Your guide to welcome email automation excellence: welcome email examples and 14 tips from industry experts
The very first email interaction with a prospect helps lay the foundation for a long-lasting customer relationship. Think about it: As a new subscriber, would you stick around if you didn’t have a good first impression over email?
The quality of that first impression can make or break your chances of getting a sale and retaining customers long-term. That’s why you need a well-crafted welcome email to set the right expectations—right from the start.
Whether a single email or a welcome email series, welcome emails help you introduce your brand while making that much-needed great first impression on prospects.
Compared to other marketing emails, welcome emails are more engaging: The average open rate for welcome email series is 46.48% across industries, meaning nearly half of new subscribers or customers open them.
On top of that, welcome emails:
- Have 4x the click rate and 23x the conversion rate of regular marketing emails
- Enjoy the perfect audience because customers are enthusiastic about their new purchase or subscription
- Help educate customers about your products
- Save time by connecting you with prospects automatically
With such a great asset for potentially converting new sign-ups into loyal customers, you may be wondering what you need to do to get the best out of your welcome emails. The reality is they’re hard to perfect and require close attention to detail.
Here’s everything you need to know to create stunning welcome emails—including some of the best welcome email examples for inspiration.
Table of contents
- The 4 types of welcome emails
- Components of a kick-ass welcome email
- 5 welcome email series best practices
- How to set up a welcome email automation
- How to elevate your welcome emails with personalization
- Welcome email performance metrics and benchmarks
- 14 welcome email tips from email marketing and SMS experts
Welcome emails are the first opportunity to convey your brand’s personality. As a result, a one-size-fits-all formula won’t work. Whether by telling the customer a story or showing what makes you stand out, your welcome email should inspire and entice subscribers.
Just keep in mind you should tailor the welcome email based on what works for your particular brand––which means you may need to A/B test.
Your industry and product line may have a hand on how you approach it, but don’t let that shift your focus away from what you want to achieve with a welcome email or welcome email series.
Besides welcoming your customers, you can use welcome emails to:
- Build trust in customers
- Introduce products
- Get conversions
- Thank customers
- Gather customer preferences
Based on your goals and customers’ needs, you may choose one of the following types of welcome email:
Welcome emails that focus on the brand story
Welcome emails help you introduce your brand to new customers or subscribers. Sharing your brand’s story, mission, and values will help you build trust and rapport with customers.
For example, David Smith, CEO of Cotopaxi, uses this welcome email to share the brand’s story:
You could also talk about your manufacturing processes to let subscribers into your world. For instance, here’s how Primal Kitchen’s welcome email shares insights into its unique manufacturing process:
Thank you emails
You can design a simple welcome email to thank customers for subscribing or making purchases. After all, they picked your brand out of many alternatives—make them feel like they made the right choice by expressing your gratitude.
Thank-you emails evoke a heart-warming reaction from customers by showing them you put them first. They are also a perfect way to start a welcome email series. You may follow it up with your brand’s story, coupon codes, or list of products.
Here’s an example of a simple thank-you email from The Natori Company:
Conversion-focused welcome emails
If you want to convert your email subscribers to customers, you need a conversion-focused email.
This type of email encourages customers to take action, like purchasing or subscribing. Including social proof, such as glowing customer reviews or awards, also boosts the conversion rate.
Here are some elements that make for an effective conversion-focused email:
- Discount codes
- An attractive offer
- A prominent call to action (CTA) button
- A list of best sellers
Puma’s welcome email features a prominent coupon code to drive sales:
Onboarding is one of the primary goals of welcome emails. Getting-started emails help new users get familiar with your products. If a customer is going through post-purchase anxiety, a great welcome email can alleviate that.
For example, you can use a getting-started welcome email to guide customers through product setup or demos. You can also tell them how the product will add value to their lives to help them feel good about their purchase decision.
Every business is different, and you could always mix and match these types of welcome messages to create a unique email series. Also, don’t forget to A/B test your welcome emails to figure out what works best for you.
Here’s what Jacob Sappington, a partner at Homestead, thinks about the perfect welcome email:
Components of a kick-ass welcome email
Multiple elements come together to create a kickass welcome email. If you spend enough time polishing these components, you’re more likely to improve your conversion rate and revenue through your welcome email design and overall workflow.
A subject line your customers can’t ignore
The subject line is the first thing customers notice. According to OptinMonster, 47% of recipients decide to open an email based on its subject line. You need a catchy subject line that piques the recipient’s interest.
Here are a few tips that’ll help you improve your subject lines:
- Be clear and to the point.
- Avoid using too many punctuations and emojis.
- Choose an optimum length and stick to it.
- Use personalization.
- Give a sneak peek of your welcome email.
- Use pre-header or snippet text to add more context.
Puma, for example, uses a great subject line that makes the subscriber feel welcome. It also uses positive reinforcement and rewards subscribers with 20% off their next order.
Copy that reflects the essence of your brand
A crucial part of your welcome email is the copy. Well-crafted email copy can win your subscribers over. Just keep in mind that what you write in your email copy depends on the type of welcome email you’re sending.
Here are a few ideas for creating compelling email copy:
Tell a story about your brand
If you’re crafting a welcome email based on your brand’s story, try answering the following questions:
- How, when, and why did your brand start?
- Who are the people behind your brand?
- What’s your mission? What do you care about?
Putting faces to names will also help you gain the trust of your customers, as in this welcome message from Fly by Jing.
Tell a story about your product
You may also focus on your products and tell their story in your welcome email. For example, Brightland’s welcome email has multiple segments to talk about what goes into their products:
Keep it conversational
A welcome email with a conversational tone will help you connect with your customers better. Look at the welcome email from Cravings by Chrissy Teigen, for example—it reads like Chrissy is talking directly to the recipient:
On that note, Molly Becker, retention and customer experience expert at Perfect Keto, says:
A prominent CTA button
If your welcome email is conversion-focused, it needs a prominent CTA button. Your CTA may prompt your recipients to:
- Make their first purchase
- Explore your products
- Initiate a download
- Participate in a survey
And remember: Don’t bury the CTA. Check out how Cozy Earth placed its CTA button in the example below—it’s impossible to miss it:
A clear value proposition
New customers might be going through post-purchase anxiety. A welcome email with a clear value proposition helps reduce potential stress. It’s also good to tell your customers what to expect from your products and future emails.
This welcome email from Alohas does an excellent job at educating new shoppers about their unique pre-order shopping system and reinforces how it contributes to better quality products and a more sustainable supply chain compared to other brands in the space.
5 welcome email series best practices
Welcome emails mark your first interaction with prospective customers. Here are 5 best practices to help you create the perfect first impression:
1. Optimize the number of welcome emails
You can either send a single welcome email or a welcome email series. Your choice depends on how much information you need to convey.
Remember, the primary aim of welcome emails is onboarding your customer. Don’t hesitate to send multiple emails if they help familiarize the customer with your products. Just make sure to define what each of these emails should achieve.
Never send repetitive or conflicting information in your welcome email series. Too many emails might overwhelm your customer.
2. Be smart about the timing of your welcome email series
Strike while the iron’s hot—it’s best to send the first welcome email immediately after someone signs up for your service. If you delay your first email communication, the subscriber might lose interest.
After that, you need to strategize the timing of your subsequent emails, which means walking the fine line between keeping in touch and not contributing to inbox fatigue.
It’s best to leave at least a day between 2 emails so that your customers can take in the information at their own pace. But if you send your welcome emails too far apart in time, you risk the customer losing touch with your brand. As a rule of thumb, try to finish sending your welcome email series within a week.
3. Ensure double opt-in
People join your email list in a variety of ways:
- Using a sign-up form
- Through the checkout page
- Via manual addition by an executive
Before sending your welcome email series, you need to seek the explicit consent of the user on the receiving end. It’ll help you avoid sending emails to the wrong addresses or uninterested users. To improve your sender reputation and email deliverability, consider using double opt-in.
4. Design your emails to match your brand
Because welcome emails mark your first email communication with subscribers or customers, they should convey the style and aesthetics of your brand. Use design elements that match your brand, such as:
- Color palette
- On-brand emojis and GIFs
Look at how Parade designed its welcome email. The team used a color palette and font that match its website:
5. Include support team details and unsubscribe links
It should be easy to find your contact details in your welcome email series. The welcome email footer is a great place to add your support team details and link to help documentation or FAQ pages.
Adding a clear unsubscribe link is also a good practice. Some users may not be interested in receiving your emails, and they should have an option to opt out or configure their contact preferences.
Sending well-timed welcome emails to thousands of recipients isn’t easy, so most businesses use automation for their welcome email workflow.
But welcome email automation doesn’t just save you time—it also adds value to your email marketing by triggering emails when a customer completes an action. For example, you can initiate a welcome email sequence when a customer makes a purchase or signs up on your website.
With automation, you just need to set up your welcome email series once. The email automation platform will take care of sending the emails to customers when they sign up.
Here’s what Ivan Monells, co-founder of Brava Fabrics, thinks about email marketing automation:
Klaviyo’s welcome email flows
Klaviyo provides a pre-built welcome series flow that’ll make your initial communication with subscribers and customers easy.
You just need to follow a few steps to set up a welcome email series:
- Connect your email list.
- Define your triggers.
- Customize email content and style.
If you don’t want to use the pre-built welcome email flow, you can always design a welcome email flow from scratch. Klaviyo also offers multiple welcome email templates.
A/B test welcome emails with Klaviyo
Klaviyo also makes it easy to test your welcome email series. You can A/B test various welcome email parameters with conditional splits in your welcome email flow.
The conditional split will create 2 branches in your welcome email flow, each using a different value for your chosen parameter. You may use parameters such as:
- The target audience
- The timing of emails
- The frequency of emails
Then you can compare the performance metrics, such as open rate or conversion rate, and see which ones work best.
Here’s an example of 2 branches of a welcome email flow:
Automation has its perks. But to make the most of it, you shouldn’t settle for sending everyone the same welcome email series. Instead, make it personal.
Personalization means more than using the subscriber’s or customer’s first name. With the correct tools and enough data, you can create welcome email templates specific enough to resonate with individuals who belong to certain market segments.
Here’s how you do it:
Collect Customer-First DataTM
Hyper-personalizing your welcome email series requires first collecting granular customer data.
Although it might seem tempting, we recommend steering away from third-party marketing data. Instead, gather data directly from your subscribers and customers. We call it Customer-First Data.
You can collect Customer-First Data by using a sign-up form that goes beyond the basics. That means that in addition to capturing the user’s name and email, the form could contain fields for the following:
- Product preferences
- Interests and hobbies
- Demographic information
You don’t want to overwhelm users with an excessive number of fields. If you design clean and clear sign-up forms and pair them with an incentive, like a discount or premium download, you’ll be more likely to get the Customer-First Data you need.
Monday.com’s sign-up form is an excellent example of how to collect customer data quickly.
Use data to personalize welcome emails
With high-quality Customer-First Data in your hands, you can create hyper-targeted welcome emails. According to Validity’s 2021 email benchmark data, 74% of businesses that used personalized emails increased their open rates by 16% or more.
Here are a few customer data points that can help you personalize your welcome email series:
- Customer demographics (age, gender, location)
- Product preferences
- Purchase status (customer or subscriber)
- Sign-up or purchase time
Note that obtaining subscriber and customer data is always an ongoing process. That way, you can get an accurate read of where you stand—against your previous performance and the competitors in your niche or industry.
Welcome email performance metrics and benchmarks
Designing an incredible welcome email series and setting up an efficient flow is the first step. To ensure welcome emails continue to drive revenue or help you build customer relationships, you’ll need to monitor how the emails are doing continuously.
Here are some parameters that’ll help you quantify the performance of your welcome emails:
Set performance goals for each of these metrics and adjust your welcome email parameters to reach your goal.
Gina Perrelli, co-founder of Lunar Solar Group and Retextion, shares some great tips to achieve your welcome email open rate goals:
While your numbers may not be the same as the other businesses, you can always compare yours with industry benchmarks. Here’s our welcome email benchmark data from the first quarter of 2022:
14 welcome email tips from email marketing and SMS experts
Educate, upgrade, and create urgency
Ben Zettler, digital marketing and ecommerce consultant, Ben Zettler Digital
“If you’re providing an initial welcome offer, stop using multi-use codes. Serve single-use codes that are specific to the recipient and serve subsequent messaging to users when they don’t complete the ultimate call-to-action on these types of flows, which is a purchase.
Make the single-use codes you insert into a welcome flow time-dependent. ‘Your discount is expiring’-centric messages perform well. Create urgency.”
Christopher Maroney-Petitt, owner, Ecom Growers
“Improving welcome email performance means driving more revenue, and the best tactic I’ve implemented is an upgraded offer somewhere down in the welcome series flow. You do this if someone hasn’t converted already.
That upgraded offer can be a better discount, free gift, giveaway entry, etc. The goal of the welcome flow is to educate people on your brand and product, and to also convince them to convert as soon as possible. If your other emails do a good job on educating, this upgrade will convert well.”
Toccara Karizma, CEO, Karizma Marketing
“To improve the performance of your welcome email series, make sure your subject line on the first email is very clear about what your new subscriber opted into. For example, if you offered 10% off their first order through a website pop-up to get them in your welcome workflow, make sure your email subject line states something like, ‘Here’s your 10% off code.’ This simple strategy will improve your email open rates.
Another recommendation is to make sure there is some sort of scarcity on any offer you put into your welcome flow. Scarcity, in time or quantity, is proven to help with conversions. So if you are introducing an offer in your welcome flow, make sure you mention when it will expire.
Finally, your welcome flow is your opportunity to make the best first impression on your subscribers. Use it to––briefly––tell your brand story, values, mission, etc. Highlight your community and customers.”
Start personalizing now
Ashley Ismailovski, CRO operations manager, SmartSites
“Your welcome series is the first impression your customers will have of your business, and it sets the tone for future email campaigns and automations. A welcome series should be used to warm a new lead by providing them with key facts about your business that might help them make a buying decision more easily.
You can even choose to utilize a conditional split for customers who have or have not purchased yet, in order to provide non-purchasers with the information or incentives they still need to nudge them in the right direction.”
Adam Kitchen, CEO, Magnet Monster
“Collect zero-party data from the first interaction and use this to personalize the welcome series and feed into your campaign segmentation and retargeting strategy.
For example, if you’re selling apparel, ask a user who opts in to signal their interest in men’s or women’s clothing with a radio button on the sign-up form. Then, use a custom property to pass them through a separate customer journey that shares the brand story and leverages the correct assets to drive conversion. This also has implications for retargeting by syncing the data back to Facebook as well as driving your future campaign strategy.”
Cassie Benjamin, email/SMS channel manager, Tadpull
“If you are capturing customer preferences in your opt-in forms, your welcome series is often a great place to put that valuable data to work. Use the information you’ve collected about your subscribers to personalize the content you send in your welcome series.
A simple example might be if a customer has specified they are interested in women’s products vs. men’s products. Now is the time to showcase all of your relevant product categories or content that fit within your subscriber’s preferences.
Not only will you see better performance, but customers will be surprised and delighted that you are giving an experience tailored to their interests––talk about a great first impression!”
Sharon Goldstein, CEO, LimeSpot
“Get to know your potential customers when their interest level is at its peak. Including personalized product recommendations in onboarding emails is a great way to show customers the full range of your products.
And if they click on something they like, their next visit to your site will already be more personalized as AI algorithms register their preferences.”
Timing is everything with a welcome series
Alexa Engelhart, vice president of client strategy, Power Digital Marketing
“Don’t be afraid to be aggressive! We’ve found that most people make a purchase within 10 days of subscribing to a mailing list. Make sure you have emails sending throughout that 10-day window when people are most likely to purchase.”
Ryan O’Connor, director of growth, SmartBug Media
“To improve welcome series emails, send enough emails to cover your average purchase cycle. If it takes customers on average 20 days from discovery to purchase––like for higher-priced products––a welcome series should reflect that to avoid losing sales.”
Abby Siciliano, email expert and director of business development, Tinuiti
“My one thing: Do not duplicate messages. Blend email and SMS marketing to create the conversation and establish the multi-touch relationship.”
Keep it casual––you just met!
Morgan Mulloy, assoc. director of retention marketing, Avex Designs
“Find balance. You want to highlight your brand and the ethos behind it, but you don’t want to provide a lengthy biography that most won’t engage with. Bite-size information that will speak to your brand will be extremely effective. Yet, don’t keep it so simple that if your logo wasn’t at the top, they wouldn’t know who the brand is.”
Tennessee Allgood, lifecycle marketing senior manager, Stak Agency
“Keep your content relevant and high-level. These new subscribers need to hear the good bits first and information that will keep them coming back for more. It also doesn’t hurt to include a discount offer for the first time buyers and newbies.”
Nichelle Hubley, founder, CEO, &BAM
“Even though your welcome flow introduces your brand to your customer––or pre-customer––your copy should start with ‘you,’ not ‘we.’ Remember, your customer wants to know, ‘What’s in it for me?’”
Darin Lynch, founder and CEO, Irish Titan
“Timing, branding, and brevity. Don’t overload them with everything about you, but DO let your brand shine through. This might be the only chance you have to truly explain why you do what you do. Don’t miss that opportunity.”
Eric Miller, director, lifecycle marketing, Tinuiti
“For subscribers who are currently in the welcome series, suppress them from calendar sends. They aren’t ready for your full cadence yet. They are still evaluating you and you haven’t heard their trust yet.”
Final thoughts: welcome email tips, best practices, and examples
A welcome email is the first communication between your brand and the customer, and it gives you an excellent opportunity to make an excellent first impression.
Several components make a welcome email great:
- A great subject line
- Carefully drafted mail copy
- The right visuals and branding
- Attractive promotions and offers
- A clear CTA button
If you plan to send a welcome email series, you also need to be smart about timing and frequency. Most businesses use email automation to send rule-based emails to new subscribers and customers.
Check out Klaviyo’s email and SMS marketing solutions to get the most out of welcome email customization and automation today.