll be sending another email and setting expectations
A welcome email is sent immediately to thank your subscriber, introduce yourself, provide a call to action, AND give the legally required mailing address. You probably guessed that.
Now let’s dig into NEW insights and what exactly you should do when writing your own with these welcome email examples.
TAKE AWAY: Writing Style
It’s no surprise that Marie’s personality is one of her major strengths. So let me say it, be entertaining while being informative.
Marie is bubbly, feminine, and rah-rah and it’s a straight up competitive advantage that keeps me opening her email over other newsletters and has grown her audience to millions.
Who: This is Marie Forleo, a self-titled “part business strategist, part marketing maven and part spiritual ass-kicker with a side of hip-hop swagger”. Right off the bat, Marie grabs your attention with her personality. From the subject line “You’re Awesome” to the name of her site “marieforleolovesyou.com”, readers get a sense of what makes Marie Marie.
What: In the second paragraph, Marie explicitly says what she does: actionable wisdom. But wait, there’s more. She’s also implicitly giving you more of her personality.
Why: Why should readers listen to Marie? She clearly says that she gives: “actionable advice” and “entertaining videos”, two big claims that she backs up with incredibly strong linked content delivered with personality.
Where: The very first thing Marie does is remind you that YOU signed up for her blog, but what I love about Marie’s email is that she seamlessly flows into already created assets. Not only is she repurposing strong content and a time investment, but she’s driving people to her other online properties, boosting UVPMs and building a relationship. She also includes a call-to-action to follow her on social. Damn girl.
When: Marie very quickly sets audience expectations by giving the date of her weekly newsletter and describing the content involved. She’s direct, efficient and does so with flawless writing.
TAKE AWAY: The Signature Photo
After digging into the best articles about welcome emails, I was surprised that none of them mentioned the email signature.
Your signature adds credibility to your business. Give your title, your Twitter handle and website. Including your Twitter handle has dual purpose. It helps people reach you while spurring organic no-cost promotion.
I’m also going to throw in something a little less tested here. Include a photo of yourself.
Want to know why so many people take and selfies? Because as people, we like and connect with faces. #brainhack. According to Buffer, and face-tracking studies by Mashable, the profile picture or avatar is the first place the eye is drawn to on Facebook and other social media profiles. Use that.
Alex’s is one of the few welcome emails where his Google+ photo came through, which adds to the overall strength of this email: personability.
Who: Alex is the CEO of Groove, a customer service software for teams. Alex’s personability shines in this email. He comes off as sincere and personable using words like “appreciate” “help” and “I’ll do my best.”
He even includes his email address, something most founders aren’t willing to make obvious, AND offers to meet with anyone who asks. That’s a huge way to be remembered and show off his competitive advantage: providing great support.
What: Alex wins by including branding and his logo at the top of his email. I’ll remember that. However, Alex tells me he’s going to send me his best content, but I forget what he writes about. Awkward. Remind people what you specifically do in your welcome email.
Why: Alex drives empathy for his brand by writing as a CEO. It makes people feel special. His willingness to give feedback furthers this notion.
Where: Alex lets you know that YOU signed up for Groove, but he doesn’t link to his website. I’d like to see that. However, he drives visitors to his site through a strong call-to-action: try Groove for free for 30 days.
When: Alex sets expectations saying he’ll send content over “the next few days”. He also nurtures new sign ups who are curious about getting great similar content.
TAKE AWAY: Call to Action
This email kills through its call to action: Do 1 thing. Tell me what you’re struggling with right now.
We know that of the last 3,000 of emails sent, GrowHack has gotten a 10% response rate on this simple email. This has allowed GrowHack to respond, relationships to blossom and love bloom?
I kid, but the importance of making an engaging first impression cannot be overestimated.
Who: GrowHack tells you who they are better than most. There’s an eye-catching logo at the top left and bottom of the email, and the sender is a real human being. Tip: the image pulled because it’s the profile picture for GrowHack on Google+.
What: I LOVE that GrowHack doesn’t make me work to figure out what they do. They give “valuable advice that show you how to get traffic…and revenue.” I’m listening.
Why: GrowHack makes you care by using carefully chosen words: “valuable” “revenue” “traffic” and “show you how”. These words add value to the email and entice an audience. This also expresses their competitive advantage: they will help you make money.
Where: GrowHack doesn’t link to their website anywhere, which I find a little strange. However, it focuses me on the call-to-action getting me to engage and respond.
When: GrowHack is very upfront about their email coming “about once a week”. This sets expectations that I’m not going to get too many emails from them in my sacred and crowded inbox. It also makes it easy to stay honest if you’re not sure you can meet a once a week deadline.
TAKE AWAY: Give Away Content
Neil doesn’t have a welcome email. Instead, he sends you the last post he created. We DON’T SUGGEST THIS. It works in this case because Neil is giving away so much content in his regular newsletter and because he is well known.
To this point, the email gives away a ridiculous amount of free content, without using the words “free” in the subject line. This is important because according to email studies from Mailchimp:
- The word “free” triggers spam filters
- The words “help”, “percent off”, and “reminder” negatively affect open rates
Who: We may know Neil Patel as the co founder of KISSmetrics and QuickSprout, but notice that his sender line feeds back to QuickSprout. This is a quick technique you can use to drive traffic to one of your many online properties if you have multiple.
Neil is also unpretentious about his big titles. He’s straightforward, brief and down-to-earth Neil. However, this only works if you’ve already established credibility. I signed up for his emails by going to NeilPatel.com making those titles unnecessary.
What: Neil is going to help us increase visitors. It’s in the subject line, the text and the title of the posts he include. Even though his email is short, it’s good to repeat information in new forms as a way to drive home your point without being redundant.
Why: Neil is giving us one huge reason why we should care about his content, because he’s giving away actionable content for FREE. There’s a saying in marketing, you’ve got to give, give, give and then ask. Neil is the master.
In this beautifully brief email, Neil gives away content in four links and promises to “show us how.” Use this phrase. It’s one thing to give advice, it’s another to give the concrete steps as to how.
Neil also includes a strong call-to-action in the very first line of his email: Let me know what you think. This is effective strategy for engaging your audience.
Where: Neil gives me numerous places to find his other work. Like Marie Forleo, he makes existing content continue to work for him, saving time and increasing page views on existing content.
Fair warning, unless you’re established like Neil, don’t use “go here” as the text for a link. It’s not an effective cliffhanger. If people don’t know you, they don’t trust you and they don’t want to follow links to find out what your content is. Tell people what they’re getting before they navigate away from your email.
When: Neil doesn’t tell us how often he’ll be sending content. To be fair, he’s “sharing a journey to 100K monthly visitors” and might not know when he’ll push new content and doesn’t want to overpromise.
TAKE AWAY: Subject Lines
I can’t get over this subject line. It’s 4 words, introduces Noah, and drives to strong online property. Noah makes those 4 words do work! Added bonus: because they’re the subject line, they have a much larger audience than any other text.
Think about it: Your subject line is seen by every new subscriber, even those who quickly unsubscribe AND read by your entire email list even if some of those people don’t open your email.
Not to mention, the average person gets 121 emails a day according to a study by Radicati. This is on top of texts, instagram tags, Tweets and pings on Slack. Avoid becoming grey mail (unwanted newsletters or notifications) by making your text and subject lines entertaining.
Who: Noah freaking Kagan. Who is he? He’s a self deprecating goofy dude with great content at OkDork.com AND all of this is said in the subject line. Impressive.
We’re also learning about who Noah is from the style and brevity of his content. Incase you thought about not taking him seriously, he reminds people he was #30 at Facebook in the P.S.
What: Noah is telling us two things that he does. 1. rogue marketing and 2. help you. He could be a bit clearer in my opinion, but in true Noah style, whatever.
Why: Noah gives a crystal clear call-to-action is the most prominent part of his email, and it’s clearly meant to help him cater to you. I like that.
He also notes that he “reads all emails”. Like Alex at Groove, this is a super memorable tactic. Noah adds in another element: personality. His brevity and smilies are part of that and reading his email feels like a quick high-five.
Where: Noah includes the email address for his site in the subject line. Woah! He’s clearly driving people there and promising to include content you care about with the call-to-action–not so dorky after all.
When: Noah doesn’t mention when he’ll send the next email, but as discussed before, that’s ok.
TAKE AWAY: Visuals
It might seem out of place to talk about Thrillist after discussing so many content marketers, but I wanted to emphasize what you can do with visuals if you have a visually appealing product.
“In an online store, customers think that the quality of a product’s image is more important than product-specific information (63%), a long description (54%) and ratings and reviews (53%),” according to Jeff Bullas.
While you MUST be careful that Google spam filter won’t catch your VIP welcome email, visuals can convey your brand, purpose, content and personality without a single word.
Who: Thrillist. Duh. From the subject line, to the massive logo, to the use of “thrillist” 9 times in one email, we’re not going to forget. Notice how they did this without being redundant. Include branding in sender lines, boiler plages, website URLs and social handles.
Careful with including too many calls-to-action, especially with social. You don’t want to drive your audience to too many online properties at once.
Thrillist has also done a fantastic job of branding itself as the one stop shop for food, drink and travel. Which pretty much slams into your face with their images and headings.
What: The photos show us that Thrillist does food, drink and travel. Plus, I want that burger.
Why: Best burger in America? What don’t I know about drinks? I want to know! When you caption a photo, you’re giving yourself another opportunity to tell you audience why they should care and including clickbait messaging.
Words of warning: Is your product visually appealing? Does it work well as a photo? If not, I don’t want to see it.
Also consider the size of your image. Nothing is worse than a photo that isn’t visible on mobile, takes ages to load, or an email being so heavy it clogs your inbox.
Where: Mentioning “thrillist” 9 times makes me remember where I signed up. It also leads me back to all of their properties. They’re all included. It’s the carpet bomb of linking.
When: Thrillist sets their expectations in the banner. This works if you have a visual focused email.
It’s one thing to know, and another to actually create your own. Did you notice that every one of these example emails put their value add in the second sentence? Did you learn anything from these welcome emails examples? How much time have you spent optimizing this important first contact with your new subscribers?