As the saying goes, “you only get one chance to make a good first impression.” This quote can be applied to many scenarios like a job interview or a first date—but nowhere does it ring more true than with email marketing. With the average email subscriber receiving hundreds of marketing messages a month, it’s more important than ever for brands to make a positive first impression, turning new subscribers into loyal customers. One of the best ways to achieve this is through an optimized onboarding program which can help set the foundation for a lasting relationship.
While it’s common for brands to send new subscribers a welcome message after signing up for their email program, it’s far less common to send an onboarding series. According to the Return Path Study, How America’s Top Retailers Set the Tone with Welcome Emails, 75% of Internet Retailer’s top 100 list sent a welcome message but only 4% of those brands went on to send an onboarding series. Not only is an onboarding series an effective way to start building a solid relationship with a new subscriber, but it also helps foster long-term engagement with your email program. Our study found that subscribers who read three messages in a welcome (or onboarding) series went on to read 69% of subsequent messages, compared to just 18% of messages that were read by subscribers who just received one message in a welcome series.
*Source – How America’s Top Retailers Set the Tone with Welcome Emails
Subscribers are generally most receptive to your marketing messages within the first 30 days of opting into your program, so the emails you send during this time play a critical role in turning these new subscribers into active subscribers and customers.
When creating an onboarding series, it’s important to keep the following best practices in mind:
Now let’s look at an example of an effective onboarding series that applies many of these best practice elements:
Ikea Onboarding Series
Over the course of a week, Ikea sends three onboarding emails to new subscribers. The messages effectively introduce subscribers to everything the store has to offer and sets expectations for future communications. It also promotes Ikea’s different social media platforms and encourages the subscriber to complete their profile.
Subject Line: Welcome to IKEA!
Timing: Immediately upon sign up
Subject Line: Learn about IKEA Services!
Timing: Sent two days after email #1
Subject Line: Learn about IKEA’S Warranties & Sustainability Efforts!
Timing: Sent four days after email #2
So whether you’re looking to add an onboarding series to your email program or modify your current one, be sure to follow these best practices to achieve optimal results. Not only will a strategic onboarding series help improve subscriber loyalty and engagement, but it can also help decrease subscriber complaints, improving deliverability and ultimately increasing your bottom line.