As a small business, you know how important a first impression can be. Whether it’s the first time someone walks into your store, the first time someone calls your office, or the first time someone looks up your business online—you work hard to make sure customers walk away thinking positively about your brand.
The same holds true for the emails your business sends. Each time a customer opens an email from your organization, they are actually having an experience that can impact the way they think of your business. That’s why it always surprises me that many businesses pay little attention to their welcome email.
Welcome emails are automated and most email services provide stock content to use, so many businesses never give them a second thought. That’s a huge problem—especially considering open rates for welcome emails are much higher than typical email correspondence. That’s a lot of people being served a less than optimal first impression. Even worse, that’s a lot of people setting low expectations for the emails they’re going to receive from your organization in the future.
There are easy things you can do to ensure that your welcome letter sends the right message:
- Perfect your subject line: Just because welcome emails are automated, doesn’t mean you don’t have to pay attention to your best practices. A welcome email subject line should catch the reader’s attention, thank them for signing up, and give them a reason to open your email.
- Strength in numbers: Don’t be afraid to showcase your success as an email marketer. Letting readers know just how many people are receiving your newsletter each month is a great way to reaffirm their decision to subscribe to your list.
- Assure that their information is safe: People are protective of their information online—and for good reason. Letting your customers know right from the start that you plan to protect their email address is a great way to make them feel safe and secure.
- Let them know what to expect: It’s important that what you tell your reader in the welcome email is consistent with what you promised at the point of sign-up. You don’t want to offer coupons and deals to get people to sign up and then tell new readers that all they’re going to be getting is news updates. Take the time to revisit what you’re offering your readers at the point of sign-up. Remember to include details about the type of content you plan to send, how frequently you plan to send it, and the expertise you plan to share.
- Ensure future deliverability: Even the most experienced email marketers can sometimes fall victim to SPAM filters. You should also use your welcome emails as a way to avoid getting flagged as spam, and to improve your chances of getting noticed in your readers’ inbox. A great way to do that is by asking them to add your business to their trusted contacts. That way, your emails will not only end up in the inbox (and out of the spam folder) but will also be more likely to be recognized by the reader.
- Connect to subscribers at other important touchpoints: If you’ve done everything right up to this point, your readers will be more excited than ever about receiving updates from your business via email marketing. This is the perfect time to grow those relationships beyond the inbox—across all your social networks. This is a win-win for you and your customers. You have the opportunity to turn each new subscriber into a fan or follower, and your customers are given more options for how they want to connect with your brand online.
Personalizing your welcome email won’t only improve the first impression you’re able to make on your readers, it will also help set you apart from your competition. While most businesses are sending welcome emails with static and un-engaging messaging, you’ll be providing an experience that will shape the way customers and potential customers think of your brand.
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Ellen Williams, Constant Contact Regional Development Director, New York and Southern Connecticut
Ellen has over 20 years of technology and marketing experience and has presented to over 4,000 small businesses, nonprofits, and associations. Her advice on best practices help organizations understand how to build great customer relationships that inevitable grow their businesses.