What is a Welcome Series?
A Welcome Series is an experience designed for your new subscribers, triggered immediately after signing up for your newsletter or email list.
When someone signs up to receive messages from your brand, you are truly top-of-mind — making this an extremely important touchpoint in your customer’s journey.
Use this as an opportunity to give subscribers a stellar first impression, introduce them to your brand, and get them excited about your offerings.
The Customer Journey
Before we dive into strategy, let’s take a moment to think about where our customer might be in their journey when they sign up for our email list.
When a customer signs up, they are ultimately showing an interest in our brand.
However — they might not be a customer.
When creating our Welcome Series, we need to remember that we might be speaking to someone unfamiliar with our brand and what we offer.
Or, we might be speaking to a returning customer looking to connect with us more frequently via email.
Keeping this in mind, let’s work through what your Welcome Series strategy might look like.
Welcome Series Strategy
Typically, a Welcome Series is 1 to 4 messages that span the length of about a week.
Keeping your customer in mind will help you decide how many and which type of messages will be best suited for your brand.
The first message in your series should be sent immediately after someone subscribes.
The messages that follow can have time delays in between them to ensure subscribers are not receiving too many emails from your brand at once — 1 to 2 days in between messages would be typical for this type of Series.
It’s important to think about your company’s goals as well. Do you want to deepen your relationship with customers and build brand loyalty?
Your Welcome Series may be more focused on offering your brand’s story, curated content, and links to your social media to connect outside of your eCommerce store.
If your goal is to turn subscribers into customers, you may want to include an incentive to make the first purchase, offering an in-depth look at your best products and customer favorites.
What works well for one business may not work well for yours, so it’s important to test and discover what resonates best with your audience.
Welcome Series Messaging
Like all things in digital marketing, there is never a one-size-fits-all approach. However, a typical Welcome Series might look like the following:
Welcome Message #1: Introduction to Your Brand
Timing: Immediately after someone subscribes
● A warm welcome to your brand, and an introduction to your brand’s story or overall mission.
● A highlight of the perks of being on your email list, and what subscribers can expect to see from you.
● An incentive to make a first-time purchase for non-buyers, or a “thank you” offer to returning customers for joining you.
Welcome Message #2: First Business Objective
Timing: 1 to 2 days after message #1
● A highlight of what makes your brand or your products unique.
● An in-depth look at your brand’s content or product line, highlighting your top-sellers or most engaging pieces of content.
● Social proof: Reviews from customers, customer curated content, or awards/recognition.
Welcome Message #3: Second Business Objective
Timing: 1 to 2 days after message #2
● The request for subscribers to join you on another platform — Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, etc.
● Customer curated content.
● A highlight of upcoming events or giveaways.
Welcome Message #4: Third Business Objective
Timing: 1 to 2 days after message #3
● Share your top-selling products or common items purchased in a first order to your new subscribers who haven’t made a purchase yet - now would be a great time to remind them of their offer from email #1
For returning customers, highlight products that compliment what they might have purchased in the past.
- Focus on the value of your products and why customers should shop with you
Welcome Series Tips for Success
- If offering an incentive to join your list, include this in the first welcome message. This encourages purchases from both new and returning customers.
- To keep the amount of messaging from your brand at a minimum, make sure all additional campaigns are not sending to new contacts until the subscriber has made it completely through the Welcome Series.
- Ask subscribers for their email preferences to guide your segmentation efforts in the future — doing so will help you in crafting a personalized experience for subscribers going forward.
- When including products in your Welcome Series, lead with the products that are most likely to convert and encourage a first-purchase for your non-buyers.
Take Your Welcome Series To The Next Level
Launching a basic Welcome Series is a great place to start, but there are several ways you can go above and beyond to find your optimal flow and messaging:
Split testing different workflow paths, timing, promotions, and content placements are all ways to optimize this Series for its best performance.
- Timing — Should your messages happen one day apart, or be spread out further? Test different time delays between them to see which get the best engagement.
- Placement — Not sure which objective you should lead with? Test multiple workflow paths to get an idea of how best to order your messaging.
- Content — Should you lead with your value propositions or brand story? A/B split test the content of each message to see which results in higher conversions, in relation to your message’s goal.
- Promotions — Which incentive encourages a first-time purchase? Is this enough to get repeat purchases for returning customers? A/B test promotional offers to both your first-time and returning customers.
- Gender — Do you have products catered to both men and women? Target your messaging and product selection based on the gender of your subscribers to craft a more personalized experience, based on products they are most likely interested in.
- First-time vs returning customers — If someone has yet to make a purchase, you might want to entice them to make that first order. A discount or promotional offer often encourages first-time customers to make a purchase. Test different messaging for returning customers, perhaps paying tribute to their loyalty to your brand.
- Sign-up method — Where did the subscriber sign-up? Knowing the source of the contact helps you understand what type of content they would be most interested in a subscriber who signs up for your blog might be interested in seeing additional content, a new subscriber from your website might be interested in seeing more details about your best products, and someone who just signed up via checkout might be more interested in being educated on your brand and be less interested in sales-y messaging.
Dynamic Product Recommendations
If a contact has made a purchase before, including product recommendations based on their previous purchases can result in an increase in conversions. This is absolutely worth testing if you plan on including products in your Welcome Series.
Checklist for creating your Welcome Series:
Define Your Goals
- Define your marketing and business goals — Increase Revenue, Transactions, Order Values, Repeat Purchases, Customer Loyalty, Customer Engagement, etc.
- Define the goals of each message — For example: First-Purchase, Loyalty, Engagement, etc.
Define Your Audience
- Non-Buyers: What are they interested in seeing?
- Returning Customers: What are they interested in seeing?
Define Your Messaging
- Define the objectives of each message
- Draft your main messaging for each message in the Series
Design Your Flow
- Map out your automation workflow in your chosen ESP
- Set automation to trigger when someone subscribes to your list
- Include delays between each message, spanning over the week
Design Your Content
- Draft the content of each message
- Keep design true to your brand standards
- Include clear CTAs
- Optimize layouts for mobile
Test Your Email
- Once the workflow and messages have been drafted, test this Series before launching
- Make edits based on your findings
Then comes the fun part — launching your series and monitoring its performance.
Define Next Steps for Optimizing
- A/B Testing
- Dynamic Content or Products
● Customer vs non-customer
● High vs low value
● Viewed few items vs viewed many items
● A/B test timing
● Repeat Purchase Nurture Series
○ Order count split
○ Predicted next purchase
○ Encouraging to buy again
● Product Reviews
● Bounce back for 1-time buyers for a repeat purchase
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