First impressions are everything, right? At least that’s how the cliche goes. If you’ve been around the online business world for any length of time, it should come as no surprise that email marketing is EVERYTHING.
Well, not literally everything. But it can play a damn big role in your lead generation and overall sales.
Your email welcome sequence is that first impression you get to have with your new subscribers. It’s the timid wave across the room at your blind date. It’s the first words out of your mouth in the job interview. The first memories your future mother-in-law will have embedded in her brain about you.
Welcome sequences are extremely important.
I’ve written a lot of welcome sequences for clients, and in theory, I know how important they can be. But then I did a little *actual* research and my mind was thoroughly blown.
Your welcome email is the most-read email of all your emails
Yep. This was the statistic that actually surprised me the most. It’s what convinced me that *this* is the offer I want to focus on for 2021.
Open rates are kind of a big deal in email marketing. That’s why this statistic blew me away: welcome emails have an average open rate of 82%. EIGHTY-TWO PERCENT, folks!!!! (check the source yourself if you don’t believe me)
That’s a lot of opens, especially when you consider the average open rate overall is somewhere around 21%.
This is what makes the welcome sequence sooo important!! You get one first impression, one chance to woo your new subscribers into sticking around. If you send a boring, flat “thanks for subscribing, here’s your freebie” email, you leave a boring, flat, forgettable impression. If you leave any impression at all, that is….
How to get the most out of your welcome email
Now that you know how extremely important your welcome email is (82%!!!!), how can you tweak your copy to optimize that visibility?
Deliver what was promised
First and foremost, you have to deliver what was promised. If someone opts in to receive a freebie of yours, deliver it quickly and without complication. Consumers today are skeptical AF…if I hand my email address over to someone, they damn well better give me what I want. An immediate “click here to enter more personal info” or “but first, read this sales pitch” will immediately put a sour taste in my mouth.
The process should go something like this:
Someone opts in to receive your freebie
Your email system delivers that freebie immediately, with a short and sweet “Thank you for subscribing! Here’s your _____. I’ll pop back in your inbox shortly to see what you think!”
Your welcome welcome email arrives a couple of hours later.
Trust me, people will NOT jump through hoops just to get your freebie when, chances are, there’s a thousand other similar options out there. Make it easy for them.
Be relatable + embrace vulnerability
The worst thing you can do with a welcome email is to be overly formal. Unless your target audience is made up of Queen Elizabeth and the Pope (although tbh, he seems pretty chill), write like a real human.
Use words your ideal clients use. Drop some emojis. Use some slang, as it makes sense with your branding. Definitely opt for abbreviations rather than the formal conventions your high school English teacher made you use. No shade to high school English teachers—I used to be one. But that five-paragraph, academic language nonsense ain’t got no place in your email copy.
The goal here is to write as if you’re talking to a good friend. I’m a big fan of honest vulnerability. What main problem does your opt-in solve for your ideal client? In my welcome emails, I like to tell an anecdote about my own struggles with that problem.
A nice, embarrassing story about your own failure/struggle/mishaps/challenges can be very endearing to a new subscriber. I mean, who doesn’t want to hear about someone else face-planting? That’s why America’s Funniest Home Videos is still a thing, 31 seasons going strong. I had to look it up t be sure, but that sh*t debuted in 1989. Imma bet some of you reading this right now weren’t even born yet. I was six, for the record.
Give them a reason to stick around
You don’t have to go into great detail (and you shouldn’t, for the sake of not sending off a wall of text that will be promptly deleted). But be sure to preview what’s in it for them if they stick around.
Do you send amazingly actionable steps to take? Will you be sending exclusive content, only available to your subscribers? Will subscribers get discounted early access to your next offers or products?
Create anticipation with a good cliffhanger
I admit, I’m a sucker for a good cliffhanger. I don’t do so well with anticipation. Yes, I have been known to skip ahead to the final pages of an enthralling book to get a glimpse of what’s to come. I can’t help myself…It’s why I became a Patreon supporter of my all-time favorite true crime podcast, so I could get access to the episodes a day early. Each weekly episode ended with such a cliffhanger that I was willing to pay just to get the content a mere 24 hours earlier.
That’s why I loooove to end a first welcome email with a good cliffhanger. Give them a reason to anticipate (rather than be annoyed by) your next email. I’ve opted in to some truly great email sequences. How do I judge greatness? If I read the welcome email and then actively look for the follow-up conclusion, I know they’ve hooked me.
Here’s an example of what a good cliffhanger might be:
And that’s when I realized making this one simple change could bring in thousands more in revenue each month. Stay tuned for the next email where I tell you how I made it happen.
My reaction upon reading something like that?? Tell me more, NOW! I want thousands more in revenue each month.
Another angle to take: tell a compelling personal story that ends with a cliffhanger. One example might be:
And so my husband and I sold 90% of what we owned, including our home, packed a tiny Uhaul trailer, and set out for an adventure out West. The only problem? We were literally homeless, having learned moments before our departure that our housing fell through. What the actual f**k?!? Next time, I’ll tell you how I coped and figured sh*t out. Hint: it involved a lot of wine, desperate googling, and a serious stroke of luck.
True story by the way ↑
Maybe I’ll blog about it someday 😉
I know, it’s kind of a cliche in the online entrepreneur world. “Offer value” has become one of those glittering generalities that can seriously lack real meaning if you don’t dig into what true value is for YOUR audience.
I like to think of offering value from the perspective of service. Do I want to make a profit? Absolutely. But more than that, I want to serve other female entrepreneurs who are fighting their way to success just like I am.
Plan your welcome email content with a focus on serving your audience rather than making a quick buck. You don’t need to give your entire personalized strategy away for free, but offer bite-sized, actionable chunks that your subscribers can learn and grow from.
Service over profit. Lead with that, and you will cultivate a loyal, enthusiastic audience of people you can help.
Your welcome sequence should adapt to our current reality
I’m just gonna say it: the welcome sequence you wrote a year ago no longer applies. The world is a different place now. The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically changed the way we do business, the way we work, the way we consume, the way we relate to others… it’s been a wild ride, my friends.
I am not the same mother, wife, business owner, or friend that I was in January 2020. I’m just not. And chances are, you and your people aren’t either.
You don’t have to throw out your entire welcome sequence, clearly, but an update is definitely in order.
Ask yourself these questions as you rework your welcome sequence:
How has my ideal client’s business been affected by the pandemic? Was it a net positive or negative effect?
Have their problems changed, and if so, what solutions can I offer?
Is there anything about my messaging that doesn’t land now? For example, do I talk heavily about face-to-face interactions, with lots of hugs and/or handshakes?
What is it about my offer or product that makes life easier for a pandemic-era business owner?
The lens through which we view the world is much different now, and so a fresh welcome sequence for 2021 is definitely in order.
When your welcome emails should be sent
There are a lot of opinions out there about optimal times for sending emails and what the sweet spot is for the number of emails in a sequence.
Here are my thoughts on that. Obviously do your own research…I’m just a humble copywriter with a blog and an opinion.
How many emails should you send in a welcome sequence? About 5, give or take a couple.
So…3-7? Sure. It’s not an exact science. For the sake of clarity and just making a damn decision already (clearly I labored over this question far too long for my own welcome sequence), let’s go with 5.
Email 1 – Short and sweet copy that delivers your freebie or whatever your subscriber was promised, plus a little note about what to expect. Short. And. Sweet.
Email 2 – Your opus magnum, if you will. This is where you put all of the things I mentioned above into play:
Deliver what was promised (check in to make sure they received it)
Be relatable and embrace vulnerability
Give them a reason to stick around
Create anticipation with a good cliffhanger
Email 3 – Deliver on that cliffhanger. Finish the anecdote you began last time. If it’s a story worthy of stretching, keep on stringing it out a bit. Just don’t go too overboard or people might get annoyed. End with a tidbit of wisdom to educate your audience.
Email 4 – Ask for engagement. This is a great way to encourage people to stick around! You could include a survey (keep it short!) or invite them to comment on a thread you link in the email. Showing genuine curiosity for someone’s thoughts and opinions is a very positive step in relationship building. We all want to be heard, that’s just human nature.
Email 5 – Offer added value + give a preview of what’s to come. I’m a big fan of sprinkling in an extra free resource here. After someone opts in to my blogging brainstorm freebie, they receive a free 14-day social media content calendar as a thank you for sticking around through the whole series of emails. I also inform them that they’ll be receiving (at most) weekly email from me with tips, offers, and more free resources.
Start writing your new welcome sequence today
Now is the best time to start. Make a commitment and begin today. If you’re super stuck and are ready to outsource this task, I offer VIP content lab sessions specifically for email sequence creation.
A half-day can get you an audit of your current welcome sequence plus a strategy for what your emails should include upon revision. As time allows, I’ll help create compelling subject lines or outlines for the email copy.
A full-day will get you a full welcome sequence, up to five emails long. We’ll have some serious pre-work to do to make it happen, but at the end of the day, all you have to do is copy your emails over to your automation, and you’re all set with brand new, shiny email copy for 2021!
Head to leighannzerr.com/services for more details about VIP days and to book a call.