How to create an automated welcome sequence for your email list
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Welcoming new subscribers properly improves open and click rates and reduces unsubscribes… Here’s how to create an automated welcome sequence for your email list.
So you have set up your email list and put sign up boxes all over your site, and you have started to send out a regular email newsletter to your subscribers.
It’s a really good start, but there’s so much more you can do, if you want to take email marketing to the next level: setting up opt-ins and content upgrades, popup boxes and landing pages, sharing your landing page URL on social media, and so much more… but one really small thing that can make a BIG difference is creating an automated welcome sequence for your email list. Here’s why…
Picture this scenario…
Let’s say you send a weekly newsletter at 4pm on Friday afternoon. At 4.01 a person arrives on your site, loves what you have to offer and immediately decides to sign up for your newsletter… Sounds great, except they are not going to hear from you for a whole week… by which time they may have totally forgotten who you are and why they signed up for the list and are likely to just hit that unsubscribe button… Or maybe that first rush of excitement about your stuff will have subsided and they will just move your email into a folder and then forget about it…
There is an old adage to ‘strike while the iron’s hot’ and that really rings true where email marketing is concerned.
Imagine that very same scenario…
…that person who lands on your site at 4.01 on a Friday afternoon and loves your stuff.
Only this time when they go to sign up for your list, they get an email immediately, welcoming then to the list, thanking them for signing up, giving them some useful information and maybe sharing a bit about the blogger behind the blog.
They’ve only just signed up for your list, so the chances of them opening that email is MUCH, MUCH higher. (Especially if it contains some kind of free gift too) and think about how much more positive an experience that person will receive… They will feel welcomed, they will feel smart for signing up, they will feel like they know and trust you a little better and they will hopefully click on some irresistible links in your first email, straight back to your site.
And then imagine if they got another helpful email the next day… and the next. By the time they get your first ‘normal’ newsletter, they will certainly remember who you are and be way more predisposed to opening that email… In fact, if you do things well, they might even be excited to read it… they might even have been looking forward to getting it, knowing it’s going to contain great info that will really help them.
Something as easy as creating a simple automated welcome series of 5 or 6 short emails can totally transform your open rates, click through rates, unsubscribe rates… and result in happier, more engaged readers… who are more likely to regularly read your emails, visit your website and maybe even buy from you!
So how do you do it?
What to put in your automated welcome series emails
The first thing is to decide how many welcome emails you want to send out. I suggest 5 is a good number. You want to send enough emails to fully welcome your new subscribers, but at the same time you don’t want to totally overwhelm them!
It’s important to remember that the aim of your welcome sequence is to welcome your new subscriber, introduce them to your blog and help them to get to know, like and trust you better.
You want your new subscribers to quickly learn that an email from you is really worth opening… and you want to delight them with lots of useful tips and incredible value… Make your new subscriber feel that you really care about them!
There are lots of great ways of creating a welcome sequence, so I don’t want you to feel like what follows is the ONLY way of creating a welcome sequence… but rather a starting point, which you can tweak to your personal style and niche.
Day 1a: The Freebie
The very first email in your welcome sequence should deliver your freebie. This is very important! Your new subscriber has typed in their details into your form because you promised them a freebie. So you must now deliver on your promise. Whatever you do, do not make them wait for this! The email containing the download link should be the very first email they get from you.
Day 1b: Welcome
Once you have sent your new subscribers their freebie and they have clicked on the download link, you should send them their first welcome email immediately.
This email should be a general introduction to your blog and to you, it should thank them for subscribing, and tell them what to expect over the next few days.
Days 2, 3 & 4: Deliver pure value
The next 3 emails should deliver pure value. They should introduce what you and your blog are all about in a way that is going to give your new subscriber some quick wins.
I suggest the best way to so this is by addressing 3 common problems / pain points that your readers face typically face. In each email talk about one of those pain points and why it is so frustrating. Empathise with your reader (you know how it feels because you’ve been there!), then give them a quick win in your email text and link to a post or two on your blog for more detail. Finally, talk about what overcoming that problem has meant in your life.
‘Are you frustrated that your blog is not growing fast enough? I get you! I was frustrated my blog was growing so slowly… I tried everything… The solution was SEO… Here are 5 practical things you can do today to improve your SEO… Here are some useful links on my blog for more info… Because I did this I now get over a million pageviews every month… and an amazing passive income from ads…’
‘I am always so busy running around after my kids after school and I never have any time to cook… it was a total nightmare until I got my slow cooker… now I can sort out dinner earlier in the day when my kids are at school AND I have more time to spend with my kids before dinner – you can find tons of great slow cooker recipes and resources on my website… here’s the link my 3 most popular slow cooker recipes and here’s my 10 top tips for slow cooking.’
Day 5: How can I help?
One of the most important functions of the welcome sequence is to get your readers to know, like and trust you more… to start to build up a relationship with your new subscriber… and one of the best ways to do that is by asking them how you can help them!
So on Day 5, just send a really simple email which says something along the lines of,
‘I hope you’ve enjoyed the special welcome emails this week. I really want to know how I can help you better! Hit REPLY and let me know what your biggest struggle is with [your niche]’
This does three rather fabulous things:
- It encourages engagement.
- It creates trust and warm fuzzy feelings – especially if your new subscriber gets a lovely personal email back from your answering their question or pointing them to where you’ve written about that very subject on your blog.
- It gives you lots of ideas for what to write about on your blog and what sort of products and/or services might go down well with your readers…or another way that you could make your blog better for your readers.
For example, when I first started doing this on my other blog, easypeasyfoodie.com, I got a lot of American readers come back to me saying they loved my blog but struggled to deal with the British English terms and measures. What did I do? I adapted my blog. I got a new style of recipe card that allowed me to put conversions in, so readers could flip between US and British weights and measures at the press of a button, I made sure all my oven temperatures were also in Fahrenheit and I made sure all the ingredients also had the American English translation (e.g. Eggplant, Zucchini, Rutabaga, Cilantro etc.). The result? More page views from the US, happy subscribers and increased engagement. A win for everyone!
Wish someone would write your welcome emails for you?
Your wish is my command… I have created a PDF download with swipe copy for you! Just copy and paste my text, fill in the gaps to make it relevant to your blog and tweak it to make it suit your style.
One thing you should be careful of is managing expectations. If your reader starts getting an email every day, or one about a category they are not interested in, they may get put off. So in your first email, be very clear about what you are going to do. Explain that usually you only send 1 email a week, but that this week they will get a few extra special ones. Tell them what they will get, so they know what to expect… and don’t start to think that you are going to continuously bombard them with emails forever more!
How to create your automated welcome series
Step 1: WRITE YOUR EMAILS
Start by downloading my swipe copy. Copy and paste each email into a Word document or Google doc, then fill in the blanks. Finally tweak the emails to suit your own style.
Step 2: Create an incentive email
Go into each of your opt-in form and paste Email 1A into the incentive email section.
(Note: In some email marketing platforms the subscription confirmation email is not editable. If this is the case for you, skip this step and continue on to Step 3, where you should start the sequence with Email 1A, instead)
Step 3: Create a sequence
Now click on ‘Sequences’ (or whatever your email marketing platform calls them) and ‘New Sequence’. Name your sequence.
Next, copy and paste the remaining email copy into 5 separate emails. Set the first email (Email 1B) to send immediately (After 0 days). Set each subsequent email to send after 1 day. (Each emails should send 1 day after the previous email.) Make sure you include any relevant links, images, headings etc. And don’t forget to copy and paste the subject lines too!
Make sure each individual email as well as the whole email sequence is set to ‘published’.
Step 4: Create an automation
Now click on ‘Automations’ (or whatever your email marketing platform calls them) and ‘New Automation’. Name your Automation.
Start your automation with the forms you have created so far. The first action is to tag your subscribers with ‘Doing Welcome Sequence’ (This is a good practice as it means you can exclude people currently doing your welcome sequence from getting regular newsletters from you.)
Next add your new subscribers to the Welcome Sequence.
Finally remove the ‘Doing Welcome Sequence’ tag and add a new tag ‘Completed Welcome Sequence’.
It should look something like this…
Don’t forget to set your automation from paused to live!
Now, when anyone signs up using any of your forms or landing pages, they will automatically get sent your welcome sequence and you will quickly and easily be able to keep track of who is currently doing your welcome sequence and who has completed it.
(Note: The instructions and examples above are all based on how this works in ConvertKit* – the email service provider I know and love! Every email service provider does things slightly differently, but the basic principles are the same.)
Other posts in the email marketing mini-series
- Why every blogger NEEDS an email list
- How to get started with email marketing and get your first subscribers
- What to put in your email newsletter – 11 ideas to really connect with your subscribers!
- How to grow your email list with a free opt-in offer
- How to make money with your email list
Don’t miss a thing!
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*This blog post contains affiliate links, this means if you click on a link and go on to buy the product I recommend, I will get a small commission, but you will not be charged a penny more – thanks in advance!