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How to use your data to send better welcome emails

As a marketer, you know your welcome email is absolutely crucial to your brand’s success.

After all, you’ve probably seen the stats:

• The average open rate for welcome emails is 50%, making them 86% more effective than email newsletters (MarketingSherpa).
• Welcome messages typically have 4 times the open rate and 5 times the clickthrough rate of other bulk mailings (Experian).
• Subscribers who receive a welcome email show more long-term engagement with a brand – 33% more, on average (Brightwave).

But what needs to happen before you can make that first brand impression in the inbox? What data do you need to create the best possible experience and maximize engagement?

Here are a few tips on how to get more out of the most important email you’ll ever send.


If you only have an email address…

When we talk about collecting the right data on your subscribers so you can serve up relevant, personalized experiences, this is where it starts.

If you’re like many brands, you may only ask for an email address during the subscription process. But think about the bigger picture: Can you track where your new subscribers came from (a social channel versus your website, for instance)? If they did sign up on your website, do you know if it was on a particular page? Use that info to inform the content you deliver in your welcome email.

Even if you begin with no data other than an email address, your welcome series is one of the first tools you can use to begin learning more about your audience. So each time you send a new email in the series, serve up elements you can use to determine a subscriber’s interests – different topics, different types of content, etc. – and pay attention to how they engage.

Based on those first few pieces of information, you can begin to group subscribers into segments, or even set up branching logic (it’s sort of like choose your own adventure, email-style) to serve them different emails based on the links they clicked.

If you ask for more information at signup...

I’m naturally willing to share more if I know I’m going to get something really valuable in return. So if you’re offering up a great lead magnet (like some branded swag or a killer discount), it’s probably ok to ask subscribers for a little more information on your signup form.

If you do choose to collect that extra data, make sure you use it to inform your subscribers’ welcome experience. If you collect location information, for instance, serve up a map to your closest retail store. Or if your subscriber checks a box that tells you they’re interested in women’s clothing, send them a welcome email with a header image containing one of your most popular women’s products.

If you get the customer experience right (aka, serve up targeted experiences that show you’re paying attention) from the get-go, you’re much more likely to keep subscribers around for the long haul.

If you get a new subscriber somewhere OTHER than a signup form…

• Content download

If you capture someone’s email address through a gate on a piece of content or a webinar, don’t just throw them into your email audience and call it a day.

First, be sure to send them a quick welcome email that thanks them for checking out your content, introduces your brand, sets up expectations for what you’ll be sending them in the future, and offers them another piece of valuable content they might be interested in. That way, their transition into your email audience feels much more natural, and they’ll actually want to pay attention to what you send – even beyond their initial download.

• In-person experience

Whether you collect an email address during checkout at your brick-and-mortar store or on an iPad at a conference booth, follow up with a timely thank you.

For these, it’s best to reference something memorable about your first encounter, offer them a warm welcome to your email list, and direct them to something they might be interested based on what you learned about them, whether it’s a webinar invitation or a VIP sale.


How are you personalizing your welcome series for new subscribers? Share away in the comments!