Put Your Welcome Message to Work with the Welcome Email Checklist

From the eec's Member RoundtablesWelcome messages show some of the highest open rates in the email world. We’re surprised by how many senders neglect to even send a welcome or, almost as bad, send lusterless messages that feel downright unwelcoming.

When people invite you into their home or office, you know whether you feel welcomed even if it’s tough to pinpoint exactly why. Do your hosts reach out to you with a handshake or hug? Do their tones and expressions tell you they’re thrilled to see you? Several subtleties contribute to welcoming you into a new place—why should welcome emails be any different?

To help you make the most of your welcome, we at the Email Design Roundtable have added a Welcome Message Checklist to our Email Checklist series. With so many details to think about, our checklist offers a collection of ideas that you can easily apply to your own message style.

We drew our inspiration from emails we received that delivered the most on that warm and welcomed feeling:

Stephanie Miller of Return Path loves Sephora’s welcome email, which does what a welcome message should— confirms the sign up, makes the subscriber feel delighted to have signed up and gets recipients shopping. And it does this all in a well-designed format that is similar to the regular messages Sephora sends. Sephora gets bonus points for their touch of personalization: adding a first name here makes the email feel like a visit to a store where the clerk knows you. Omaha Steaks adds the same personal touch to their message, and they also throw in a special offer that shows the recipient that they’re now on the inside track.

Lisa Harmon of Smith-Harmon: First of all, I love Virgin America.
Second of all, I love this eleVAte welcome email for at least two reasons:
(1) It includes all the details I need to revisit the site, which inspired me to actually keep and file the email away.
(2) Welcome emails are sometimes made to do too much, which turns into a law-of-diminishing-returns, over-messaged mess. This one is super-simple, which makes the three icons and buttons to book, edit preferences and view routes POP!

Chad White of the Email Experience Council: When I did the data collection for my Retail Welcome Email Benchmark Study last year, I saw a huge range of welcome emails in terms of engagement. Unfortunately, I saw a lot of emails that looked like Foot Locker’s welcome message—boring, text-only, weak branding, and almost nonexistent calls-to-action. Fortunately, there were some retailers that recognized the engagement opportunity that a welcome email presents. For instance, Circuit City’s welcome email focused on making sure that subscribers had indicated their preferences and were signed up for the newsletters that were most relevant to them. And HPshopping’s welcome message does a good job of covering lots of different bases succinctly. The best advice I ever heard about welcome emails was: “Give them a reason to save the welcome email.” Hopefully this checklist will help marketers achieve that goal.

Share your worst and warmest welcome message experiences by commenting below.

–eec Email Design Roundtable co-chairs Lisa Harmon and Julie Montgomery of Smith-Harmon