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Critical Elements to Getting Your Welcome Messages Right From the Start, Part 1

March 26, 2010 By Ross Kramer
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Welcome messages are an important part of your email marketing strategy for many reasons: They validate email addresses, confirm opt-in and subscriber details, provide opportunities to collect profiling data, and engage subscribers at the time they’re most interested in your brand.

But if you’re sending a single message, you’re missing opportunities to truly engage your audience when it's most likely to read your messages. A welcome series, on the other hand, allows you to increase engagement and subscriber life cycles. With a series you can set expectations, build relationships and provide valuable information to enhance the brand experience.

A welcome series is very effective when it’s targeted. Consider creating a different series for past purchasers and nonpurchasers. For a buyer who opts in to your list during the online checkout process, for example, your welcome series could include member benefits, return policies, preference inquiries and surveys. For those subscribers who haven't yet purchased, the welcome series could include special offers, product reviews and video testimonials to encourage a first sale.

Whatever type of welcome series you create, several elements should be considered.

1. Set specific goals. Think about what you want to accomplish with your series and each message. Be specific. Knowing your goals in advance helps you build a successful series and ensure the messages work together to achieve your goals. 

2. Determine the optimum number of messages. This is entirely determined by your audience, sales process and campaign goals. A series should consist of at least three messages, but depending on the purpose of the series it could be more. For example, I recently received a series of five messages when subscribing to a digital marketing forum. The key is to test various options to identify what works.

3. Set the right cadence. The initial message should be sent immediately upon subscription. However, you need to test the timing of consecutive messages to find what works for your audience, products and sales process.

4. Differentiate welcome messages. Filter out new subscribers during the welcome series process so those messages stand out. The welcome series is designed to engage subscribers and build brand advocates, so don’t dilute the messages by sending other email campaigns at the same time.  

5. Automate. To be timely and effective, your series must be automated. By using a behaviorally triggered email solution, you can set up the messages in advance. The system automatically deploys the first message upon subscription and subsequent messages based on a defined time frame. Automated campaigns save you time and enable you to easily segment subscribers and personalize messages.



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