There are two major milestones in customer acquisition: when a customer subscribes to your email list, and when they make their first purchase. These two behavioral triggers are amazing opportunities for you to encourage new prospects and customers to take valuable next steps.

If you’re not sending welcome emails to new subscribers and new buyers, you’re leaving a lot of revenue on the table.

74% of new subscribers expect a welcome email after they subscribe to your email list. And, welcome emails generate 320% more revenue per email than any other marketing email.

Yet, only 57.7% of companies send welcome emails.

These are only the numbers for new subscriber welcome emails. New subscriber and new buyer welcome emails are even more valuable than the basic statistics indicate.

New buyer welcome emails help you get more repeat purchases. Repeat purchases are far more valuable than first purchases. Customer acquisition costs eat up much of the profit margin for first purchases.

So, you generate far more revenue from second, third, and further purchases.

The exciting part is that 53% of customers who’ve made two purchases make a third purchase. Then, 64% of customers who make a third purchase will buy from you a fourth time. This phenomenon is called “repeat purchase probability.”

Source: https://blog.rjmetrics.com/2015/06/30/whats-value-ecommerce-customer/

So, you really need to make the most of your opportunities to get those first two purchases. Also, notice that the graph above only covers the customer’s first year. That’s because repeat purchase probability goes down as time goes on.

That means timely welcome emails are vital to capturing those follow-up purchases. Here’s how to build a welcome email series that helps you get the most customer lifetime value, with examples of welcome emails to demonstrate the best email design and overall strategy.

New Subscriber and New Buyer Welcome Emails

The first step is establishing two welcome email series: a new subscriber welcome email series and a new buyer welcome email series.

This creates a two-punch combo that helps you build trust and capture the most initial purchases. Then, it follows up with first-time buyers to snag those valuable second purchases. It’s the most efficient way to take advantage of repeat purchase probability.

Since subscribing is one of the first steps in the customer lifecycle, we’ll start with that.

New Subscriber Welcome Email Series

New subscriber welcome emails are triggered whenever a prospect subscribes to your email list. The main goals of your new subscriber welcome email series are to establish a relationship with your new email subscribers and provide amazing customer service right out of the gate.

This means that your new subscriber welcome emails need four core components, in this order of importance:

  1. Introduce your brand. First and foremost, your emails should express gratitude for subscribing to your list. Share why your company does what it does and your origin story, if it’s valuable to subscribers.

    Also, give subscribers a way to contact you, so you can help them overcome barriers to buying if they need it.
  2. Show how your brand is different. Share testimonials and brand differentiators. Press mentions and features in industry-specific publications also position your brand as a credible industry leader.
  3. Build a relationship with subscribers. Share popular blog posts and encourage subscribers to connect with your brand through social media. This way you can use your social media and content marketing ecosystem to provide value to your subscribers.
  4. Promote products. Show your most popular products, clarify ideal buyers for certain product categories, and give a call-to-action to explore your online shop.

The best strategy for accomplishing these three goals is a four email campaign. Send four emails over the course of a week (7 days). This series slowly moves a subscriber toward being a first-time buyer.

Here are effective welcome email examples for each stage of your new subscriber welcome series, so you can see how each step of this email marketing strategy works.

First New Subscriber Welcome Email Example

This email needs to be sent immediately. The first email should land in a new subscriber’s inbox as soon as they complete your double opt-in.

A welcome letter from the owner, founder, or CEO of your company is a great angle for this email. It shows that everyone in your company, from the top down, is invested in their customers. And, a letter from the head of your company is a natural way to thank people for subscribing and share what your brand is all about.

One more thing: deliver any promised rewards for subscribing in this first email, if you use a lead magnet to get new subscribers.  

This email from Martenero is an example of a great welcome letter to new subscribers:

It’s simple. But, it communicates the core values of Martenero and gives new subscribers an easy way to take the next step in the buyer’s journey. 

Second New Subscriber Welcome Email Example

The second new subscriber email needs to send 24 hours after the new subscriber signs up.

This email needs to be informative. It should have information that helps people compare your brand to competitors (with a favorable outcome for your brand!) with an emphasis on social proof.

People believe other customers more than they believe brands. So, use testimonials and press mentions as the core of the email content.

This email from Martenero is an excellent example of how to give social proof in a welcome email:

This email cleverly uses the subject line as social proof. The quotes in the subject line imply that the quote is from a customer. This frees up the body of the email to drive home the Martenero brand differentiators.

Third New Subscriber Welcome Email Example

The third email needs to arrive 3 days after the prospect subscribes.

This email is all about showing your brand in action and directing subscribers to your other resources. Brand stories from customers or team members are ideal. Also, provide links to popular blog posts and your social media profiles.

This helps prospects envision how they might use your products. And, it gives subscribers value and additional brand touchpoints.

This email from H.V.M.N. is an example of a new subscriber welcome email that leverages the subscription reward to deliver value in the third email:

Reminding subscribers that they’ve got a discount waiting is a great way to boost open rates and leverage the reward for subscribing. Also, notice how the first image in the email is a picture of someone using the product.

Fourth New Subscriber Welcome Email Example

The fourth email needs to send after 7 days.

This email is where you promote your products. At this point, product promotion feels less intrusive, because you’ve built rapport through the first three emails.

Show who each product or product category is best for, to help subscribers decide what they like. Support each product promotion with testimonials, if you have them. Lastly, include a clear call-to-action link to your online shop, to encourage subscribers to become buyers.

This email from Martenero is an example of an outstanding fourth welcome series email:

This email does a great job of giving plenty of options and an easy way for subscribers to become buyers with the CTA button to the store at the bottom. The images are dynamically inserted, based on browsing behavior, to increase personalization.

New Buyer Welcome Email Series

Once a subscriber has become a buyer, you need to continue the relationship. If you leave first-time buyers alone, they’re likely to defect to other brands.

Your new buyer welcome emails need to help your new users get the most value from their purchase, first. Once you’ve helped them fall in love with the product they already have, then you can help them get even more from their product with a second purchase.

The new buyer welcome series needs to be shorter than your new subscriber welcome series. And, the emails need to be less frequent. Otherwise, you risk being intrusive, which may cause people to unsubscribe from your emails.

The best strategy for engaging new buyers is a three email framework, sent over the course of two weeks (14 days).

Here are our best welcome email examples for each stage of the new buyer welcome email series.

First New Buyer Welcome Email Example

The first new buyer welcome email needs to send 30 minutes after the purchase. This way, the buyer will have already received their receipt and order confirmation. But, they’ll still be excited about their new stuff.

Just like the new subscriber emails, start by welcoming your new customer. They’ve taken a big, important step in the buyer’s journey. Then, let them know what to expect from the buying experience and their new product.

And, always include customer support contact information. Incredible customer service is a major cornerstone in building brand loyalty.

This email from Mother Dirt is an example of a great welcome email that’s perfectly customer-focused:

Everything is here. How to start using Mother Dirt products, what results they can expect, and several ways for customers to get answers if they have questions. There’s also imagery of the product in action.

Second New Buyer Welcome Email Example

The second new buyer email needs to land in the customer’s inbox 7 days after they buy. At that point, they should have received their product, or it should be arriving soon.

Provide links to user guides, FAQ resources, and pro tips to help them get the most from their new product. Also, provide links to accessories that make their product even better.

Lastly, include customer service contact information, and encourage new customers to reach out if they need help.

This email from Mother Dirt is an example of a super helpful new buyer welcome email:

One thing that’s really smart in this email is that it gives information about all of the Mother Dirt products. So, it subtly gives recommendations for future purchases as it gives helpful product information.

Third New Buyer Welcome Email Example

The third new buyer welcome email needs to show up 14 days post-purchase. By now, the customer will have used their new product and may have already considered buying more from you.

This email can be mostly promotional. The key is making sure that you’re promoting relevant products. Recommend products that complement the product the customer already has. Products that other customers bought are also good recommendations. And, new products in your catalog that are similar to the original purchase are good promotions.

Additionally, continue your customer service theme by encouraging customers to reach out if they need support and to keep in touch through social channels.

This email from Mother Dirt is an example of a solid closing email:

Reminding customers of a discount for buying multiple items is a smart way to encourage larger repeat purchases. And, the instructions for subscribing help generate recurring revenue.

If you use these two welcome series in your email marketing, you’ll make a great first impression. And, you’ll get a lot more repeat purchases and more customer lifetime value, which is key to the long-term success of your brand.

We’ll close out with some welcome email best practices that apply to both your new subscriber welcome emails and your new buyer welcome emails.

Welcome Email Best Practices

The two welcome email series have a lot of things in common. That’s good because you can use many of the same tactics in both sets of welcome emails. But, if you’re doing something wrong, there’s a good chance you’ll derail both series.

So, here a few best practices to follow to make sure your welcome emails hit the mark.

Use your subject line to clearly identify your welcome emails

Welcome emails get open rates of 50%, which is outstanding. However, you’ll only get welcome email open rates if email recipients know the email is a welcome email.

It might be tempting to be clever or cute with your email subject line. But, it’s better to clearly communicate that the email is a welcome email and hint at what’s in the email.

This is especially true for new subscriber emails that include a reward for subscribing. Your subject line should tell new subscribers that their reward is inside. If your email subject line is unclear, and the new subscriber deletes the email by mistake, it creates a terrible customer experience. The new subscriber will think you failed to deliver on your promise.

So, make sure your subject lines identify your welcome emails.

Establish (and meet) expectations

Tell new subscribers and new customers what they can expect from your emails and your brand.

The way you treat your customers is the backbone of your brand reputation. Establishing a pattern of promising and delivering builds a reputation for being a trustworthy company that cares about its customers.

Encourage new subscribers and customers to engage through other channels

One of the greatest strengths of email marketing is that it supports and improve the performance of your other marketing channels. Capitalize on that strength by making it easy for people to connect on social media and access your free resources through your welcome emails.

Send from a monitored inbox

Make it easy for subscribers and customers to get in touch by sending from a monitored inbox. That way they can simply reply to the email to get support or give you more information about them.

The easier it is to have a conversation with you, the more likely it is that people will engage with your brand and help you make your email content more relevant and thoroughly segment your email lists.

Follow these best practices to engage your new email subscribers and new buyers with multiple, well-timed emails, and you’ll get the best open and click-through rates, capture the most repeat purchase revenue, and get amazing ROI from your email marketing.

What to do now

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Author       
Mike Arsenault
Mike Arsenault is the Founder & CEO of Rejoiner. He works with 350+ online retail & eCommerce companies like Hydroflask, Footjoy, GUESS, and Big Chill to help them grow faster using lifecycle email. He also once lived aboard a 36' sailboat in Boston.