eCommerce email marketing campaigns are a critical component to the success of an online retail brand.
Merchants utilize email marketing to alert customers about new inventory or recently restocked items, notify them about relevant content offerings, kindly request that a buyer write a product review, recover sales from abandoned carts and engage customers in a myriad of other ways.
However, the welcome email series is one of the most essential eCommerce email marketing campaigns that sellers send. The welcome email series provides new subscribers with their first impression of the company’s more intimate communication style.
The fact is that the welcome email series sets the tone for the entire relationship, thereby possessing the power to influence whether or not consumers open future emails or opt to unsubscribe.
The gravity of this series of communications cannot be overstated as, according to a 2019 report from the Data & Marketing Association, email marketing produces an average ROI of $42 per $1 invested.
Moreover, the welcome email series has an above-average open rate of 50 percent. This means that the welcome email will, in many cases, determine if a merchant will achieve the aforementioned ROI or not, as a poorly designed welcome email series can turn off a lot of potential repeat customers.
Given how consequential this introductory series is for online brands, today, we will explore how to effectively craft welcome emails that will engage subscribers.
But before diving into the details, let’s lay a little groundwork.
A welcome email is the first encounter a brand has with a new subscriber. The primary goal of this communication is to confirm the individual’s registration and introduce them to the business.
Typically, merchants will utilize an email marketing automation workflow to ensure that they don’t miss out on welcoming new shoppers to their email list. Most of the email marketing automation platforms on the market today will enable merchants to create such a workflow.
While some retailers only send out a single welcome email, it is advisable to enter new subscribers into a welcome email series as these tend to generate higher engagement and conversion rates than a lone communication.
Moreover, there are a variety of benefits to a series instead of just a single email.
As far as the welcome series benefits, there are a handful of advantages that sellers reap from this type of campaign.
Firstly, through initiating a welcome email series, retailers can boost their brand’s credibility in the eyes of the new subscriber. This campaign can help to warm customers up to a brand and aid in pushing them further into the sales funnel.
Secondly, welcome emails can serve as a fantastic storytelling tool, enabling the company to share its history, showcase important facts or achievements, layout sales propositions or even give customers a peek behind the scenes, thereby helping to humanize the business.
The next benefit of the welcome email series is that eCommerce retailers can potentially develop new touchpoints with subscribers by inviting the individual to follow the business on various social media platforms.
The most obvious benefit that merchants gain from sending out these emails is that it gives them an opportunity to showcase a variety of products, categories and similar offerings.
Finally, retailers can generate a substantial amount of conversions from the welcome email series by including a “new subscriber” offer, such as free shipping on their next order or a small discount.
With some of the most significant advantages to this campaign outlined, let’s explore some of the best strategies for crafting an engaging and fruitful welcome series.
There are many different ways to make the welcome series one that customers love to read and receive. That said, some of the most effective engagement tactics that retailers can leverage include:
Plainly put, most people expect to receive a welcome email shortly after they subscribe. Therefore, the sooner merchants send out this vital communication, the more likely it is to get opened as the business is still fresh on the person’s mind.
It is wise for sellers to set up their automated workflows to ensure that welcome emails start going out immediately after a shopper provides their contact information.
People don’t have to subscribe to a brand’s email communications. In fact, given how inundated many people’s inboxes are, to have someone voluntarily provide their email address is something of an honor.
Therefore, the first thing that merchants should do is thank their new subscribers for joining the list. In fact, when analyzing the most effective words to use in email copy, “thanks” ranks among the top three. The reason for the word’s power is that thanking subscribers not only helps to humanize the brand, but it also helps to build a sense of loyalty as the customer feels appreciated. When people feel appreciated, positive feelings tend to follow.
Additionally, when expressing gratitude, retailers should utilize the personalization features of eCommerce email marketing platforms like Omnisend and others to thank the person by name, as this is likely to help increase those positive feelings.
Many retailers will persuade consumers to join their email list by offering them an incentive to subscribe. Merchants might utilize a lead magnet like an eBook or a checklist, a discount off a shopper’s next order or a similar motivational tool.
No matter what the promise was, sellers should deliver the incentive immediately. If merchants fail to provide or wait too long to send the catalyst for subscribing, they could breed mistrust and lose the subscriber altogether.
Employ Impressive Images Just as it is critical to generate stunning product images to help sell products, retailers will want to include a bit of eye candy in their welcome email series.
The use of powerful imagery is particularly important in this email campaign as (again) this is essentially a customer’s introduction to the brand, so it is important to wow them.
Therefore, images should be highly engaging and live above the fold in the email. In addition to the quality of the image, retailers must also consider the devices that shoppers might use to access the email. Since roughly half of email opens occur on mobile devices, it is critical to understand that mobile optimization is still important in 2020.
A welcome email series that doesn’t load images correctly makes for a terrible first impression.
Customers don’t subscribe to an eCommerce mailing list for no reason. Shoppers subscribe because there is some benefit they will receive from getting the merchant’s messages in their inbox.
The welcome email series is a great time to remind customers of the benefits they receive from subscribing. However, to earn subscribers in the first place, sellers will have to conduct eCommerce market research to better understand their audience and what they want.
Those who have done their research will have a good idea of what matters to their customers and what they want to see out of the emails they receive.
Different kinds of benefits that sellers can reiterate might include:
The Explicit Benefit: This is likely why the consumers subscribed in the first place. This could be the lead magnet, discount or other offers that engendered the shopper to hand over their email address.
The Unexpected Benefit: This will be something that merchants reveal to subscribers once they receive the first welcome email series communication. This benefit might be something like exclusive content, special email-only offers or helpful resources that shoppers only get by subscribing.
The Recurring Benefit: Retailers might give their email subscribers birthday rewards, anniversary surprises, notifications about special events or other repeat benefits for subscribing. This type of email benefit offers shoppers a great reason to remain loyal to a brand and continually open emails they receive from their favorite merchants.
The bottom line is that customers don’t want to wonder or have to seek out answers about what they gain from giving up their information. Use the welcome email series to clearly outline the benefits that a customer receives for signing up to the list.
As mentioned earlier, one of the benefits of the welcome email series is that it gives merchants the opportunity to be storytellers.
When sending out welcome emails, use the opportunity to introduce the brand and showcase its personality. Retailers can also share obscure facts about the company, its mission or even how its products are making a difference in the world.
While telling customers about the business is all well and good, the primary goal here should be conveying what makes the brand special and ensuring that its emails are instantly recognizable. This can be achieved through utilizing brand colors, icons, images and a distinct brand voice.
The fact is that consumers receive dozens of emails every single day. Therefore, it is incumbent upon retailers to utilize their welcome email series to establish an unmistakable look and feel so that consumers know what to look for in the company’s future communications.
Welcome emails should not be shy or modest. Given that this is a brand’s opportunity to introduce itself, the point is to make a (positive) lasting impression.
Given that subscribers know they signed up for the mailing list for a retail store, they expect to see products. Merchants can capitalize on this expectation by sharing stunning product images in their welcome email series.
One of the best ways to highlight a brand’s catalog is through user-generated content (UGC). By leveraging user-generated content to showcase products to new shoppers, a brand can definitively provide the subscriber with social proof that the company’s products are beloved by other buyers.
At the same time, retailers can create that sense of desire mentioned earlier, as UGC enables customers to get a sense of the product “in the wild” and allows them to see themselves enjoying the item.
While beautiful product images are nice and can be useful, when it comes to the welcome email series, user-generated content is likely to be a far more effective selling tool.
Original article by Visiture here.