Newsletter hacks: 7 steps to writing a great welcome email
Welcome emails have extremely high open rates. Here are the things to consider when you want to make a great first impression.
At Steady, we never stop talking about the importance of newsletters for independent creators: to get more reach, but most of all to build more sustainable relationships with their communities.
An important part of each newsletter is the welcome email for new subscribers. Welcome emails tend to have incredibly high open rates, which means they are your chance to make a great first impression on a large section of your audience. It’s a great sign of confidence when people from your community subscribe to your newsletter. With the welcome email you get to show them that they have made a great decision.
Step 1: Say “welcome” and “thank you”
Greet your new subscribers and thank them for coming aboard. Be as personal as possible so that they feel connected to you and your mission. It’s best if you can address them by name, and if you feel they don’t know you well enough, you can tell them a little about yourself.
Step 2: Remind your community why they’re here
You don’t need to use too many words on this; it’s enough to briefly mention what makes your publication special — for example, by including your mission statement. Your community probably already knows about your mission, so a quick refresher should be enough to get their attention.
Step 3: Offer a view of what is to come
Let your subscribers know what they can expect from your newsletter. You should be as specific as possible. Tell them:
what is in your emails — for example, a selection of your best articles or podcast episodes.
how you prepare the content. How do you choose what to include?
when and how often you send the emails. Do they come once a week, every Sunday, every first Thursday of the month, …?
If you do this well, your newsletter subscribers will know exactly what to expect and will then be less likely to unsubscribe because of unmet expectations.
Step 4: Open a dialogue
Encourage your newsletter subscribers to write to you, or at least tell them who to contact if they have any questions. Let them know if you are open to feedback on the newsletter, or simply go ahead and ask their opinion on a specific topic.
Dialogue promotes cohesion between you and your community. And it works even better when you get a little personal. Your subscribers are most likely aware that your welcome email is sent automatically and that you aren’t writing to each subscriber personally. But that doesn’t need to stop you from telling them that the newsletter is written by a real person — and that you will respond personally to their emails.
Step 5: Link additional content or other channels
If you like, you can take the opportunity at the end of your welcome email to link to more articles, videos, podcast episodes and so on. You can also invite your subscribers to browse your website, follow your social media accounts or sign up as a member of your publication.
Step 6: Make the most of your subject line
Don’t leave your subject line to the last minute or let it be an afterthought because even if it’s only a fraction of the whole package, it is much more important than the rest of the email. If the subject line doesn’t work, your email won’t be opened at all. A few rules of thumb:
Keep it short
Be specific about what’s in the email
Use as few special characters as possible
Use emoji sparingly — preferably no more than one
Make it personal address, if that feels appropriate
Exactly what a good subject line looks like will depend on your audience. To find out what works for you, look at the performance of past subject lines and, most importantly, use A/B testing to send different subject lines to sections of your audience, in order to see which subject lines result in more opens.
Step 7: Review and submit
Before you finish your email, preview it or send yourself a test email to check that it looks the way you want it to — and don’t forget the mobile view.
Last but not least, think about when exactly you want the welcome email to be sent. It’s common to send a welcome email automatically, right after registration. But you could also consider implementing a short pause first. Of course, your subscribers probably know that your welcome email is sent automatically, but if the welcome email arrives about half an hour after they have signed up, it will at least feel a bit more human.