Happy 2012 everybody! Yes, I'm making the same New Year's resolutions to lose weight, save more, exercise frequently, and spend more time with the family. I'm also committed to keeping email marketing the premiere customer communication vehicle. With that, I'd like to start at the beginning with the very first email a new subscriber receives from your brand: the welcome message.
First impressions mean everything, so it's imperative that you take the time to provide your new customers with a proper introduction to your brand.
Here are 10 things to make sure you include in your welcome message(s):
Welcome Tal! Don't forget to personalize the subject line and the welcome copy. As a new subscriber, I just signed up to receive communications from your brand, so make sure you address me properly. Leveraging the information I provided to personalize the message demonstrates that you are listening and sets the stage for future communications.
Remind me how I signed up. People register for email (knowingly or unknowingly) at different sources (store, point of purchase, co-registration, etc.). As a result, I might not always remember what I did to start receiving communications from your brand. By personalizing the copy based on the registration source, you can provide me with a gentle reminder of where I signed up, which can eliminate any confusion that might cause me to hit the unsubscribe link.
Set frequency expectations. Will I receive one email a week or one a day? By confirming the frequency upfront, you can set my expectations properly. No one likes to be surprised, so be upfront with your intentions to avoid a spam complaint or lost subscriber. Better yet, give me the option to change the frequency to meet my needs.
Iteratively profile me. I may not have had time to give you all my information at point of registration. Now that I am part of your communications stream, encourage me to go back to the preference center and give more detailed information - and remind me why it's valuable. Don't be shy. With the right approach, you can make the relationship better for both parties.
Let me easily unsubscribe. If I didn't realize that I subscribed or what I was signing up to receive, let me unsubscribe easily. Include an unsubscribe link in the body of the email instead of burying it in the footer. This might seem like a potentially dangerous marketing move to you, but it will earn respect with your customer - and also help build a better quality list.
Add to safe sender list. This might seem like a no-brainer, but if you want to increase your inbox delivery, you need to remind me how to add your "From" email address into my safe sender list. In addition to avoiding the spam folder, you also increase my chances of seeing your images instead of having them automatically suppressed.
Give me an offer. As a marketer, you know that making me a repeat buyer will make me much more loyal to your brand. Go ahead and give me an incentive to buy again. I won't need much…maybe 15 percent, free shipping, or pay the sales tax!
Tell me how to refer a friend. I like your brand. It's only natural that I'd be willing to tell my friends how much I like you, and why. But I will need some encouragement to make the effort. Make it easy to share and give me an appropriate incentive to encourage my friend(s) to get on board.
Don't say it all in one message. If you have a lot to tell me, say it over a series of communications. I'm more likely to retain information given in small batches than a lengthy email that requires me to "page-down" through multiple paragraphs. A well-integrated welcome series works wonders.
Give your welcome message some seasonality. Like most people, I welcome a change in seasons. It's a nice touch to serve up new email creative for the seasons, especially the holiday season. Not only is a seasonal update a nice change of pace, it will also cause me to take greater notice of your message.
Integrate these 10 tips into your welcome messages in 2012 and get your customer relationships off to a winning start. You can never make a first impression twice.
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An industry veteran, Tal Nathan has been helping organizations deliver valued and effective email marketing services for more than 10 years. In his role of vice president of client services, Nathan manages all client services for StrongMail to ensure that their respective clients receive the highest level of professional service available in today’s competitive marketplace. Previously, Nathan served as vice president and general manager of client services for Epsilon, where he led online strategy for the company’s top-tier clients, with a focus on the retail, travel and financial verticals. Prior to Epsilon, he was the vice president of client engineering at infoGroup, where he led and managed integration services for its Yesmail division. No stranger to technology, Nathan began his career at BDO Seldman, where he provided a range of business management and technology services to Fortune 500 companies. Nathan holds a BS in mechanical engineering from UCLA.