How to Automate a Welcome Email Sequence

Reading Time: 7 Minutes

Contributed by Vlad Orlov

Vlad Orlov is a passionate writer and link builder, currently managing brand partnerships at Respona. Having started writing articles at the age of 13, their once past-time hobby developed into a central piece of their professional life.

Some companies completely overlook the importance of running an email newsletter. Others try to dip their toes into it, but end up simply regurgitating their blog posts through email. 

Don’t be that person. This article is dedicated to a very certain aspect of any email newsletter: the welcome sequence. 

Before we jump into the specifics of how many steps should be in your sequence, what should be their triggers, and how many days should you wait between sending them, we need to address the elephant in the room.

Why Should You Automate Your Welcome Email Sequence?

After all, if fewer than 50% of businesses actually invest their time and resources into an automated welcome email sequence, why should you?

The reason for this is actually extremely simple. Whenever people sign up for your newsletter, they are at their peak engagement with you. 

In essence, they’re telling you that they want to see more of what you’re offering. This translates into open and click-through rates for the first emails in your welcome sequence skyrocketing. 

Some people believe that customers that have spent a considerable amount of time in your email list and have gone through multiple stages of lead nurturing are higher-quality leads than new ones.

And while on paper, it might seem like there are enough grounds to believe that this is true, the reality is much different.

Muhammad Muzamil, Digital Marketer at Cloudways – Managed WordPress hosting, believes, “Any digital marketer who turns a blind eye to the importance of newsletter signups would carve their way towards loss. One must utilize welcome emails to spread their brand’s awareness and educate their website visitors.”

If someone has gone through multiple stages of lead nurturing and still hasn’t made a purchase, that only means one thing. They are not interested in your product.

And while the goal of your first welcome email isn’t necessarily to get a sale, you shouldn’t underestimate its potential.

What Should Trigger Your Welcome Email Sequence?

Emailing people that don’t want you to email them is the quickest road to the spam folder. The best-case scenario is that they don’t flag you, and your emails just remain unread for all eternity.

So there isn’t really any choice when it comes to triggers – you should only send your welcome email sequence to people that have signed up for your newsletter.

According to Amira Irfan, the business lawyer and founder of A Self Guru, a welcome email sequence is really important to build trust, rapport, and credibility. So focus on providing valuable information and resources from the start to encourage your new subscribers to stick around and continue engaging with your business. 

There are a few different ways to create an opt-in form for your email newsletter, but here are the basic steps:

  1. Decide what information you want to collect from subscribers. This could include their name, email address, and perhaps some demographic information.
  2. Create a form that collects this information. You can use a tool like Google Forms or Microsoft Word to create the form.
  3. Place the form on your website or blog. Your website can use a plugin like Gravity Forms to easily add the form to your site.
  4. Add a link to the form. Put this in your email signature and promote it in your newsletter.
  5. That’s it! Now when people fill out the form, they will be added to your email lead list.

You should always collect more than just their name and email address. This is important for segmenting your email list.

There are a few reasons why you should always segment your email list. First, it allows you to send more targeted and relevant emails to your subscribers. 

Second, it helps you to avoid emailing people with information that they don’t want to know. Some people want to stay tuned for your blog posts, while others only care about those sweet discounts, so by being able to provide them with a choice on the emails received, you will both improve your user experience, and the performance of your email campaigns.

How Many Emails Should Be In Your Welcome Sequence?

A welcome email sequence should have at least three emails because it takes time to build trust and rapport with a new subscriber.

In the first email, you should introduce yourself and your business. In the second email, you can start to provide value by sharing a helpful tip or teaching a mini-lesson.

In the third email, you can offer a discount or freebie to show your appreciation for being on your list.

For example – Let’s say you are a design website that sells digital fonts, then you can offer a 10% discount on your best selling fonts collection or share a link to free download some fun fonts.

Note: Three emails is a very basic version of the welcome email sequence. You can have as many emails as you want in your sequence.

The purpose of your email sequence is to push your subscribers through the stages of awareness, which are:

  1. Unaware: The customer is not aware that the product exists.
  2. Problem Aware: The customer is aware that they have a problem that the product could potentially solve.
  3. Solution Aware: The customer is aware that the product exists and that it could potentially solve their problem.
  4. Product Aware: The customer is aware of the product and its features, but hasn’t yet decided that it is the best solution for their problem.
  5. Most Aware: The customer is aware of your product and features, and has already decided that they want it – all they need now is to know the payment details.

Your First Email

The first email in your welcome email sequence should introduce the reader to your brand and what you have to offer. 

It should be sent as soon as someone subscribes to your list, and can be written in a friendly and informal tone.

The most important part of your first email is providing clear steps for what the user should do next, and providing them with whatever it is they expected from you. 

If they’re in it for the content, provide them with links to your best articles. If they’re here for the coupons, explain how they can get one, and so on.

Here’s a very bare-bones outline for the first email in your welcome sequence:

“Hello!

Welcome to our community! We’re so glad you’re here.

We can’t wait to get to know you better and help you grow in your journey.

Here are some things you can do to get started:

  • Check out our resources section for helpful guides and articles
  • Join in on the discussion in our forums
  • Connect with other members in our private Facebook group

We’re looking forward to getting to know you better!

Sincerely,

[Your Name]”

Your Second Email

The second email in your welcome email sequence should be sent a few days after the first email. Its purpose is to introduce the new subscriber to your brand and to start building a relationship with them.

It is also the email where you should start addressing your users’ pain points, assuming they are at the “problem aware” stage. Your job is to make them “solution-aware”.

To write a good second email, you need to answer three questions:

  1. Which pain point does your customer need addressing?
  2. What do they think they need they need to do to solve it (but don’t in reality)?
  3. What do they actually need to solve it. 

There’s no need to start pitching your product already – ideally you want people to be at their “most aware” stage. You should provide them with a solution – just not necessarily your solution.

The second email is also the perfect place to tell your brand story, and, more specifically, how YOU dealt with the aforementioned pain point yourself. This will help establish your credibility and push the users closer to a purchase.

Example: Starbucks.

Starbucks’ second email might not have all of the features I just described, but it is a very simple and good example. 

Problem: people hate waiting in lines.

Solution: order ahead. 

Because Starbucks is already such an established brand, there is no need to “warm up” the customer to start using their products, but the email still focuses on the pain point, and its solution.

Your Third Email

You guessed it, this is where your product comes in.

In it, you can describe exactly what features your product has, how much it costs, how is it different from that of your competitors, and create a sense of urgency.

One way to create a sense of urgency in a sales email is to use words and phrases that convey a sense of urgency, such as “act now,” “limited time only,” or “while supplies last.”

They say actions speak louder than words, but that depends on what kind of words you’re using. Some words are magic. They get people to do things. They have an emotional resonance that hits people hard and encourages them to take action.

These powerful words are the ones you want to be using in your copywriting. They speak directly to readers, drive traffic to your page, and boost sales says George Papatheodorou, freelance SEO consultant. In fact, according to Optinmonster, you could see a 12.7% increase in conversion rates by adding just a few power words to your copy.

Another way to create a sense of urgency is to offer a limited-time discount or another special offer, like a 2-for-1 deal.

Use More Steps

The sequence I have described above is a very basic model that just about covers the basics of a welcome email sequence/funnel.

It is not uncommon for brands to use 4-5-6 steps in their sequence, or just one.

Depending on your niche and the kinds of products you sell, more or fewer steps can work for you better, so don’t be afraid to experiment with the formula.

You can dissect the third email into three separate ones, for example, slowly introducing users to your product/service while providing them with more and more useful information before ending with a big call to action, such as a discount.

Conclusion

There are many software options that can be used to automate a welcome email sequence. Some popular options include MailChimp, AWeber, and Constant Contact.

Be sure to A/B test your email campaigns to figure out what works for you, and keep providing users with what they want, be it content or exclusive deals, and you should see your revenue increasing quite considerably through the inexpensive and risk-free medium which is email marketing.

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