First impressions count, in business, relationships and anything important in life.
Your welcome email is one of your subscribers’ first interactions with you. It’s like a first date, so you need to make sure you start off making a great first impression! It gives you the opportunity to showcase your unique personality and build your relationship with your subscribers.
We recently subscribed to over 70+ newsletters and found that many newsletter writers are not making full use of their welcome emails to connect with their subscribers.
Let's face it. Most newsletter writers aren't professional email marketers. But that doesn't give them the excuse to just send default, system-generated "thanks for subscribing" posts
Substack newsletters are especially guilty of sending poor welcome emails as they don't spend time to modify the default email seen below.
This is a missed opportunity, as on average, welcome emails receive a higher open rate than regular emails, making them 86% more effective.
Whether you're writing on Substack, Revue, MailerLite, EmailOctopus or any other email service provider, you should invest time into improving your welcome emails, which are your first point of contact with your readers.
Here is a guide with examples on how to optimize your newsletter’s welcome email.
Here are 11 tips on how to improve your welcome emails, and a collection of some of the best examples to help you make a stellar first impression.
Set A Subject Line
A good subject line should be specific and unique to your newsletter. It could include either a reference to the name of your newsletter or the type of person your subscriber is.
Some ideas from the Newsletter Crew’s inbox:
- ✅ You're Officially Not Boring ✅ (Not Boring by Packy McCormick)
- 🐣Welcome to the #First1000 Family (The First 1000)
- Welcome to Mastering the Attention Economy Newsletter! (Ari Lewis)
- You're the Remotely Inclined type… (Remotely Inclined)
Bad subject lines are overly simplistic and vague. They could have been from any newsletter. That's boring.
Avoid using these:
- You're on the list!
- Thanks for subscribing
- Thank you for subscribing
What should go in the body of your welcome email?
First, let's have a look at Packy McCormick’s brilliant welcome email for his popular newsletter Not Boring before diving into each section.
Thank Your New Subscriber
First, greet your subscriber with a warm welcome and thank them for subscribing! You can use a simple line of text, emojis, images or GIFs to do that.
You can even wow your subscribers with a personal touch. Check out Yue Jun’s handwritten welcome note for his newsletter.
Set Expectations: Type Of Content
Tell your subscribers a little bit about who you are and what type of content you’ll send. This helps to set their expectations for future newsletter issues and alleviate any anxiety they have.
Adrian Alferi of The Proof makes subscribers feel comfortable by giving a personal introduction to himself and shares that he will be sending wellness-related content.
Set Expectations: Frequency
Let your subscribers know when they can expect your emails. Are you planning on emailing them weekly, daily or monthly? Be upfront on the day(s) they should expect your newsletter in their inbox.
Pete from No CS Degree is extremely specific about what time people can expect his newsletter. As he has an international audience, he even states what time they can expect the newsletter to arrive in their inboxes.
Psst... some email service providers allow you to schedule send times by open location, if you're keen on doing that!
Link To Social Channels
Increase engagement by linking to your social channels and encouraging subscribers to connect with you on these platforms.
Farnam Street points subscribers to the different social media channels it owns.
Showcase Your Best Issues
Give subscribers a taste of what’s to come by sharing your 3-5 of your best issues with them.
I do this in the welcome email for BrainPint.
Ask Questions To Connect With Your Subscribers
Start a two-way conversation & engage with your subscribers by asking them simple questions in your welcome email.
Get them to share:
- Information about themselves - who they are, and what they are working on
- Questions they might have about the niche you’re in
Anne-Laure from Maker Mind gives multiple options (including a "hit reply just to say hello" to take out the mental strain of replying)
Leon Lin from Avoid Boring People asks questions to better understand what matters to his audience, so he can tailor his content to be relevant to them.
Terrell from Half Marathoner asks a specific question related to his niche:
“In the meantime, I’d love to know how we might help you better — do you have a question about running, training, or anything in between?”
Asking the right questions helps you build an understanding of who your subscribers are and what matters to them.
Make It Easy To Share
Instead of saying “Please tell a few friends if you like” in your welcome email, make it easy for your subscribers to share that they have subscribed to your newsletter by crafting pre-made snippets. You can use either Share Link Generator or Click To Tweet.
In fact, here's a template.
"Just joined other (your newsletter's target audience) and subscribed to (your landing page / link to subscribe) by (@your twitter handle)
Looking forward to reading (insert a blurb about your newsletter)"
By decreasing the effort to share, you’ll start to see people dropping your newsletter on social media like it's hot.
Get Subscribers To Whitelist You
Every newsletter writer tries to prevent their newsletter from landing inside Gmail's Promotions tab or the spam folder of doom.
By asking subscribers to whitelist your newsletter, your future issues are more likely to appear in the Primary inbox. Your deliverability will also improve, and this increases the probability that your issues get seen by your subscribers instead of getting buried in a pile of ads. Of course, this drastically improves open rates.
Harry Dry of Marketing Examples gives specific instructions to whitelist his email address to increase deliverability.
Some of us at Newsletter Crew ask our subscribers to reply with a simple "Done!" when they receive welcome emails.
Make Sure They Can Unsubscribe
Ensure that you provide an option to unsubscribe in your welcome email. The last thing you want is for subscribers to be marking you as spam when they can’t find the unsubscribe button. If they mark your emails as spam, there will be negative impacts on your domain reputation and deliverability rates.
Keep Welcome Emails Brief
Remember not to make your welcome emails too wordy! They shouldn’t read like an essay. Always respect your reader's time.
See how Harry Dry does it in the Marketing Examples welcome email? It’s short, friendly and tells you everything you need to know.
Write effective welcome emails. They'll improve engagement with your subscribers from the get go and drive more opens and clicks.