9 things to put in your list welcome messages

The list welcome message is the email that goes out to someone automatically and immediately once you add their email address to your list. They're often marketing disasters...using technical jargon to simply state that address X was added to List Y. Not very engaging.

The reason they're so bad is that they usually get set up as an afterthought, or they simply feature the pre-programmed message that the email delivery service offers as a default.

This is not good.

Why?

Somebody just felt interested and enthused enough about your products, services or publications to request regular emails from you.

This is one of those precious marketing moments.

You've got the prospect's attention. You've got their interest. You've got their permission to send them email.

And how do you communicate with them in this glorious, elusive moment?

You send them a list welcome message.

That's why this message is important.

It arrives in that brief window of time when you're actually top of mind for all sorts of good reasons. So it has far more potential impact on the relationship with the recipient than just about any other email you're likely to send.

When you understand that, then the old "you have been added to our list" message seems a touch lame, no?

So here's a quick overview of what you should have in that welcome message...

First, you do need to include the mechanical basics:

1. Confirm that the action they took was successful: they have indeed been added to the list.

2. Let them know how or where they can modify their subscription or access past issues (don't forget the requirements of anti-spam legislation).

Not too exciting so far. But here's what you also need in there:

3. Thank the recipient for signing-up. A real thank-you. Like you mean it.

4. Remind them of what they're going to get in terms of content and publication frequency. This sets expectations appropriately (remember: if you don't meet expectations, they'll start to think of your emails as spam).

5. Remind them also of how they will benefit from this content.

6. Give an immediate feedback option. You do value your reader's opinion?

None of the above need take up much space in the welcome message. Now, what about grasping that opportunity we just identified?

7. Avoid a mechanical tone and talk to the recipient in a human personable way (unless your brand forbids this). Sign the email with a real name - the editor, CEO, whoever makes most sense.

8. Avoid email marketing jargon unless your audience are email marketers. Words like "unsubscribe", "preference center" and "opt-in" won't mean anything to most consumers.

9. Reward the recipient for their interest. Surprise them with a sign-up bonus. Examples might be:

In essence, treat that list welcome message as an extremely valuable and important element in your relationship marketing efforts. Not as an afterthought.

You know that thing they say about first impressions?

Quite.

(Author's note: Brent of eINFO suggests - quite rightly - that the welcome message is also a good place to put in a request to whitelist your "from" address.)

First published: August 2006

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