How to greet new subscribers with a welcome email or series
Pretend that your Shopify store is a physical space. You’d want to welcome anyone who walks in, right?
Well, take that perspective in the realm of those who sign up for your email newsletter. They’re not just entering your virtual space, but verifying interest in stopping by again.
You’d do well to extend a warm greeting and start your relationship off on the right foot with a well-thought introduction. In the digital world, that’s sending a welcome email — via automation — once a person provides an email address.
Turns out that the welcome message is one of the best-performing email automations. We could reference a lot of stats, but ponder just this one: they convert at 9.4 times higher the rate than the typical email.
That registers as a nice cha-ching to my ears. If you want to get in on that and need support to get rolling — or have grander ambitions to welcome newcomers with a more elaborate series — then this post is for you. I’m covering:
- Three different welcome message types to get started
- Ideas for building a three-part series
- Welcome email automation examples to inspire
The welcome email: three messaging angles
We’ve already established that anyone who signs up to receive your emails is interested in you. It means you’ve got their attention at that moment, so the perfect time to acknowledge their interest and thank them is right after they hit submit.
If you’re short on time, resources are limited, and/or your marketing aptitude hasn’t yet made it out of infancy, then it’s OK to implement just one automated welcome email. One is better than nothing.
I’m outlining three basic approaches. Whichever you choose, take care to do each of the following:
- Tailor your email so it’s cohesive with your brand site look and vibe
- Set expectations for what’s to come
- Feature a strong and easy-to-find call to action (CTA) button (“Get my 10% off now!” Or something as simple as “Let’s Go!”)
Welcome email option #1: The big, bold, straightforward promo
This welcome email is typically the quickest and easiest to assemble, and can work for almost any business. It’s the ideal option if you want to be up and running as soon as possible.
The straightforward promo is as it sounds: focused on the incentive you offered in exchange for signing up. Did you advertise a 10% discount in an on-site popup or website form? Begin with a thank you, then shift to the promised offer.
What you want to do:
- Show off your personality and what separates you from the pack. Your message can appear robo-generated and cold when your unique selling proposition is absent, and you risk being perceived as another generic store. That spells doubt for some consumers.
- If a discount* was offered in the email signup, mention it in the subject line. The text can be something like, “Hey, we’ve got your 15% off right here.” It’s a nice reminder that you’re fulfilling expectations.
- Provide product ideas. Highlight two to three best-sellers with beautiful imagery. A spotlight on products equals brand reinforcement.
* Side note on discounts: This is a common tactic for transforming visitors to subscribers, especially for larger retailers. But not everyone wants to hand them out or has the profit margins to do so. Alternative promotions, such as expedited shipping or a free item, can be an attractive solution.
Betty Berry (below) is a super promo example, for a number of reasons:
- The first thing appearing after the store logo is the discount. We don’t include it in this cropped screenshot, but the code is reinforced in a larger box at the bottom of the email.
- I feel a strong connection between my inbox and the brand’s website. Bright colors and rainbows cross both.
- My favorite: personality! The welcome is signed by owners Danielle and Nicole — the twin sisters pictured in the photo. And as slight as they are, the use of “lil” and “inside gossip” leave an impression. Even the font selection plays a role.
Welcome email option #2: Brand intro via people + product
When I say introducing yourself through people, I’m referencing real customers. Feature them with your product when you can. Genuine product-backers are more relatable than flawless models.
Such user-generated content (UGC) can go a long way in building brand confidence, which encourages subscribers to become customers. A study found that UGC highly impacts purchasing decisions for 79% of people.
What you want to do:
- Talk about your brand. Yes, reveal your personality. One caution, though: don’t get too wordy. We don’t want a dissertation on your founding and everything for which you stand. Harness your passion, as well as the work you’ve already put into your shop’s website, and funnel it into concise copy. Devote three lines or less to explaining your brand value statement and/or story.
- Lean on candid photos when possible. Just ensure they are of high quality. Your products deserve to be cast in the best light.
I love that Outdoor Voices’ photos are of customers in their gear. Their correlating Instagram handles drive the point home. Great intro as well — subscribers are welcomed to a distinct community of “Recreationalists.”
Welcome email option #3: A more involved introduction
I don’t advise lengthier welcome emails for most brands. The exception is those selling items with a longer buying cycle or higher price point, like furniture, jewelry and subscription boxes, to name a few.
A message packed with more details is OK — and I’d say preferable — for anything that merits some level of research or deeper thought before making a decision.
What you want to do:
- Reduce friction points by addressing common concerns. Talk to your customer service or sales representatives to gauge what they are if you don’t know. It could be shipping costs, or anxiety around the delivery timetable. Including warranty information or offering a payment plan may resolve hesitation. If you’ve got the means, an online tool for better visualizing the product in 3D can be immensely helpful. For instance, I’m thinking of simulators that illustrate the size of area rugs based on room dimensions.
- Give yourself time for the creation process. If what you’re selling isn’t typically purchased on impulse, then your messaging warrants greater attention and fine-tuning.
NatureBox recognizes that saying “yes” to a subscription box is a weighty commitment. Its welcome email introduces a 15-day trial for the uncertain, and makes other assurances through a membership guarantee, free snack allowance, discounts, and free shipping once hitting a threshold.
Once you’ve got your welcome email or series established, what else are you going to send your new subscriber? Never be stumped — watch our 15 must-have newsletters course.
Go to the next level with an automated welcome series
Over time, one automated email message racks up purchases. A sequence of messages is even better.
A welcome email series will always perform financially better than a single welcome message, simply because you’re gaining greater visibility with your subscribers and producing more opportunities for them to convert.
I know a lot of Shopify merchants shy away from this approach. Devising one can be challenging, let alone expanding it to a few more. So I’m detailing a three-part welcome email sequence to take and make your own.
Welcome series message #1: Top products
Kick things off by showing your best sellers and customer favorites. Let your customers do the talking by sharing their reviews. You’re building trust, remember, which spirals into brand admiration and pays dividends like customer retention.
Use the space to feature your products and the value they bring. You may also want to introduce your product lines since your audience might not be familiar with everything you sell.
When to send: immediately after the email subscription is received
Cozy Earth uses a portion of its welcome email to draw attention to its repeated designation as an Oprah Winfrey favorite. I’d promote the endorsement from such an influential woman, too! Not only that, but the inclusion shows the brand’s range of offerings.
Welcome series message #2: Social introduction
I presume Shopify stores are present on at least one social channel. The welcome series is another path to getting more eyes on your posts, reels, or whatever it is you’re putting out there for the world to see.
- Pop in some images from your account
- Invite them to follow you
- Suggest they interact with your content
- Plant the bug that you’d love them to share a photo with your product, once they’ve made a purchase
- Encourage them to use a specific hashtag
In my experience, the more engaged that someone is with your brand, the more likely they are going to purchase from you. An email subscriber who follows you on social media is more engaged than the person who is following you on just one channel.
Only shine a spotlight on your social accounts if you’re actively posting on them. There’s no sense in driving subscribers to a virtually neglected space.
When to send: two to three days after message #1
I’m digging the eye-catching way VENUS cycles through its social proof images.
Welcome series message #3: Last chance
Let’s assume you offered a discount in exchange for an email address. The subscriber hasn’t cashed in on said discount.
Humans forget things. The third message can serve as a reminder. Add a sense of urgency — draw focus to the expiration deadline if applicable — to coax them toward taking action. And while you’re at it, guide them toward a specific product or collection.
There are a few ways to craft this message:
- Use plain text and make it a personal note, perhaps from the owner or CEO
- Take the brand-driven route by prominently featuring a product image
When to send: two to three days after message #2
In the example below, DIFF takes the “coming-from-a-person” avenue for its last-chance welcome email message. Nutriseed chooses the brand-focused angle to remind of the awaiting 10% discount.
Welcome email automation takeaways
Any relationship needs nurturing. In the case of a brand-subscriber relationship, it’s the Shopify store’s responsibility to carry the weight.
Whether you opt for one message — or three, four or five — I can’t state enough how crucial it is to greet your newcomers.
Envision how your automated welcome email series can establish a good impression from the start, and let it be the impetus for what you create. The more you can align the messages with your brand and demonstrate what makes you worthy of someone’s trust, the better.
Thereafter, an email service provider like Seguno Software takes care of the rest. You can sit back and watch while the automating is done for you.
Create, manage, and track your email marketing—without leaving Shopify.
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