Optimizing the First Email You Send to New Subscribers

by Victor Green
3 mins read

Commonly referred to as the “welcome email,” the first message you send to new members of your contact list is the ultimate test of your email marketing operations. This statement might sound like a bit of an overstatement, but as iMedia Connection’s Matt Zajechowski explains, the actual data tells a far different story.Specifically, welcome emails generate 320 percent more revenue than any other promotional message, as well as an 86 percent jump in average open rates. Simply put, this email opportunity matters more than ever. To ensure that you capture all of the potential held within this digital first impression, let’s take a moment to talk about how your brand can optimize the first email that it sends to every new subscriber.

Start with the Subject Line

In terms of optimizing this offering, Zajechowski explains that there’s no better place to start than with the subject line. After all, it’s the first thing your newly acquired audience member will see when they open up their email app or browser-based inbox. Specifically, you’ll want to hone in on a few key words and themes as you craft these messages.

  • “Sale” increases open rates by 23.2 percent.
  • “News” boosts open and click-through rates by 34.8 percent and 47.7 percent, respectively.
  • “Bulletin” raises open rates by 15.8 percent and click-through rates by 12.7 percent.
  • “Video” gives open rates an uptick of 18.5 percent, while also raising click-through rates by a whopping 64.8 percent.

As you can see, your choice of wording for this icebreaker can make or break the impact generated by this selection. It’s also a good idea to squeeze in a “thanks for joining” or other similar greeting if possible. As long as it doesn’t dilute the message of your subject line, showing your latest audience acquisitions a little love is a nice gesture that truly resonates with the people on the other side of the screen.

Shore up That “From” Address

Outside of your subject line, the HubSpot Blog’s Carly Stec suggests that you ditch the “noreply” From address. While this generic address often ends up as the default choice for most brands, the truth of the matter is that it does little to endear your organization to these new followers in the inbox. Going with your company name – or even a personal moniker or nickname – helps cut away some of the ambiguity of this outreach process and ensures a warm and heartfelt welcome for your new inbox reader.

Skip Over the Spam Words and Persuade Your Audience

In terms of your actual message body content, Stec goes on to explain that the best course of action is to skip over the words and phrases that trigger inbox filters and focus on persuading your reader to take the next step with your content and promotions. Words that aren’t safe for email marketing include:

  • “Prize”
  • “Free”
  • “Bonus”
  • “Buy”
  • “Purchase”
  • “Order”

While these words might earn your content a one way trip to the spam folder, starting off your request with “because” and illuminating the need for a response (such as seeking a whitelisting for your branded email addresses) has been shown to increase compliance for an email marketing request by up to 94 percent. Additionally, personalization via contact list names and liberal use of “you,” as well as including the word “imagine,” can also boost the effectiveness of your message content.

Incentives can go a Long Way

Of course, no welcome email would be complete without some sort of promotion or discount to help get the ball rolling on what your brand hopes to be a lasting and prosperous relationship with this new contact list member. In total, slipping in a coupon or limited-time offer can lead to 2.6 times more transactions when compared to a more generic welcome email. Even if you’re not able to offer a blockbuster deal, simply showing your appreciation in some way, shape, or form is vital to the success of this offering.

Always Play by the Rules

Finally, while this is hopefully just the first of many marketed messages being sent to the consumer in question, your brand still needs to make sure it plays by the rules during this initial contact. Covering frequency and subject matter considerations, as well as informing your reader about privacy and unsubscribe polices, is key to ensuring that your organization plays by the rules in the inbox. If you’re able to do this, in addition to putting the rest of what you’ve learned here to good use, then there’s no reason why your company can’t get the most out of this crucial email marketing first impression.

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