November 21, 2018

Deliverability 101: Welcome subscribers to your email list!

We’re nearing the end of our Deliverability 101 weekly series, so hopefully, you have a good idea of the right and wrong things to do to improve your sender reputation, get more emails in the inbox, and enjoy a successful email program. But once you’ve gotten good-faith email addresses, a properly warmed IP and domain, and a preference center to ensure your recipients are happy, how do you add them to the mix?

Surprise: Welcome emails.

Yes, that’s plural, I said welcome “emails.” Just like how the days of single opt-in are basically over (unless you want crummy list quality), one email to either fulfill an obligation, like delivering the discount you promised in exchange for the address, or just to say, “Hey, sup,” is no longer the best way to go.

According to Smart Insights, welcome emails generate 320% more revenue per email than other types of marketing email. That same source has an incredible infographic filled with tricks and tips to optimize your copy, so be sure to give it a good once-over. We’ve also written a couple blogs on how best to lay out your emails for readers, from accessibility to simply finding the best place for call-to-actions, and how to make your copy thrilling (or at least not be boring or terrible).

Anyway, back to the issue at hand: Don’t let the fun stop at one email. Use the first welcome email in your series to not only provide tangible value, like a discount code or free gift, but set expectations for your subscriber. Make sure you provide guidance on how to whitelist the email address from which future emails will come, inform them of the frequency with which they’ll receive email from you, cover any legal bases you need to (privacy policy, etc.), and let them know they can unsubscribe at any time. Be honest and upfront. People like that.

courtesy of Mailcharts

On the second email, start with a reward for whitelisting and opening up the second email you sent to the subscriber. Keep building the good faith and the relationship, so ask questions about their birthday, additional content preferences, and so on, and direct them to your website where they can fill out a profile. Use that information in the next email in the series. On the second email, you can also tell the recipient more about your brand. What’s your story? What do you stand for, and how will your subscribers aid in that effort? Like I said, it’s a relationship and they deserve to know you, too.

courtesy of Mailcharts

You can let this series go on for as long as you want, but make sure you’re sending enough welcome-style email to make your subscribers feel well-integrated into the community. Use personalized insights to indicate you’re aware of their preferences and interests. Once you’ve adequately set expectation and learned all the important stuff from them, add them to the typical email campaigns and consider them a new member of your email family. The example below does a good job of this, but does run a little long.

Courtesy of Mailcharts

You might be asking yourself, “Can’t I do this all in one email?” You can. But do you like reading long emails? What if an email asks you to do four or five different things? Will you go back to complete the full list of asks, or just pick one? Are you sick of me asking questions? Put yourself in their shoes. Let them breathe, keep it short, and don’t wear out your welcome on the first email.

As always, track the engagement rate of these emails and adjust accordingly. Are you losing interest after email two? Do people click on the final email in the series but never open the following “run of the mill” communication? Use these insights to tailor both your series and your other campaigns. Adjust your strategy if you find three emails is one (or even two) too many.

Never forget: Engagement is a HUGE part of your deliverability, so keep refining, optimizing, and creating emails people want, while only sending them to people who want them. Without that, you’re playing a losing game, and more often than not, that means losing money.

All Good Things Must End

With that, we’re ending our Deliverability 101 series. I know, it’s sad, but you’re more than welcome (get it?) to join us for our next series, which will likely kick off in the new year. For now, check our
Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook stay up-to-date with our content, which we’ll be churning out nonstop, can’t stop, won’t stop. Bye!

Author: Nicky Copland

Nicky is the senior marketing manager at 250ok. Before joining the team, she spent the majority of her time crafting and implementing communications strategies for the association industry. She was never a brain surgeon, but she played one on the internet.

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