What’s in a Welcome Journey?
It's rightly said that "The first impression is the last impression." When I think about a welcome email, I think of it as the first and best opportunity for making a meaningful connection and ultimately developing a fruitful, long-lasting relationship between a person and an organization. Through welcome emails, the company can effectively coach customers to bolster loyalty.
Now, let's take a deeper dive into what a solid welcome journey might look like for a new prospect who has signed-up to receive emails from your organization.
Email 1: Welcome email
This email sets the tone for all subsequent communications; so be sure to get this one right! First and foremost, be sure to thank your prospect for signing up. Additionally, use this communication as a chance to provide more information about your company, set expectations around what being an email subscriber (i.e. frequency, the kind of content or offers they can expect, etc.), and begin building trust by ensuring there is a person behind every email sent (i.e. have the email come from a named individual or at least be forthcoming with how they could get in touch with a live person).
Vigorate could not agree more.
You can also use this email as an opportunity to:
- Express how new customers are important to your company
- Provide more information about the products they’ve expressed interest in
- Educate them about your company, its values, story and purpose
- Learn more about them but asking about their interests (i.e. interactive emails, linking to preference centres, etc.)
- Demonstrate immediate value. Often times, a subscriber joins because they’re seeking an offer or discount. Deliver on this expectation by providing a discount, a free download, etc.
Email 2: You are a solution to their problem
Your customer is trying to solve a problem. They’ve come to you because they believe you may be able to offer a solution. Use email two as an opportunity to demonstrate how you’ve solved problems similar problems with others; begin moving your customer from “problem aware” to “solution aware.”
Where possible, leverage reviews or quotes from others to validate what the subscriber is beginning to believe about your organization. A critical component to any email is the subject line. For email two, if you’re able to identify the specific problem they’re facing, address it right in the subject line.
Here’s an example:
A customer subscribes to a fitness website, but is confused about choosing the right workout program for himself.
Here, we have identified that the problem is that the customer doesn’t know which workout program he should select for himself. So, try a subject line like "Confused? Choose a free session with our experts". Of course, be sure that body of the email delivers on the promise from the subject line. In this case, it should include all the details about a free one-on-one session with an expert, provide success stories, and membership price ranges.
If you’re unsure of the specific problem your customer is facing, use this email to ask them. Include a list of the most common problems your customers experience and have the recipient click for more information. Not only does this help deliver relevant information that the customer is looking for, but it helps inform you about the best way to help them. Your subsequent communications can leverage this insight to tackle their challenges head on.
Email 3: Inspire and Aspire
Now, that you have identified the problem the customer is facing, this is the right time to introduce the appropriate product(s) or service(s) to the customer. This email takes customers from "aware of their problem and potential solution" to "aware of a specific solution for them."
Use email three to inspire your prospect by sharing the experience of others who have overcome the same challenge that they’re facing. Get them excited about addressing their challenges and give them something to aspire to.
Here’s an example:
An amateur cook wants to become a chef. A culinary school targeting these types of customers might share relatable stories from graduates who have overcome the challenges an amateur might be facing:
- “Cooking was never something I learned growing up”
- “I didn’t even know how to sauté veggies or roast a chicken!”
- "I learned the importance of time and patience in becoming a professional chef"
Email 4: Benefits (Short term & Long term)
Email four is your chance to highlight both the short-term and long-term benefits to being a customer.
People tend to want immediate results. You need to get people excited and demonstrate any immediate benefits to your product(s) or service(s).
Enter “future pacing.”
The definition from copywriter Joel Klettke:
“Future pacing is where you use words to get your lead to imagine themselves in a future where they are experiencing the incredible outcomes your solution can provide.”
There are four stages to future pacing which can help you structure your email:
- Show customers the advantage of buying a product right away
- Show them benefits after a month
- Take them to an imaginative state which displays the benefit from the product after a year
- Demonstrate how it can benefit customers throughout their life
"The perfect opening is the word imagine because imagine allows you to communicate in the eyes and the vision of the listener rather than yours". – Frank Luntz.
When customers start to imagine and visualize your products or services integrated into their lives, they can visualize the benefits making selling much easier.
Email 5: Urgency (time to sell)
This is the final step where your singular aim is closing the sale.
Use tools like countdown timers and limited time offers to create urgency. Consider loss aversion as a tactic as well (i.e. what life might be like without your product/service). Some will also work in a sixth email if the customer doesn’t convert at this stage with “final chance” messaging to create an even greater sense of urgency.
An effective welcome series is among the most powerful tools in moving a prospect to a customer. If done right, your proactive approach in educating, inspiring and encouraging can position you as a partner in making a buying decision alongside your prospect. This path is just one that a prospect might take, but extracting the same basic principle outlined here of meeting your customer or prospect where they’re at in their journey can be applied to any part of your customer lifecycle to enhance their experience.