Paving the Road to Relevancy Starts with Your Welcome Messages

According to Prince, there’s nothing wrong with partying like it’s 1999, but when it comes to sending email we don’t recommend it. Unfortunately, many marketers are stuck in a time warp, especially when it comes to their welcome messages.

How do we know? We signed up for the email programs of 57 top marketers representing a wide range of vertical markets and compiled the findings into our latest white paper, “A Welcome Message Study: Marketers Are Missing Opportunities to Pave the Road to Relevancy.”

Smart marketers know that welcome messages are crucial for establishing relevancy. As regular readers of this blog know, relevance is one of the major factors determining whether or not your subscribers are opening and reading your emails – as opposed to deleting them or worse, reporting them as spam.

Fully optimized welcome messages can also be used to set subscriber expectations and break out from the rest of the inbox clutter. Yet our research shows that many marketers continue to ignore this prime opportunity to get top of mind with their subscribers.

In fact, 70% of the marketers in our study are stuck in the 90s – the Dark Ages of email marketing – and are sending messages that are purely transactional. In other words, they confirm sign-up, but provide little or no information about what subscribers can expect from future emails and no incentive to start shopping, reading or clicking right away.

Treating your welcome message like a basic transaction is equivalent to creating a detour on the road to relevancy, rather than rolling out the welcome mat. And our findings confirm that this is too often the case. A sampling from our study shows that:

  • 25% of marketers reviewed don’t bother to send welcome messages at all. This one actually shocked us a bit. Even the most bare bones welcome message is better than sending nothing.
  • Of the 75% that do send welcome messages, only 14% include a welcome offer or incentive to make a purchase.
  • Only 2% of marketers reviewed provide their subscribers with information about the frequency of their email programs.

But it’s not all gloom and doom, thanks to a core group of enlightened marketers who demonstrated what we’ve seen work so well for many of the most successful email programs. Their welcome messages included a number of best practices designed to draw subscribers into the fold and set expectations for future emails to come:

  • 60% of marketers reviewed provide subscribers with links to preference centers to manage their subscriptions.
  • 74% in our study send their welcome messages immediately (less than 24 hours) following sign-up.

So, is your welcome message behind the times? Contact us for a free Welcome Message Benchmark Assessment – we’ll let you know how your program stacks up on key measures, and offer great ideas for improvement.

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