First Email Newsletter – Why When What & How

You’ve bought into the email marketing thing. You’ve made the adjustments to your site to capture emails and connect them to MailChimp. But now comes the hard part – connecting with your audience. We’ve covered a bit about your voice here. In this post we’ll cover some strategy and ideas for your campaigns.

Email Marketing: The Welcome Series

This is also called the indoctrination series or Onboarding Series. Personally I think Indoctrination is where it’s at. 😉

Here’s the journey of your subscriber so far:

  • visitor clicks a link on social media and enters your site
  • visitor reads a few things and wants the opt-in incentive
  • reader now volunteers her email address in exchange for the incentive
  • she then gets the confirmation email and clicks the ‘verify’ button
  • an automated confirmation email is sent
  • and THEN we recommend triggering the welcome series

What is to keep the reader from promptly unsubscribing after receiving the incentive? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. An email address alone is not permission to ‘sell’ to the new subscriber.

All we do – from attracting new visitors to weekly newsletters – has to do one thing: promote a relationship. There are no ‘sales’ any more. We’re a savvy and educated bunch of consumers. So ‘marketing’ if you can call it that, is about providing what your audience wants, when they want it. And being incredibly customer service-focused while doing it.

In summary, marketing in 2022 = a relationship. And ‘marketing’ applies to bloggers too – you are attracting an audience and serving them.

So the Email Marketing for Bloggers we’ve been talking about optimizing signups? That is simply to build a relationship.

From Email Verification to Confirmation Email

If you’ve done the prep right, your new subscriber should understand what you are about, be interested in your services (qualified) and have shown interest by ‘purchasing’ the incentive with their email address.

The first email sent after a user verifies their email address is an automated confirmation email that confirms the subscription. I highly recommend finding this email and editing it to include the incentive and the content discussed below. Turn that confirmation email into a welcome email and deliver the incentive at the same time.

If you don’t edit that confirmation email, the new subscriber will get a bland, ‘Confirmation’ email from your email marketing company.

Welcome Email & the Incentive

Subscribers who receive a welcome email show a 33% increase in long-term brand engagement. ~

Your welcome email is 6x more likely to be read than any other email you send so find that automated ‘confirmation’ or ‘thank you’ email and edit it to include the incentive and the following ideas:

  1. Welcome in your voice – obviously everything should be in your unique voice – be unique – not boring.
  2. A story that illustrates your empathy… and speaks to your heart and passion for serving them…
  3. A call to action. Every email should have a call to action so that your new friend gets used to a two-way relationship. You take action – they respond. Very important for the requests for surveys or offers later in the relationship.
  4. Include a PS – summary in 1 sentence or less. Apparently lots of people skip to this bit. Make it count.

Welcome Series: Email Content

After the initial email that delivers the incentive, you have a chance to offer to more value at a time when the user is more likely to open your emails. This is your chance to show them around the place. Provide ah-maz-ing value. Use stories -to share your heart and to capture attention. Use curiosity, social proof and demonstrate authority. Always use a call to action. Most of all, keep it authentic.

See below for how to set up the trigger to send this series.

  • your best info series ie: mini-training
  • your ‘why’. Your brand’s origin story. (Make the reader the hero of the story – not you!)
  • explain what you provide and why (not sales)
  • provide examples and stories of how you’re different from others in your niche
  • list your calendar, upcoming events and how to contact you
  • include an exclusive coupon or special as a welcome
  • behind the scenes stories & take-away nuggets of truth & insight

How to Create a Welcome Series

These welcome series emails are triggered separately from your regular newsletter. We call this a ‘series’ because they are sent after a reader signs up, and when the series is complete the reader is put back onto the main list for the regular newsletters.

Most email service providers make this incredibly easy to do. For Mailchimp, Mailerlite & ConvertKit – it is called an “Automation Series”; usually they are called some variation of ‘automation’.

Some providers create this in the regular campaign/email area – just select a different type. But more often, there is a separate area for creating a bunch of automation emails and linking them together.

To create the emails in your automation series:

  1. Decide on a trigger (day after sign-up)
  2. Edit the first email to include the incentive, if not already provided.
  3. Add a trigger/timer and wait a day.
  4. Send second email: don’t forget a CTA.
  5. continue step 3-4 as many times as needed to finish the series.
  6. then add the ‘finished welcome series’ tag
  7. add user back to the regular rotation of emails

Trigger your Welcome Series

It is really important that the first introduction is sent immediately. Even a delay of 30 minutes can impact open rates. So use the confirmation email as your first email whenever possible.

Triggering the welcome series is the same for each email marketing provider that I checked (mailchimp, constant contact, vertical response). In each case, the ‘thank you for subscribing’ is sent directly after the user confirms their email address. These are automatic emails.

The welcome series is sent on a trigger. This should be set to an event – x days after sign-up. We recommend one day after signup. And depending on the material, send each consequent email every one or two days.

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