How to Write a Welcome Email Campaign
Is your email list just not that into you?
Are your email open rates low or declining? Are your click-through rates dropping? If so, the cold-hard truth is you’re in the same boat as most email marketers. Unless you do something differently, you risk the problem getting worse.
Since 2007, the volume of email per subscriber has increased an estimated 61% according to MailerMailer.com, and the largest jump was in 2010 at 16% that year alone. Basic economics tells us that with greater supply the value declines, so with more and more email flooding people’s inboxes, they’re tuning more and more messages out.
Still, other studies show that the ROI from email marketing is going up. In fact, some are seeing higher open rates and click through rates and are thriving.
What makes the difference?
Hidden in these data is the realization that subscribers are becoming more selective. They consistently open email that they perceive as valuable while they ignore just about everything else.
As the late marketing great Gary Halbert observed, people open their mail over a trash can and sort everything into an A pile and B pile. The A pile is anything that looks personal or important, and the B pile is everything else... like junk mail. The same is true an email campaign, apparently.
What makes the difference is the relationship that you have with your list.
If your messages make it into the A pile, you’re in good shape. If you are relegated to the B pile, you might as well not exist as far as that subscriber is concerned. And if your subscribers don’t open any emails from your email campaign, that eventually leads to deliverability problems because Gmail and others will penalize your messages due to low engagement.
It’s important to realize that your subscriber is on multiple lists and gets a flood of emails every day. Think of their Inbox like a flowing river of emails and if you don’t stand out, you’re washed away as newer emails arrive.
Some studies and anecdotal evidence suggests people have about 5 top email senders that they watch for and open each day. That means that your objective needs to become one of those top 5 favorite senders if you want to have solid open and click through rates for your email campaign.
Too many email marketers respond to this challenge by writing hype-filled subject lines or bombarding their subscribers with a barrage of offers. As their list burns out they simply replace the opt-outs with new subscribers through relentless list building campaigns. This churn and burn approach is expensive and unwise.
There is a better way, and it not only helps you achieve high conversions, but you also can steadily grow your list without burning it out in the first place.
Build a solid, mutually beneficial relationship with your subscribers.
- You've got to form a bond with your subscriber. They have to feel like they know you. They've got to like you or find you interesting in some way. And they've got to trust you.
- You have to assume that your first email to your new subscriber may be the only chance you have to make an impression. They may never open another. Some things never change and you don’t get a second chance for a first impression, especially with email marketing.
So it makes sense that you use that first email to start an irresistible process that keeps your new subscriber’s interest in your email campaign.
Here are 7 simple steps to building a welcome email campaign series that will result in a relationship with your list:
1) Know who your subscriber really is: The first thing to keep in mind is that your subscriber is a real person, not just an email address with a wallet. You've got to know why they opted in. What do they want? What problems keep them up at night? What frustrates them? What would be they think is awesome? When you target your emails toward these hot button emotions you can see dramatically higher conversion rates because emotions are what truly move people to act. Of course, part of this task is to be true to what you offered your subscriber to get the opt-in in the first place.
2) Let them know you: In your first message of the email campaign, tell your subscriber who you are. What’s your backstory? What inspired you to start your business? What challenges did you overcome? What innovations are you most proud of? What problems do you stand against? Let your personality shine through. Many famous celebrities have built massive loyal followings and all they have in common is that they are memorable and engaging characters. People tend to love them or hate them. Think Jon Stewart, Rush Limbaugh, Howard Stern, Bill Maher, Oprah, and so on. Another way to think about this is to look at super heroes. Batman has an origin story. In fact, almost any great story has a main character who you get to know through their journey. Even in the corporate world, McDonalds founder Ray Croc has an origin story, so does Henry Ford. So does your company. When you share that story you can form a strong bond with your subscribers when it aligns with their hot button issues. It is that bond that will keep them opening your emails if you maintain and strengthen the relationship over time. While you are telling your story, in reality what you are doing is telling the story of your subscribers own desires. If they want to lose weight, your story of weight loss will inspire them and cause them to want what you have.
3) Put yourself in their shoes: Your subscriber has a problem they want to solve. They want to know that you are worth their time because if not, they need to look elsewhere. No one has time for things that don’t are of no interest to them these days. So the 2nd email in your welcome series should show them a case study or customer success story. This will allow your subscriber to identify with the success story and see how they can benefiting from your product or service. While your first email was about YOUR success story, the 2nd that what you have works for other people just like your subscriber. While the more dramatic the success story the more impressive perhaps, it is important to keep the story relatable to the average subscriber. It is important to remind your readers, if appropriate, that successful case studies may not be typical and that it required follow through and effort to achieve the results. This may sound counter intuitive, but not only does the FTC expect such disclosures in your marketing, your subscribers will appreciate and trust your honesty.
4) Proof: People are skeptical. Marketers are generally distrusted because the prospect knows whatever they are saying has an agenda: to sell. So early on in your welcome series, neutralize that skepticism by acknowledging the challenges up front. Understandably, you should be willing to provide proof that what you have works, is good quality, well made, etc. This proof is most trusted if it comes from a third party. That could be a relevant story in a well-known source like the Wall Street Journal, or an independent review by an expert, or an interview with a happy customer who had been skeptical. Alternately, you could provide a tutorial on how to do something and show your product in use and let the results speak for themselves. You see this approach in infomercials where the spokesperson cleans tough stains out with a miracle cleaner repeatedly to demonstrate that the product works.
5) Cautionary tale: People procrastinate and they’ll find reasons to delay or avoid making a decision or making a purchase. So it is a good idea to tell a story of what happens if people delay taking action on the problem your product or service solves. This could be a personal story or an example of a fictional character that you use to tell a story. You might also use a news story that relates to your niche. For example, if you sell survival supplies to prepare for natural disasters, you could write an email with a link to a news story of the consequences of being unprepared. If the proof email and the success story show the opportunity your product represents, this cautionary tale reinforces the importance of solving the problem to motivate your subscriber to overcome procrastination. After all, you may have already convinced your subscriber that your product is worth buying; they may just be putting it off till they get around to it. Unfortunately, that procrastination risks that they’ll forget about you or spend their limited paychecks on other things.
6) Demonstrate your authority: People like to follow leaders. It is important to demonstrate that you have status and authority in ways that would matter to your subscriber. This could be indirect. You could relay a story where you were featured positively. For example, if you were a featured speaker at an industry event and you tell a story about an experience you had at that event, it is implied that you are of significance because you were a featured speaker. You don’t have to say ‘I’m important’, the context of the story does that for you, and the fact that you said it indirectly can amplify the credibility. You can also show direct authority by explaining email brings in proof how you learned a lesson definitively after struggling with a problem. By telling the story it is demonstrated that you have authority on that subject. There are many ways to demonstrate authority, but the key is to establish yourself as someone your subscriber looks up to and wants to learn more from.
7) Leave them wanting more: Whatever you do in your welcome series, at the end of the message make sure to tease your subscriber with a preview of something you will cover in your next email. The key to this is to tease something that hits on a hot button emotion. For example, if you are in the weight loss niche, you know your subscriber wants to lose weight as fast and easily as possible. At the end of an email about, say, the benefit of a particular exercise, you could add a P.S. that says that you have an unusual tip that can help them lose weight while they sleep in your next email. If they you leave them hanging and wanting to know more, they will be more likely to open your next email. If you can, include this cliff-hanger at the end of every email in your welcome series and from then on as often as you can. In a very real way, you’re relationship with your subscriber is only as good as your last email. Leave them wanting more.
While these 7 techniques can certainly give you specific tools to use in your welcome series email campaign, your relationship with your list is like any other: it takes consistent effort. You've got to earn their attention. Always remember that your subscriber will open your emails as long as there is something ‘in it’ for them. Help solve a problem. Offer them a special deal on something they want. Entertain them. Leave them with a positive feeling after they open your email and you have a foot in the door to get them to open the next.
When they get more out of your email campaign than the time it takes to read your emails, you’ll have a solid relationship with your list.
Author: Heather Seitz
For over a decade Heather Seitz used email marketing to build successful companies and had to solve the biggest barrier to consistent profitability: deliverability. Today she is the Co-Founder and CEO of Email Delivered.
For more information on how to maximize email conversion and keep your subscribers engaged for long term profitability, click here http://www.EmailDelivered.com/email-campaign Remember to sign up for the FREE Email Delivered Pulse newsletter for articles, tips, and recommended resources for email marketers.
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