The subscription confirmation email is the perfect chance to welcome and congratulate new recipients of your email newsletter, but it’s often neglected. We’ve signed up for a ton of mailing lists so we can provide great examples of email creative, but we’ve found that marketers either miss a trick or simply don’t send anything.
Yesterday we posted 11 great examples of engaging welcome emails – here’s our top tips to improve your welcome and confirmation emails:
Welcome your new recipients
“Thanks – you’re our hero” is what Lastminute.com told us in their great welcome email (back in 2007, and we’ve read their emails ever since). Granted, that’s a lot down to their tone of voice, but it shows that there’s better and more friendly ways to welcome your eager new readers than just saying “newsletter confirmation”.
You’ll be surprised how many subscription and welcome emails are just plain text affairs, without even a basic link to the merchant’s website. Granted, there may be deliverability concerns around sending full html to a new subscriber (although if you have a good reputation there’s nothing to worry about here), but this is a golden opportunity to introduce subscribers to your branding, and even encourage them to convert.
Give a reason to open your newsletters
Tell your new subscribers what you’ll be sending them, when, and why they should look out for your email. It’s an easy way to boost your open rates as your recipients will know to look out for your newsletter.
At the very least you now know your new recipient’s email address – custom publish it in somewhere to confirm you have the right address. The chances are you also know more of their data, so greet them by name. If you’re running any kind of membership club users are likely to archive the welcome email as it’ll contain useful information (username, password, preferences etc.).
If you have a preference centre then link to that so your recipients can tell you what they want to hear about.
Now’s the perfect time to ask your new subscribers to add your send address to their address book, contacts or safe list. This marks your mailings as safe and helps you avoid the spam folder. For any given webmail client, the aggregate of how many users do this will also boost your reputation across the whole service (ie. If enough people do this, it’ll improve your reputation even for people who don’t whitelist you).
If you’ve incentivized people to subscribe to your list with a discount offer, here’s where you should tell them about it and encourage them to engage with your site. Don’t go overboard, but there’s probably even scope to include a small sales piece.
Links to previous newsletters
Filling up your welcome email with products and offers probably isn’t the best way to go, but if someone’s just subscribed to your list the chances are they’re pretty engaged and want to know more. A quick link to your most recent emails will help them find out more, and might even help them convert.
Take a look at some of the examples we picked out yesterday for more inspiration!
A quick round up of some great recent email marketing and email design articles.
Smashing mag’s great overview of some of the challenges and considerations you should make when designing an html email, plus a stack of examples.
Some take-outs from this year’s Holiday season.
Interesting review of how a retailer’s newsletter has changed over time.
Four key observations around social media and email, by e-Dialog International MD Simone Barratt.
High level overview of how social charing and links to social media can be incorporated into emails.
Four over-arching principles to apply to your email marketing campaigns.
If you’ve got any hot tips for this week, or want a heads up on interesting things as we find them, connect with @iamelliot on Twitter.
This mailing dropped into my inbox at 8.55am – literally the last minute, as it contains offers for quick selling event tickets that go on sale at 9am. A risky strategy, but a clever one as it’s right at the top of the inbox when London’s workers check into the office.
In terms of design there’s some minor areas of improvement (where’s the hosted link and whitelabel stuff?) but it’s pretty much on the money. Lastminute has such a strong ownership of the pink colour and their company font that it is less reliant on the lastminute.com logo – this strong branding allows them to push the key offers right up to the top of the preview pane. Throughout the mailing there’s a good balance of web text vs. branded image copy, and a slight changes to the layout of each module helps differentiate each area.
This blog post is about how you can improve your email marketing performance by including a quick summary right at the top of your mailing.
See that there? It’s the first thing you read and it gives a quick summary of what this piece is about.
Used correctly, the Johnson Box will raise more than a smutty chuckle from your creative department – it’ll raise open rates and click throughs on your mailing. The Johnson Box, by the way, is a relic of old school printed DM – you can do your homework on Wikipedia. Sometimes also referred to as a Preheader, it’s recently seen a resurgence in email marketing circles.
So why should you use a Preheader and why does it work?
It gets the key offer into the preview pane
The chances are that at least some of your recipients don’t have much time and want to go straight to your key offering, as quickly as possible. When used correctly, this will get your key message right into the most prominent place on your email, and combined with a link or call to action, it’ll direct users exactly where you want them.
It works when images are turned off and on mobile devices
Sometimes the bulk of your mailing may not display correctly because the user has images disabled, or is using an email client or device that has HTML rendering issues. We’ve talked about the rendering challenges of email clients before – but it makes sense that adding the key proposition of your campaign to the top of your email will ensure the message gets across.
It boosts the subject line
In some email clients the text right at the top of your email is displayed before the recipient opens the mailing. For example in Outlook a small box often appears above the system tray, and in Gmail the first line of text often follows the subject line in the inbox view.
It reduces spam complaints and helps deliverability
One of the most important ways ISPs determine your email reputation is from how many users click the “this is spam” button. Giving your users a clear and succinct overview of your mailing, explaining why it’s relevant to them helps them quickly understand what it’s about and means they’re less likely to mark your mailing as spam.
Does It Work?
Yes! We’ve implemented preheaders on a number of campaigns and it’s raised open rates, click thrus and reduced spam complaints.
The Perfect Preheader
There’s plenty of things to test here, but generally these are the best ways to add implement a Preheader:
- Place right at the top of your mailing, before the link to the hosted version or any kind of whitelisting copy
- Include the key offer, benefit and message of your mailing
- Include a link to the main offer landing page and a text call to action (eg. Find out more)
- Keep it short and snappy – less than 30 words, 20 if possible
- Try adding personalization
- Don’t repeat the subject line but do think about how they can work together.
Want to read more? check out our tips for writing email subject lines.
There’s an interesting idea on Toddle’s blog about using Twitter to find out the best time to send your mailing based on what time and day there is the most chatter about your brand, product or market niche. It centers around grabbing the RSS feed of a Twitter search, and running it through Google Reader in order to get some tangible statistics around post frequency.
I know online experts will fret over the best time to send an email newsletter until the cows come home, and the reality is that even if there is a best time then it’s definately different for every list, client and even product range, but this is still an interesting bit of insight and it’s very simple to get hold of, good work!