Email Marketing: You’ve got subscribers, what’s next?

We’ve run into a couple instances where our clients are sitting on a large list of email addresses or are starting an email program and just want to blast everything out at once. Recently, a member of our team pointed this out to me and it was a really interesting conversion. Based on that, we thought it would be important to talk about how to get value instantly, without overwhelming yourself and your subscribers.

One step at a time.

There’s an old saying, “you need to learn to crawl before you walk”. It holds true here because before you start implementing a hundred different strategies, it’s important to find out what is working. What I mean is: start somewhere and start small.

Start with a test email, you can format it in a way you think might be the first of a Drip Marketing or CRM campaign, but, there’s no need to set up automation immediately. First, try to generate some feedback. You can do this by testing. The key is, start small and send a couple test emails to see what type of response you get.

Don’t send it to everyone!

So, speaking of starting small. If you have a list of 500 subscribers or 25,000, it doesn’t matter, sending the email to everyone can cannibalize your audience and limit your ability to test. Consider segmenting out the list if you can, and, if you can’t, just split the list out into chunks so you can do the above, test and iterate.

Generally, the biggest the list, the lower the percent of users I want to send an email to. For example, a list of 500 I would break into 25%-50% tests of 125-250 people, where as a list of 25,000 I might break out into 10% chunks. The more subscribers the more data you can extract.

An example of this that we have right now is around 20,000 subscribers that we’ve split into an email sent to 5% at first, then two 10% segments to be sent the following 1-2 weeks. From there, based on the data, we will be able to learn about how our customers are responding to the emails being sent and can adjust the program going forward.

In many cases, you won’t have to do more than a couple tests on larger lists to find what you want. The key is not generating a ton of unsubscribes, having a really low open rate, or worse, report to spam.

Figure out your benchmarks

Along with not breaking anything, you’ll be able to benchmark some data. As an example, with open rates, when sending out your first email, you can test a couple subject lines and iterate on that with a second email. Once you find a good industry acceptable or higher open rate, you can then put that line in the sand and use that as a subject line for future emails.

You can do the same with templates, content, and design by iterating through your emails and understanding the click through rate and engagement with them.

The key is, again, finding your benchmarks and iterating through them.

Once you take these basic steps into account for an existing list or a new list your starting to build on your email marketing program, you can be way more effective. Also, you’ll find yourself to be way more efficient when iterating through campaigns because testing methods will be nailed down.

Top Ways to Write A Successful Welcome Email

So, you’ve got a new email subscriber! Whether it’s a product, service, or blog, the one thing you need to remember is that you’re now building a relationship. Think of it like a friendship. General rules of thumb for maintaining this friendship are regular communication, showing interest in their opinion, and making them feel important. The first email they get from your site will be the make-or-break of whether they want to stay your friend. To keep them interested, you’ll need to fulfill a need of theirs from the get-go reminding them that you are worth their time and space in their inbox. So now you’re probably thinking “how do I accomplish all this?!” It’s really much simpler than it sounds.

Testing, testing, 123

Before getting into the specifics, just remember that there is no set formula for having an effective welcome e-mail. Our best advice is to test all these methods, try different combinations, and see what works for your users! As you read this list, think about what will actually get your target to click through your emails and try them out. With some combination of these methods, you’ll be on your way to subscribers who get excited to see your name in their inbox.

Make a Real Connection

Like we mentioned before, you want this subscriber to be your friend. For some companies, this can get literal. If possible, make a human connection with your new subscriber. Have a real-life employee(yes, a human!) contact them after subscribing, welcoming them to the community or even asking for feedback. The new subscriber will feel important and refreshed to see something other than an automated email. Now we know this isn’t possible for every website (too big, not enough time, etc), but it’s worth a shot for smaller companies looking to establish themselves and their relationships with subscribers. And don’t try to go fooling your user with an automated email pretending to be human! They will know and will get a bad impression right off the bat.

Tell Them What to Expect

Let the new user know how often and what kind of content you will be emailing them. This will differentiate you from other campaigns and keep you out of their spam folder .

Minimize Amount of Text

Trust us on this one: most copy in subscription emails goes unread. No one wants to spend their free time reading through long blocks of text. Even if you’re a news site, email success will come from keeping it short, simple, but effective. In the welcome email, give them a simple call to action. The most common form of this is a button. Invite them to visit your site, redeem a code, or continue shopping. If the reader sees a button, they will probably go straight to clicking it before even reading the copy, so make sure you use this method with that in mind.

Get Personal

Get personal with your new subscriber, but don’t creep them out. Use their name in the email and personalize it based on how you got their email. For example, if you got it at an event, make mention of the event and meeting them. Tell them facts about their account type or how to use your site from the platform they signed up on. But don’t show them that you know information that will sound invasive like their location. You wouldn’t tell a new friend that you’ve already fully Facebook-stalked them and know their entire life, would you? (No!)

Be Polite

Say thank you and let the subscriber know that you appreciate their engagement. They have plenty of emails in their inbox and have opted in for adding more with your emails. Show them that you appreciate them and will make it worth their while!

Use an Intriguing Subject Line

Most sites stick to a simple “Welcome to ___” and tend not to branch far off from this. But make it interesting! Be consistent with your branding and make the new subscriber excited to open the email. Compel them to find out more and continue engaging with your emails.

Be Compatible with Mobile Setting

41% of emails are opened on the mobile device now, so if your email isn’t mobile-friendly too, you could be using a large base. Make an effort for those mobile users so they don’t begin to automatically delete your emails in the future.

Promote Your Site

Because this will be the first email they receive from your site, the subscriber is more likely to actually open it. This makes it a perfect time to promote your goods or services. But make sure this isn’t done in an in-your-face way. Show them that you’re worth their time by giving a discount code or free shipping just for them. They will want to stay your friend!

Remind Them Why You’re Friends

Show the subscriber that you’re not like the rest! They subscribed to you for a reason and this needs to be maintained so that their interest is kept. Remind the user why you became friends in the first place by showing them what your site can do for them (products, posts, opportunities, etc).

And Tell Them To Whitelist Your Address

You don’t want to end up in their junk folder, so make sure you have them add your address to their contacts. Another way to avoid the junk and spam folder is by making sure your email passes fraud tests. Make it easy for the reader by telling them exactly how to whitelist you and they may actually listen!

Keep It Simple

Keep it simple! Nobody wants an overwhelming, text-heavy, extremely long welcome email. Short text, a couple pictures and promotions, and perhaps a call to action. Simplicity is key! If you do have a call to action, make sure it’s logical and parallel with other calls to action and account confirmations.

Give a Gift

Everybody loves a gift! Make an offer that will motivate them to use your service or site. 10% off, free shipping, buy one get one free, free first time, refer a friend special, anything! They will feel obligated to use it so that it’s not wasted.

 

Last, But Not Least!

Yes, we’re repeating it again now that you’ve now read through everything. Test, test, test! Combine different techniques until you find the best method for your site. Give each method  enough time to get accurate results but don’t be afraid to keep changing it until it’s right for your site. After all, everyone only receives one welcome email!

Here are some good welcome emails from other companies:images-1

Gap does a great job of offering and highlighting their 25% discount offer, thanks the customer, and doesn’t overwhelm in CTAs.

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Evernote uses the personalization of the subscriber by addressing their name and shows them how to use their account, but still keeps things short and simple.

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Dorothy Perkins’ welcome email has two CTAs but also keeps it short and simple for the reader. This is a great example of reminding the user to add your email to their contacts and informing them what will be in their inbox from you.