9 Highly Effective Welcome Emails to Engage New Users

That moment, when you reach out to someone only to be ignored.

It’s never a good feeling.

Source: Giphy

Can you imagine doing that to your customers? I know that your answer is no, but you might be doing exactly that.


Not greeting new subscribers with a heartfelt welcome message.

Look at it this way:

They have shared their email because they want to build a relationship. You should reciprocate by showing how excited and honored you are. Even better, return the favor by offering a special discount (more on that later).

If you don’t bother with a welcome message, you are neglecting your subscribers, and they are not going to like it.

74.4% subscribers said that they expect a welcome message when they subscribe. Still, as many as 83% brands fail to make a good first impression to new subscribers. Also, 41% brands did not reach out even after 48 hours of subscription and 27% took an astonishing 3 weeks to send their first message.

And then they say, “email is dead.”

What makes the numbers above more baffling is the fact that welcome emails perform better than any other type of email.

Consider these stats from an Experian research report.

Welcome emails have 57.8% open rate compared to 14.6% for other types. It gets even better and touches 83% when the emails are sent in real time. Welcome emails have 14.4% click rate compared to just 2.7% in other types.

And most importantly, the transaction rate is 0.94% for welcome emails (4.01% for real messages) compared to 0.10% for a typical email.

Need I say more?

Welcome emails work.

However, just because they are expecting a welcome note, doesn’t mean they will appreciate and respond to a poorly executed message.

Your target users are getting a handful of emails on a daily basis. If you don’t stand out in your first email, you can kiss your chances of building a mutually beneficial relationship goodbye.

Show them what you got

Sending a simple thank-you note might be the easiest way to do it, but it is not the most efficient. Such messages are usually close-ended, and close-ended messages cannot lead to conversation (which is essential for conversions).

You need to engage, right from the word go.

In this post, we will discuss 9 different welcome messages that will help you initiate engagement and build trust.

1. Introduction email

Unless you are a well-known brand, you can use the welcome message to introduce your business to new subscribers.

Start by welcoming them to the family. Introduce your business and show them the perks of being connected to your business.

KOIO Welcome emails

Source: Really Good Emails

Just a word of caution: Creating an introduction email doesn’t mean focusing entirely on your business.

It’s not about you or your business. It’s about them.

The best way to connect with your customers is to look at your business through their eyes. Talk about your business, but focus on what’s in it for them.

It’s a good idea to add personal photograph of you or your team. Studies have shown that users ignore the stock images or models but pay attention to real pictures.

Helpscout welcome emails

2. Personalized Message

Personalization works. No two ways about it.

79% businesses that exceed revenue goals have a documented personalization strategy.

Large businesses are using machine learning and artificial intelligence to generate and send highly personalized emails. In fact, Adobe recently published the results from a real-time marketing insights study. The study showed that 77% marketers said real-time personalization is great for businesses.

You can use browsing history to send a personalized welcome message. If you don’t have the data to personalize the message, use the welcome email to ask for their preferences.

You can also use a tool like Niftyimages to create personalized photos.

Too many emails are usually the biggest reason people unsubscribe. The repetitive or irrelevant content is the second biggest reason.

Take care of both these nuisances by letting them decide.

Don’t be shy about asking questions. See this example from coschedule‘s welcome email.

coschedule welcome emails

Let them choose the type of content or offer they want in their inbox and let them decide how frequently they want it.

3. Discount & Special Offer

Special discount, free shipping, or buy one get one free offers are some of the most sought-after features in marketing emails, according to this study.

These emails should contain the discount code or instructions on how to claim the offer.

Helzberg Diamonds does it with a simple discount code in their welcome message.

Helzberg welcome emails

Gael Breton of Authority Hacker does it by offering access to premium content.

Authority Hacker welcome emails

It’s better to mention an expiry date or deadline to create some urgency. You want them to act fast and make a purchase (so you can have a better idea of their preferences).

And don’t just stop at sharing the discount code.

What’s the point if these subscribers can simply cash in on the offer and leave. You need to make sure that they will stay.

Starbucks does it by offering a free drink but for that, you will have to join their loyalty program.

Starbucks welcome emails

Offering a discount is a great option when you want a double-opt in or verification from subscribers. Verification emails don’t need to be a blunt, boring message with nothing but a link.

Instead, use a prominent heading or banner that highlights the discount or deal that they will get after verification.

4. Onboarding & Getting Started

Onboarding emails are great for SaaS businesses (others can use it as well).

It’s quite like introduction email with an emphasis on a call to action. It tells them what’s the next step and shows them how to take it.

You want them to download a mobile app or browser extension, let them know and put them on course with a link.

pocket welcome emails

If you want them to set up account and start using your website, show them how to do it.

Basecamp setup welcome emails

Needless to say, the onboarding message needs to be simple and smooth. You want them to quickly have a feel of your service without annoying them with advanced level configurations.

So, keep it short and simple.

You can also use videos, tutorials, or gifs to create demos. But in most cases, step by step instructions will do.

Don’t forget to highlight the advantages too. Reinforce the value and show how your product/service can help them achieve what they are looking for.

Here’s the “getting started” message we send, when someone sign up for a free trial at Sleeknote.

Sleeknote welcome emails

5. Free Trial

When a user signs up for a free trial, the first email will be similar to onboarding message but it will usually be followed by a series of emails.

The follow-ups will gradually introduce and explain the features of your product. You can also throw in some webinars or tutorial videos to engage potential customers. Use welcome messages to convince them to activate or upgrade to a paid plan.

You can either focus on the advantages or disadvantages by showing what they will miss if they don’t continue with your service.

But, don’t be too pushy and don’t make it sound like an ultimatum.

You need to be equally welcoming even if they decide to leave or not upgrade. Tell them that they can take their time and come back later (maybe offer an incentive if they do).

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6. Video & GIFs

Speaking of engagement, there’s no content type that engages better than videos or animated GIFs.

Videos have the best engagement and conversion rates on social media or landing pages.

What’s stopping you from using them in your emails?

If you are concerned about the size and loading time of your email, you can create the impression of a video by using an image with a Play button.

See the following welcome message by Basecamp.

Basecamp welcome emails

Note that it’s just an image. Clicking on the play button will take you to their landing page having the actual video.

There are also services that allow you to incorporate videos in your email messages.

If you don’t want to use a video, consider using GIFs with just 4 – 5 frames. Even if the animation doesn’t play on some email platforms, it will still show the first image.

A welcome email with a video or animated GIF will instantly grab their attention.

7. Download

Lead magnets or content upgrades like cheat sheets, ebooks, or free templates are often the most commonly used methods for building subscribers lists.

It is also one of those areas where most businesses make mistakes.

When someone signs up to get a free resource, the first email they get has nothing but a link to download.

That is an opportunity missed.

You already have them hooked with something they want. It’s time to go one step ahead and take them towards the next step in your funnel.

This might be a little annoying, but you will be able to identify potential customers from users who are in it just for the download.

8. Product Catalog

If you are an ecommerce store or local business, you need to put your best foot forward in your welcome message.

You can do it by sharing the best selling or trending products. Or, simply share the product categories like Zappos do in its welcome email.

zappos welcome emails

For any other types of websites, it can be a list your most popular posts or resources.

Here’s the welcome email from Ahrefs.

AHREFS welcome emails

Just don’t try to stuff too many different products in the same email or it will result in choice overload.

9. Social Proof

Customers like recommendations more than advertisements.

They don’t want to be sold to, but they will appreciate recommendations, especially if they are coming from an authority in the niche.

You can use the welcome message to highlight social proof. It can be customer testimonials, user reviews, endorsements, or the number of social fans or followers you have.

All of these examples will build credibility and make you look like an authority on the subject.

This will also make subscribers a lot more interested in hearing (and buying) from you.

So, there you have it.

These are some of the most efficient welcome emails that eventually turn subscribers into long-term customers and increase your email marketing ROI. You can choose one or all of these methods depending on the triggers on your website.

Best to get started with your welcome messages ASAP. Trust me. It’ll all be worth it.

Do you have some welcome email strategies to add to this list? Which one is working (or not working) for you?

Please let us know in the comments.

About the author:
Emil Kristensen is CMO and Co-founder at Sleeknote, a lead generation tool for e-commerce. Sleeknote helps online stores interact with their visitors to increase sales and acquire new customers.

You can connect with Emil on Linkedin or Twitter


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